Tag Archives: Wander This World

Why Book Reviews Matter! Part One-The Creative Side

Categories: Reader Love, Uncategorized, Writer Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing about the conversation about reviews. As an author they’re helpful, as a reader they’re helper, but I know some folk think reviews aren’t important. I was actually inspired by an author friend M. Hollis, who recently wrote a twitter thread about how helpful reviews are to marginalized writers, who have the hardest time getting their books in front of the people who might most enjoy them(check out M. Hollis’ screenshots or click on them to see her TL).

So I’ll start off by saying this post won’t be fancy. It’s not filled with statistics or interesting data that took months to curate. It’s just two author’s opinions on why reviews matter, not just to the author, but to lovers of books as well.

For some clarity, I’m a former book blogger. I try to blog. I wish I had more time to blog. But my sister and I have been trying to make writing work for us in a different way in 2017 than in our previous years published, and sometimes we sacrifice the things we love, because we love writing more. But my blogger background knows, we absolutely hate being begged, asked, held at knife point to review books on a retailer site, even if we sometimes liked the book.

Maybe it’s because Amazon ain’t shit? Maybe it’s because we don’t know how important they are to the reader who might potentially pick it up. I know I didn’t know in my past! I must’ve posted 100 reviews on my book blog that never made it to a retailer site. Since becoming an author, I realize how important they are, and not just what authors might call a “good review”, but critical ones can help, too.

Reviews in general help an author or a reader for a number of reasons, but I’m planning on doing two posts about this, one on the creative side, and one on the business side of why a book review on a retailer side can really steer readers, and even authors in the right direction of where to go next.

But this post I wanted to focus on the emotional side on how reviews on retailer sites help. If you enjoy it, consider looking out for the part two, on how it’s helpful on the business side.

Without further ado, some of the awesome reasons why reviews help both readers and authors.

Direction and Content

Readers really have a lot of say in the indie community, or at least they do in my eyes. Much like the standalone vs series argument, if a reader likes a particular couple’s story, or a major supporting character in a story, reviews tend to voice that.

For example, we released Same Page in December of 2015. Even though we’d planned Next Chapter, we never really thought about continuing the series with different characters, even though their work environment was very colorful.

So many people have liked one of our major supporting characters Ruby Jiang-Cruz, that we thought it wouldn’t be right not to give her own story. So many people were asking “Where’s Ruby’s story?” and to be honest, that shaped the future of the series with our rebrand of it.

I think the most brilliant thing about being an independently published author, is that we have complete control over our content. Especially when that content isn’t working.

The rebranding of the Bookish Friends To Lovers series came from a lot of reviews telling us they felt Next Chapter ended on a cliffhanger. Since it’s New Adult, it wasn’t meant to be one, as rules for NA are very different than Contemporary Romance. They can end in Happily For Now’s more often, but we felt if we were going to change something as big as the ending, we wanted to add additional content to both SP and NC, as well as change the covers, and the series title.

Reviews have voiced so many things we were pretty lax about, that if they didn’t exist, we would’ve left the series the way it was.

We’re going to rebrand one more time, to address more commentary in the reviews, but without them, I don’t think we would’ve made such a great effort to make them more appealing to readers.

Standalones Vs Series

One of the hardest decisions as an author is whether to focus on a stand-alone or a series. Both have pros and cons, and most of our book ideas we’re emotionally invested in for different reasons, so if we created a WIP, you can guarantee one story is not more important or holds less value than another for us.

But we made the mistake of starting nearly every single book we’ve released in the last 18 months all series’. The only stand-alone book we have is Wander This World, and we had as much fun penning that as we did the series’. But the con to Wander This World is that it’s our least profitable book—or rather, since there’s no sell-through potential, it earns the least.

But we can tell you it is the one book that gives us the least stress. Series’ are hard. A lot of people don’t know that even though we’d planned to make Same Page and Next Chapter, as well as F*THS and Friends That Still… books that related to one another, we came out with the first books without the second book right after the first release, because we were trying to see if there was even a market for their controversial material.

We really couldn’t or wouldn’t have moved forward if we hadn’t gotten reviews telling us whether it was a smart enough move to.  I’ll explain more about this in a different post, when it comes to the financial reason why reviews are important =)

But once the response for both books were frequent enough to move forward, we decided to pen their sequels too, We were new writers, so we didn’t want to focus on continuing a story people hated.

Now that they’re both out, the pressure to build off these first books is quite demanding, especially when you want to focus on new material, and new characters to fall in love with, that face different challenges. F*THS and Same Page were SO fun to write, but because people liked Tim/Naima and Asher/Teddy(even though most don’t connect with her as much as Ash) the pressure to continue their story is a lot of weight.

Stand-alones however, allow you to write one story. Snap your fingers and you’re done. There are pressures to make sequels to stand-alones, but with books you intend to be a series, reviews really push an author to keep moving forward with that series, even when they don’t really want to.

My sister and I are a team, but we have our own ideas. Most of our ideas are come from the individual, and then the other sister helps flesh out the ideas that don’t make as much sense to them. Point blank: Sometimes I want to work on my shit, and sometimes she wants to work on her shit XD We’re constantly bumping heads, so if we don’t have something to push us, we won’t help each other until the last minute.

Author Appreciation

Writers are human. Writers are readers. Writers are just like everyone else. Especially independent authors. We don’t have publicists or agents(not true for some since many indies are now being repped) to sift through when you want to drop a line to one of your favorite authors but they feel so far away because everything goes through their “teams” first.

We’re right here. Available by email, available by Facebook or just one tweet away. Authors love hearing from readers. We’re readers just as much as we are writers, and it really makes our day to know someone reading our book enjoyed it as much as we did at the time writing it. This is especially true when a writer isn’t at all motivated at the time, which happens a lot when you have the pressure of deadlines and real life issues plaguing you.

But the comments, reviews and emails that always stick with me are the ones that mention how much people loved things we had planned to cut or downplay, like intersectional identity or culture. Those are things that are really important to my sister and I and we always fear people think we’re being too extra with it. But when people tell us that they adore the fact that we make culture a huge part of characters’ lives, it really warms our heart being raised in a different culture ourselves (My sister and I are Cuban American, Huepa!)

Reviews are especially important on retailer sites like Amazon for us because we don’t read Goodreads reviews, AT ALL. We’re firm believers in GR being where readers connect. As readers ourselves, we like the freedom of just being able talk to other readers since we both have reader accounts and everything is stress-free and unbiased. Vowing to keep it that way. But to sum it all up, leaving reviews is just another small way of you showing appreciation to the content an author is putting out there. It only takes a few seconds but leaves a huge impact! Especially for us because we’re so appreciative when y’all do!

But those are just some of the creative reasons why reviews help on retailer sites. Even just a few words help the reader looking to pick up their next read, and the author not sure on where to go with their next WIP!

Don’t forget to check out Why Book Reviews Matter! Part Two-The Financial Side!

This post was brought to you by Guinevere! Part II will be brought to you by Libertad!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Color of Love Hop 2016: Chance to win awesome prizes! #coloroflovehop #CoLHop

Categories: Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

col_banner4So we’re in our second year as authors joining the Color of Love Hop(though it’s our third year, since our first were as bloggers!). For folks just tuning in, the Color of Love Blog Hop is an event that celebrates characters of color in romance themed novels.

Intersectionality is encouraged, but at its base it encourages those who don’t read inclusive romance novels to definitely do so. And what an initiative! Look at all the prizes they offer!

1st prize $50 GC + 7 ebooks

2nd prize $25 GC + 7 ebooks

3rd prize $15 GC + 7 ebooks

4th prize $10  GC + 7 ebooks

5th prize $5 GC + 7 ebooks

book-covers-1 book-covers-2-amended

Three of our books are in the mix, but you can win awesome giftcards too! If you’re reading this from our blog, you’ve likely read at least one of our books, but you can win a lot of new-to-you authors! Or even tell a friend about our books if you think they’d like them!

2017 will be a long list of stand alones for us(even though we’ll finish up the Bookish Friends to Lovers, Friends That Have Sex and most of the Sterling Wayfairer series) with a lot less messy than our novels from 2015-16, but man was it fun to pen those books we thought no one would ever read!

Same Page EbookFTHS EbookWander This World

Same Page featured a heroine of Nigerian descent, while F*THS featured an Afro-Cubanx heroine. Wander This World actually features two characters of color, as main characters are Black(she’s often read as Afro-Latinx) and Filipinx.

You can enter through widget below! And good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the blogs below, so you can hop to see who else is involved!

col_button3

Save

Save

Save

The Color of Love Blog Hop

Categories: Blog Post, Events, New Release, Update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

fireplace in the room panelled in wood

Oh how excited we are to participate in our first Color of Love Blog Hop. We’ve been following it for a few years now(Libertad even one a grand prize one year, talk about luck) and it was an exciting moment to finally be an author on the roster of such seasoned writers as well as some of our favorite Romance bloggers.

Look of that list of people below and would you look at the prizes being offered! Anytime you have a giveaway featuring a Kenya Wright, Laurel Cremant or L.Penelope(sorry for fangirling but we totally met her this October and she was everything a fangirl could hope for) book you know you’re in for some excellent reads.same_pagefthis(1)

We ourselves are offering Same Page, an erotic romance, which will be out December 8th everyone, squee. And another Erotic Romance titled F*THS, which is slated to release February 10th 2016. Multicultural and Interracial Romance are definitely our absolute go-tos in terms of buying taste so trust me when we say, we’re visiting everyone’s spot(And so should you…)and showing their blogs a hell of a lot of love! Be sure to check out all the other ladies on the hop. Discovering new authors are the absolute best!

Interested in any of our up and coming releases? Consider signing up for our newsletter for our NA and Adult Romances here. Like YA too? The newsletter to our YA new releases can be signed up for here. Happy reading, everyone!

GRAND PRIZES

We’ve upped the ante on prizes! Here’s what’s up for grabs

Prizes Gift Cards E-books
1st Prize $75 6
2nd Prize $50 5
3rd Prize $30 5
4th Prize $15 5
5th Prize $10 5
6th Prize $5 5

 

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

a Rafflecopter giveaway