It's that time of year again. I made it all the way around the sun without being caught and eaten by a faster predator. To celebrate, I ate a Cinnabon for breakfast, thus increasing the chances of the predator for next year.
I've already had a slew of lovely birthday messages (most of then sent at roughly nine a.m., so I know you're all totally breaking your office Internet use rules for me, which is sweet unless you get fired) and alongside two of the birthday greetings were the annual question: what would you like for your birthday?
I get in trouble when I say I don't want or need anything (though it's true), so I had a hunker and a think and I came up with something.
For my birthday, if you want to, I'd like to see my friends (digital or nay) write a review of something they read that they loved. Doesn't have to be new. Doesn't have to be remotely related to me - this isn't me begging a review of an anthology in which I have a story. If you'd like to give me a present, that's something I'd like to always see more of.
My staff sometimes cringe when I ask then to write a staff pick review of a title they loved, and I learned that particular anxiety comes from feeling awkward about writing a review. They don't know where to start, what to say, etc. Here's a simple crash course in writing a quick review.
1. One sentence with a very basic plot set-up explanation, so that a reader will know what kind of book they're looking at. Basically, what sort of book is this?
2. One sentence extolling a virtue (or two) you really loved in this particular book, be it a unique character, snappy dialog, a really twisty mystery - basically, what did the book do well that left you smiling?
3. As a finish, think of another book or two (or author or two) or a movie or television show that you think has a similar style as the book. A sentence saying so goes a long way.
Three sentences. That's it. Here's an example:
Strange Bedfellows is the latest mad-cap gay caper mystery to come from Rob Byrnes, following Straight Lies and Holy Rollers. Fun and witty, rooting for his gang of crooks led by partners in crime (and love) Grant and Chase is a guilty pleasure as this time they try to enter an arena even dirtier than their usual criminal circle: politics. Strange Bedfellows is perfect for fans of Westlake, or any Evanovich fan who wished Ranger would just end up with Morelli already.
It's not the longest review, but if someone takes a peek at a book on a website and there's nothing there, they're much less likely to give it a shot. Trust me.
If you're still review shy (I know - and understand - that a lot of authors try not to review books, but it's a part of my job), then how about a tweet or a Facebook status update with a simple "I'm currently reading Strange Bedfellows by Rob Byrnes and loving it - check it out!" Also take a second to go give that book a starred rating on the various book sites out there (Indigo.ca, Amazon, Goodreads, etc.) - especially if there are none there yet.
Anyway. That's my answer to the "What do you want for your birthday?" question. I'd also love a link to the review in the comments here, if you do.