Writing a Book Review

When you read a book, it’s really helpful for you to write a review on Amazon, and maybe even on Goodreads. That helps other readers decide whether to buy the book. If it’s a book you like, it’s especially important. When you write a review, however, there are several guidelines to keep in mind.

  1. If you know the author personally, don’t mention it.
  2. Say what the book is about.
  3. Give a few specific examples from the book itself.
  4. What did you like about it?
  5. Does the author accomplish his or her purpose?
  6. Do you recommend the book?

Here’s an example of a book review:

On Parr (2)I just finished Ken Murray’s “On Parr” about a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. The story about Colonel Ralph Parr is fascinating, but so is Murray, the author. I found him to be part research historian, part flight instructor, and part master story-teller. The combination enables Murray’s skill as a writer to hold you in your seat, turning page after page, wanting to find out what happens next. He gives inside information about what it was like to attend an NFL game when the stadium announcer tells the crowd that Pearl Harbor was attacked. He describes in detail what it feels like to dive straight down in a fighter jet from 43,000 feet and pull up barely in time to avoid slamming into the ground, right behind eight Russian MiGs, and taking out the enemy leader. His narrative includes figures of speech, dialogue, and technical information. It’s full of sensory detail: sights, sounds, and smells. He doesn’t shy away from the emotions the characters in the stories are dealing with during hellish battle scenes of war: fear, anger, loneliness, or depression. In the process, Murray brings the reader into the action, into the context, into the time period. I discovered nuggets of wisdom, such as how to approach relationships when starting a new job, and how to balance your personal life with your career. Murray does a really good job showing the interplay between national and international politics, and how it impacts average citizens as well as military personnel. And, while shining the spotlight on Colonel Parr, Murray manages to reveal a bit of himself. For he, too, is a decorated military aviator, an accomplished writer and editor, and an outstanding example of a human being who has so much to offer. I recommend the book.

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Reduced Price

In order to make our services even more accessible to writers, we just reduced the price of our book formatting for authors who want to self-publish their books.

It’s already true that nobody out there can match the personalized, relationship-based approach we take with our authors. One of our clients tried calling his previous formatter, and was actually told, “Don’t call on the phone. We don’t talk to our customers.” Another low-cost formatting service says on their website, “No agency contact allowed.”

We’re not like that. Along with our lowered prices, we still invite our customers to call or email whenever they need to talk or get some information.

1 Simple Pricing

We already offer professional book editing at a fantastic price, whether you want to self-publish or prepare your book before submitting it to a traditional publisher. All agents and publishers urge you to hire an editor before submitting your manuscript to them. We can take care of that for you. Just give us a call at (863) 274-5978. Our editor will talk with you, get a good understanding of you and your project, and tell you what the cost will be. Then compare our price with any other editor, and you’ll see for yourself what a great deal you’re getting with P&L Publishing & Literary Services.P+L_LogoColor

Capture the Imagination

man-851319_1920Good writing captures the imagination of the reader, grabs and holds his attention, compels her to keep reading. It creates interest and makes her care about the story, the people, the problem, or theme. It affects him deeply, almost spiritually, as if the reader does not have the option of putting down the book, the article, or the essay. She must keep reading. He has to find out what happens next. She wants to know the outcome. He is hooked.

The same is true of any form of communication: television commercials, sitcoms, and movies; micro fiction, short stories, and novels; essays and narrative nonfiction; poetry and songs; speeches and sermons. When done well, it latches onto something inside the mind or the soul of the hearer, viewer, or reader.

This happened to me the first time I read Longfellow’s Evangeline. My wife had recommended it, so I picked it up at a used book store and sat down on the sofa to read on my day off. From the opening, I was hooked. The opening lines from the first page: THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight (Longfellow, 95).

The story line, the language, the imagery, and the human pathos captivated me. I read the entire story that day, tears in my eyes several times. Being a guy who has always preferred nonfiction, that was the first time I was genuinely moved emotionally by a piece of fiction. I didn’t know how to process my own reaction.

Business communications consultant Milo Frank says, “The attention span of the average individual is 30 seconds. Let me give you an example. Look around the room and concentrate on a lamp. You’ll find your mind goes to something else within 30 seconds. If the lamp could move or talk, or go on and off by itself, it would recapture your attention for another 30 seconds. But without motion or change, it cannot hold you” (Frank, 15).

It is for this reason that William Zinsser writes in his chapter titled “The Lead and the Ending,” The most importance sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead. And if the second sentence doesn’t induce him to continue to the third sentence, it’s equally dead. Of such a progression of sentences, each tugging the reader forward until he is hooked, a writer constructs that fateful unit, the “lead” (Zinsser, 55).

If this is true, writers who want their stuff to be read will use a variety of means to hook and maintain the reader’s attention throughout the work, not just at the beginning. Because his mind can only focus for thirty seconds, every word, every sentence, and every paragraph has to reengage the reader, reconnecting him to the story for another half-minute. There has to be motion, change, something of interest. Even in non-fiction. Otherwise, the average reader will set aside your piece and find something more fascinating.

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So You Want to Sell Your Books?

In a recent post in the Nonfiction Authors Association, Stephanie Chandler discusses what it takes to actually sell your book once it is published. The truth is that some authors spend a lot of time writing the book, then assume that the hard work is over. NOT TRUE! You might want to take some time to read her article. You can find it at:

https://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/how-many-books-can-you-expect-to-sell-the-truth-about-book-sales-and-the-keys-to-generating-income-from-publishing/

There are some steps you can take to increase your sales, however.

  1. Develop your Platform: Your platform is a combination of your friends and followers on social media, any organizations or clubs you are active in, and your mailing list. Basically, a platform is the way people know about you and find out about you and your books.
  2. Post about Your Book on Social Media: Now that you have a book in print, at least once a week, say something about it on your various online outlets.
  3. Create a Blog: When you write a blog you have an opportunity to create Tags and Categories that people can find when they search for your topics.
  4. Start Asking for Speaking Engagements. According to Stephanie Chandler, Being an author makes you an instant authority. Use your book to help you land speaking engagements, where you can sell books at the back of the room. Use it to impress potential consulting or coaching clients. Use it to show your credibility for teaching in-person or online classes. Another option: write more books. Each book you publish builds your “back list,” and those sales build on each other. Let your book be your credibility-builder, while you cultivate a loyal tribe and build a thriving business. When you do the work, book sales will follow, and so will other opportunities. But it takes time and persistence. Focus on the long-term effort involved, and how your book can make an impact on the world. This can be a fun and rewarding journey when you shift your perspective and set your expectations accordingly.
  5. Develop a Marketing Plan. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, but you do need to come up with a list of ways you can get the word out about you and your book. Let people know about what you do and what you write.
  6. Enter a Writing Contest: You never know what might result from doing this. If you win, people take notice of you. If you don’t win, you’ll learn and grow from the process and get better, maybe even make some friends and improve your networking.
  7. Most importantly, Don’t Give Up: Keep on writing, and continue growing as a writer. Consider joining a writers association or workshop. Read books about writing skills and the writing life. Do you remember who won the race between the Tortoise and the Hare?

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Brand New Business

Ladies & Gentlemen:

Paul & Linda Linzey are creating a new entity called P&L Publishing & Literary Services. Their goal is to help writers by offering outstanding formatting and editing services.

Whether you’re working on a novel, a nonfiction book, or an academic dissertation, Paul & Linda can help you put the finishing touches on your writing, so it is ready to publish.

It’s important to understand that more than 90% of all print books are published by Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which is Amazon’s publishing firm. Since that’s where most authors are self publishing their books, that’s the platform we have chosen to format books for.

Simply stated, you send us your manuscript, and we’ll format it and upload into KDP for you. Done in about two days!

Linda was an editor for a major publisher for over five years, and then a university literature and writing professor, with a Ph.D. in British & American Literature. She also has a lot of experience in drama and oral interpretation, which lends itself to guiding and mentoring writers. She is an expert in story development, editing, writing style, and what it takes to communicate effectively. You can trust her expertise even when you’re planning to submit your book to an agent or a traditional publisher.

Paul has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. He has authored two books, dozens of freelance articles, and served as an editor for two compilations. He has been a featured speaker at several writers conferences, and is trained and certified as a mentor.

They’ve put together a staff of trained, experienced, authors and mentors who are certified and available at low cost to provide a fantastic publishing experience.