Tuesday Book Review: “The Marriage of True Minds”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

The Marriage of True Minds ll field

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IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards – Silver Medal in Romance Fiction

The Marriage of True Minds: Experience the World of 18th Century England during the Reign of George III

by L.L. Field

ISBN: 9781478728733

Synopsis*:

Journey through 18th-century Georgian England with the Earl of Stoneleigh as he struggles to secure the future of Harcroft Hall by producing an heir with his beautiful wife, Anne of Sudley Manor.  Discover his father’s secret past and meet his mother, the indomitable Dowager Countess of Stoneleigh who will have suitors of her own as one of the liveliest characters in the book.  L. L. Field captures all the details of the period with characters and settings so well-drawn you will not want to put the book down.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Field’s debut historical novel takes a look at upper-class life in 18th-century England.

Viewers of the hit television show Downton Abbey and fans of modern-day British royalty are certainly familiar with the pressure on aristocrats to produce an heir. Geoffrey and his wife, Anne, Lord and Lady Stoneleigh, adore their five daughters yet worry over the future of their estate, due to their failure to produce a male child as an heir to the family fortune. The story of Geoffrey and Anne’s marriage and daily life introduces readers to their social circle of wealthy men and women, all living on prosperous estates in the English countryside. As Geoffrey and Anne struggle over questions of the future, Geoffrey’s widowed mother delves into her dead husband’s past to find answers regarding the existence of his former lover. The dowager must also decide how she feels about the present-day attentions of her old friend and neighbor, Lord Wortham. Meanwhile, Wortham’s son, Lord Lynnhurst, attempts to win back the affections of his childhood love, Miss Compton, despite her lower social status. These personal conflicts whirl amid a plethora of fancy dinners and extravagant balls, and Field does a marvelous job of sketching out her characters and settings. She beautifully captures the intimacy and mutual respect of Geoffrey and Anne’s relationship and realistically presents the complicated dowager’s many facets and motivations. There are vivid descriptions of sumptuous feasts (“silver trays laden with venison, sirloin of beef…and bowls of steaming buttered potatoes”), and the author revels in bringing ladies’ fashion to life, detailing frocks of “iridescent silk” or a “taffeta brocaded gown interwoven with lace.” In addition, she touches on broader politics and societal trends—such as the controversial Enclosure Acts, which wrested land rights from poor farmers—and the vicious gossip and whims of London society. The work even crosses genres: Field’s detailed research offers a fine contribution to historical fiction, and her passionate love scenes will satisfy those seeking a titillating romance.

A feast for readers looking to taste the luxurious lifestyle of the English upper crust.

– reviewed on Kirkus

Other Reviews

What a wonderful read! Like another reader, I read it on a friend’s recommendation, and was completely captivated. Field masterfully has created a great story line and an extraordinarily well-crafted view of all aspects of upper class England in the mid-to-late 18th century. The pacing is perfect, the characters are developed thoroughly, with humor and wit, and it leaves me hungry for the sequel, which is in the works. It’s particularly skillful at conveying how women found their place, and power, in such a society. I heartily recommend it!

 – reviewed on Amazon by Sharon Hope

This novel is what I’d call a genre-buster. Looking for a bodice-ripper? You’ll be more than satisfied, as Field’s sure hand delivers one of the best you’ll ever read. But if you crave something beyond the thousand you’ve read, here’s your unexpected treat. “True Minds” is true literature; not the stiff stuff you were made to read in school, but rather what you love to read, elevated to a sophistication and a level of intelligence lesser writers deny their readers. Field confidently ascribes to her audience the capability to understand and appreciate her keen sense of history, place, custom, and — most of all — human relationships, complete with their squalor and splendor, their tragedy and fulfillment, their public and private, the frailties and the sinew we all share. The reader is transported convincingly to another time, but vividly recognizes on every page her own regrets, elations, dreams both dreadful and uplifting, and finally, the triumph of the human will and of the human spirit. Celebrate and enjoy this blessedly non-mass-produced work. And Encore!

 – reviewed on Amazon by David C. Bender

Author Website

http://llfield.com/books/the-marriage-of-true-minds/overview/

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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From the Archives: “Should You Pay for a Book Review?”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: April 15th, 2011 ]

As an author in the self-publishing industry, reviews for your book are very important.  A book published by an unknown author has little chance of gaining attention, while the same book (and the same “unknown” author) with a number of positive reviews can begin to gain momentum.  Those positive reviews can help persuade potential new readers to buy the book and the word-of-mouth continues.

You may have already received reviews from some of your friends or colleagues, so what next?  There are some free review services where you can send a copy of your book.  These services are a great resource; however, because they are free, the reviewers get inundated with books and can’t review every book they receive.  Their services can also take several months and the reviews are not guaranteed to be good.

In addition to free review services, there are some services available where you can pay to be guaranteed a review.  That said, the review is still not guaranteed to be good, but if you are confident in your book (which you should be, after all you wrote and published it!), you shouldn’t need to worry about that.

Here are three pay-for-review services you can start with:

BLUE INK REVIEW

Standard Review is $395 for the review to be completed in 7-9 weeks.

Fast Track Review is $495 for the review to be completed in 4-5 weeks.

BlueInk considers for review any book that has been published (self-published and indie published).  They review e-books, on-demand books, printed books in any format, English translations and English-language submissions from outside the United States, as well as galleys. They do not review manuscripts pre-publication.

FOREWORD CLARION REVIEW

The cost is $305 $499* and turnaround time is 6-8 4-6* weeks.

Open to all books and publishers, Clarion promises an objective 400 – 500 word review/critique with a quick six to eight week turnaround. The review will be posted on the ForeWord website (if the publisher desires), licensed to the three top wholesale databases, and made available to the book’s publisher. This service is ideal for books that haven’t received review attention elsewhere.

KIRKUS INDIE REVIEW

 

Standard review is completed in 7-9 weeks for $425.

Express review is completed in 3-4 weeks for $575.

The Kirkus Indie program gives independent authors a chance to obtain an unbiased, professional review of their work, written in the same format as a traditional Kirkus review. A book review can be an essential and powerful tool for promoting your book to literary agents, traditional publishing houses, booksellers, and, most importantly, potential readers.

by Kelly Schuknecht

When it comes to reviews, there’s so much to say that it’s almost inevitable that I would have to update and expand upon what I wrote back in 2011–after all, the world doesn’t hold still for anyone, and that’s certainly true of both the internet and the publishing industry, as well!  You will note that I have already made note of several changes in regards to pricing and timing for the ForeWords Clarion review options (marked with an * each time), but what about the larger picture?  Can we still mount a defense for paid reviews in a world where Amazon and Goodreads are king, where product pages provide ream after ream of short, easy-to-digest reviews from laypeople like you and me–and FREE reviews at that?

national review book reviews

If you suspected I might have a simple and short answer for you, I’m sorry to let you down.  Saying “yes” casts aside all of my many thoughts about the value of those unpaid product reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and saying “no” discounts the ongoing benefits that longform paid reviews still offer.

Let’s start with Amazon and Goodreads.

I’ve written in detail about the virtues of garnering lots of good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads before, specifically in my series on Self-Publishing and Merchandising from May of 2015, where I broke down the distinctions between these kinds of reviews and blog-based reviews.  And the statistics speak with resounding and repeated certainty that readers use the metrics provided by Amazon and Goodreads as one of their first and most important decision-making tools.  If readers search for a title they’re fairly certain they’re going to like, only to find that it has lots of poor reviews on Goodreads or a low star rating on Amazon, they’re not likely to follow through and buy it, no matter what else they’ve read that’s positive.  And if readers stumble across a title by accident that they weren’t actually looking for, but it ends up having fabulous reviews, they’re actually fairly likely to pay money to purchase it!  Search engines like Google have tweaked their algorithms to push books that are rated highly on Goodreads and Amazon to the top of their index, so you should never, never discount the importance of asking friends, family members, and other members of the public to post a positive review to these sites.

And what about paid reviews?

While longform essay book reviews have largely become the province of periodicals with paid subscription models like the London Review of Books or the New York Review of Books, they are far from dying out in terms of popularity–they’ve merely found their niche readership, and a powerful one at that.  It’s hard to estimate the exact impact of one positive longform review, but collectively, consider: the discerning reader needs an evaluation of content, of structure, of tone, and of many other aspects of a book’s nature than what can be provided in a brief burst of opinion on Amazon.  The discerning reader wants to know: what do the experts think?  Not everyone is looking for the lowest common denominator of shared public opinion (or so one of my college professors once opined) … sometimes they want to hear from one learnéd voice, in detail, the full warp and weft of a book.  This is why paid reviews are still worth their money–they reach the discerning reader.  And guess what?  Discerning readers are very likely to be a go-to resource to their friends and families, access points for dozens upon dozens of other new readers.  Discerning readers are amplifiers, advocates, and arbiters of your book’s larger footprint.  So yes, we shouldn’t forget about the paid review.  It has a place in the larger scheme of things, the larger framework of reviews and marketing.

They do not determine or reflect the actual value of your book, but good reviews–both paid and unpaid–do determine who is likely to buy it next.

 

If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Kirkus Book Reviews: Best Indie Books of 2011

Kirkus Reviews recently released “Best Indie Books of 2011.” Congratulations to all of the 2011 winners!

This list is a great honor and promotion tool. Kirkus Reviews will be promoting the list for the remainder of the year, and the site features a social media sharing option for authors to share the page with friends and readers. This is a great way for authors to get the word out about their book and increase their credibility.

Kirkus Reviews provides critical, descriptive and concise reviews of forthcoming books. The review typically appears two to three months before publication. To learn more, visit www.kirkusreviews.com.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.