Hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve updated on writing endeavors that don’t involve Little Free Libraries :) so I thought I’d jump with other news. I recently wrote a review for Windy City Reviews and it made me think - do ya’ll even know I write reviews? Probably not, but I do!
Windy City Reviews is an extension of the Chicago Writers Association and provides indie and small press authors the chance for a free book review. I availed myself of the service for The Cube and remember waiting with bated breath to get it back, reading it over and over again, and then letting it sink in that my reviewer was as kind as could be. It was the first time someone outside of my friend and family group had given me feedback on my book, which is a feeling I still have no words to describe.
Not too long after that, I was honored when Windy City Reviews reached out to see if I would be willing to return the favor and sign up as a reviewer. Of course, I said yes!
Why was it such an easy yes for me? Well, first of all, I love reading. So, that’s pretty easy. Second, I will be eternally grateful for my review and love the idea of paying it forward. But, I think my favorite part of it so far is the access it gives me to books I would never find on my own.
The three books that have come to me so far have each been a treat to read. Could indie books stand more proofreading and editing? Probably (and let’s not go down the path of then thinking about how that applies to my own book... yikes). But, it turns out that great ideas and a lot of heart overcome any technical issues that may come up. Each of the books I have read has stuck with me, maybe even more than many of the traditionally published books I have read.
The first book I reviewed, The Hope Store, was such a fresh and unique concept, I could almost taste the crispness of the story as I read it. The second book I reviewed, The Third Thaw, was so intricate and original, I still think about it months later. This latest book, The One Date Rule, refreshingly left behind all of the tropes it could have employed… and was damn sexy to boot.
If these books hadn’t come to me, I would have never found them on my own, and that’s a real shame, because they were each wonderful to read in their own, lovely ways.
I also think it’s an honor. With Windy City Reviews, the author scans the list of reviewers and picks the person they would like to have read their book. The reviewer has the chance to say no, but I can’t imagine doing that. The idea that my bio and interests pop for another author is so lovely and that they would choose me to read their work… well, that’s just fantastic. I have jumped at each and every chance I’ve had to say “yes!”
Reviews can mean so much to an author. I really labor over trying to give honest feedback that also provides the author with something good they can quote on their website or other materials. I also try and dive into what I really liked about the book so that each and every author I read knows I saw them through their work.
We may not all have access to the best editors at the best publishing houses. We may not get written up in the New York Times or have a thousand reviews on Goodreads. But, through this service, writers can support other writers… and find some really great reads to boot. WIN-WIN!
I hope my reviews spark some of you to pick up some of these great indie books. Fingers crossed another author chooses me for a new review soon!