The Review Challenge

As many of you know, I have written and self-published a novel, Island in the Clouds, and a novella, That Last Summer, and I’ve been promoting both through whatever means I can – mainly on social media and by advertising locally on Bequia and in Minden, where the stories are set. But I’ve mainly been depending on word-of-mouth promotion, hoping that readers who enjoy reading what I’ve written will tell their friends about these books, either directly or by reviewing the books and commenting on them on social media, on Amazon, on Goodreads, etc. This has been working well, enabling me to get the word out there much further than if I were to personally contact every person I know.

But I do realize that many, many more people have read my books than are telling me or their friends about having read them. I’ve given away copies in contests, through my blog and on Goodreads, I’ve sent free eBooks to bloggers and travel or book sites, and I’ve gifted many print copies of the novel to many more people – all in the hope that they will not only enjoy reading what I’ve written, but also that they will then take that a step further and review/tell a friend about the books.

I would like to thank those who have taken the time to review online or who have sent me an email with your thoughts about the books. I’ve compiled everything here in an Online Reviews and Comments PDF (scroll down to What Readers are saying about Island in the Clouds!) Your support and enthusiasm has been overwhelming and much appreciated!

However, I would like to throw out a challenge to anyone else who has not yet reviewed either of my books online or by sending me a direct message: Please consider writing something now and posting it. Even if you didn’t enjoy either of the books all that much, tell me why that was the case. Authors just want their work to be read, and we thrive and survive on Readers telling us what we did right or wrong in our writing. If you do not feel comfortable putting your comments out there for all the world to see, I would even appreciate receiving a private email with your thoughts. It all helps me to improve my writing.

And it helps to attract new readers to my writing … so here’s the Review Challenge for you to consider – If you have read my books, please recommend them to another friend who you think will enjoy them. Then ask them to do the same and recommend it to another of their friends. Pass on your copy if you need to do so in order to convince them it’s worth reading. While I’d love it if everyone bought their own copies to read, I completely understand lending as a means of interesting readers who don’t know about me. I’m even willing to send out free eBook copies to anyone who would like to read and review either book. If you, or a friend, are willing to do that, please contact me. susanmtoy (at)

I hope this idea doesn’t sound like desperation-for-reviews on my part. What I’m really trying to get across here is how important word-of-mouth promotion is to ALL authors, whether self-or-traditionally published. I know! I was a sales rep for publishers during my career, and the best-selling books were always those that I could personally recommend as having read and enjoyed myself. (Plus, I can be a very convincing sales person at times …) I now very dutifully read and rate/review many books on Goodreads, and I occasionally post a review on Amazon, but I also publish an Author Promotion blog, Reading Recommendations, so I believe I am still doing my bit to get the word out there for my fellow authors.

So, what are you going to do about this? Are you willing to take up my challenge? I would be ecstatic if every reader who has read either of my books were to recommend just one to another reader! And, if each of you were to review those books or send me an email with your comments, as well … You will have made this particular author very, very happy!!

Authors, please feel free to share this blog post and encourage your readers to become part of a challenge to spread the word about your own books – and all authors and their books!


9 responses

  1. Well you know I’ve read it and have drafted my review 🙂 prob next month for posting. Hope you are feeling better. That chicken virus sounds nasty indeed.

    1. Thanks, roughseainthemed! I was going to write a blog post about this virus, but haven’t had the energy nor the ability to wrap my head around writing anything more than Facebook status updates at the moment …

  2. Reblogged this on Reading Recommendations and commented:

    I’m reblogging a post I published earlier today over on my main blog, Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing, and hope that all Readers and the Authors who are being featured on the Reading Recommendations blog will consider my suggestion, and send out your own Review Challenge for your books and those of your fellow Authors.

  3. Author Rebecca Heishman

    I have your book, and I can’t wait to read it. It’s in my Kindle, ready to go, alongside the works of several more of my author-friends. I just can’t seem to get it all in. My ultimate goal in life is to read all the unread books in my vast library, and review them all. I did regular reviews on Amazon for a long time, and I enjoyed it. But, that’s before my writer-dream came true. But, it will get done!

    1. Thanks, Becky! I know you will get to my book and the others eventually. And, if it’s any consolation, I currently have 132 eBooks on my Kindle, over 100 eBooks and PDFs I’ve received free directly from authors, 4 eBooks borrowed from the library, 5 ARCs (print) I brought back with me from Canada, and I don’t know how many print books in my personal library (both here on Bequia and in still storage in Calgary), but 100s, definitely, that remain unread. Probably enough for three lifetimes. Oh, and books I’m reading in manuscript to blurb, to write advance reviews for, and to beta-read. I know exactly what you mean!!

  4. I have not ordered your book, I think because new to blogging I have been overwhelmed with things to read but find lately I am slowing down to breathe. I would love to read your book and review it;) would you be willing to send a copy? I have a lot of friends who read everything they can find. If you cannot send me a copy, I will look into buying one . I just hate having to pay shipping from amazon:(

    1. Thanks, InfiniteZip! Sending you an email …

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