Two Ways to Give Back in Appreciation of a Good Read

Give Back Once

Sales of Castle Danger have been about what I expected. I’ve sold enough books to be nearing my original break-even point, but it hasn’t become a New York Times Bestseller and made me internationally famous in literary circles.

I’m typical of most novelists. We write for the joy of writing, or because we can’t not write, or we have something to say. Few write with the expectation of having it be their sole source of income. Still, we’d all like to see better sales than we have. Our readers can easily help us increase sales by doing one simple thing: posting an online review of our books.

I estimate only 10% of my readers have posted an online review of Castle Danger. In today’s publishing world, online reviews are the source of all things sales-related. Readers want some assurance the book they’re considering buying is worth their hard-earned money. Peer reviews have taken the place of widely published reviews in newspapers and magazines as a vetting process for new books and authors.

Why not “give back” an author whose book you’ve enjoyed by posting an online review? Popular sites include,,,,, and

Reviews aren’t difficult to write

Some readers may shy away from reviews, thinking reviews are too hard to write, or they’re not qualified to give their opinions. Nonsense! Reviews need not be long. A review can be as short as a paragraph and take only minutes of your time. Cross-posting is usually allowed. I post most of my Goodreads reviews of books I’ve read at by simply copying and pasting.

And, if you’ve read the book, you’re qualified to write a review. You aren’t competing with reviewers who review for the New York Times Book Review or a major daily newspaper’s staff reviewer. Also, no one is comparing your review to any journalistic standard.

The main thing to remember is: be specific. Tell a reader why you liked a book (or disliked it! I don’t mind honest reviews that are negative.)  Specifically, tell readers what you liked about the characters, the plot, the subplots, the dialogue, the setting, the style. Don’t just say, “I loved the book,” or “The action scenes were awesome.” What exactly did you love about the book? What made the action scenes awesome?

Online reviews are the 21st-Century version of “Word of Mouth Advertising.” But after posting an online review (and crossposting), please don’t forget to personally tell your family and friends about the great new book you just read.

Give Back Twice

December is the prime gift-giving season. The growing trend is to shop locally. In addition, there’s a backlash against online retailing crowding out small local businesses. Why not show your support for your local bookstore and your author/entrepreneur/independently published author by giving the gift of a book like Castle Danger?

Makes a great gift for the readers in your life.
Makes a great gift.

Such a gift is so much more personal for the book-lover on your gift list. With that in mind, during the month of December, I’m offering a signed first edition of Castle Danger, a Castle Danger bookmark, for $25, which includes sales tax, shipping & handling, plus an extra donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota. I’m only set up to accept PayPal payments now, so you must have a PayPal account to take advantage of this offer. However, if you are local, I can arrange to deliver the book personally. You’ll save the $5.00 shipping & handling fee. I can also accept cash or a local check from these customers.

To get this offer, send me an email at I’ll get your mailing information and give you payment instructions for PayPal. If you’re  local (within a 50-mile radius of Owatonna, MN), we’ll arrange the transaction via email.

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