Just Do It

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

How in the world have I written thousands of book reviews? Like the Nike slogan says, I just do it. My commitment to writing book reviews springs from several motivations.
First, I want to support other authors who write good books. Also I want to encourage other writers to write book reviews—selfishly for my own books—but also for books from other writers. Finally I write reviews because good books can change lives. I know this firsthand because years ago reading a book changed the direction of my life.
Through the years, Ive worked out a detailed routine of what I do when I write a book review. First, I create a short link for the book that I store in a text file. Then I download a copy of the cover and upload it to MockUpShots where I quickly create a unique image for the book. I use this image on social media but also on my Amazon review. This different image helps the book standout and get attention from readers.
Ive created my own book review template with my information. Next I pull up this template in Word and add the short link then save the review in a book review folder on my computer. When I write a review, in my mind, I have an idea of the shape of this review. Because Ive done this mental work, it does not take me long to create my book review.  It begins with an eye-catching title. Then I write a short summary of the book and give some overall impressions. As I read the book, I will often mark a quotation or two in the book. I will quote a brief section in my view which show readers that I actually read the book. I end my review with a simple recommendation for the reader.
Because Ive written my review in Word, I will often print my review, then wait a bit (sometimes even a day). I re-read my review and make any changes or modifications. Then I go to the book page on Amazon and cut and paste my review. Sometimes my review appears right away and other times it will take a day or two for it to appear.
Next I go to Goodreads where I have 5,000 friends and have written over 800 reviews. My reviews get a lot of attention on Goodreads. I will cut and paste the same review into Goodreads and post it.
If I know the author or publicist for the book, I will create an email with the links to my review on Goodreads and Amazon. Why? Because when the author or publicist receives it, it shows them them what I have done. Then when they have another book, often these authors will reach out to me. It happened a week or so ago with an author who has a new book coming out in a couple of months. Your activity can breed more activity if you communicate about your review work.
Finally I promote the book on social media. When I craft my post for social, I look and see if the author has a Twitter account. If they do, I include their twitter name in my post. Why?  Its another subtle way to get that author's attention that you have reviewed their book. You never know where such attention could lead such as a future opportunity. In January 2014, I reviewed Piers Morgans book, Shooting Straight and included his Twitter handle in my social media post. He responded with appreciation through Twitter which showed me that Morgan read it. Its another little detail that I just do it.
Help With Writing Reviews
If you don't know what to write for a review, my friend Sandra Beckwith has created a nonfiction and a fiction template. I have both of these tools and they give wise and experienced guidance.
How do I do it over and over? It's simple. I just do it. I tell you about it here because you can do it too. It takes no special creditials. If I do it, you can do it too. Some of the keys to the writing life is consistency, persistence and perserverance. The honest truth is I never get it all done but I continue to take action day after day. Have you created a writing routine which you do over and over? Let me know in the comments below.