How to Request a Book Review: Workshop Wednesday

Last week, I described how to write a book review. Today, we will work on how to requests a book review. This is a general way of doing it, but remember, each reviewer has their own policy.

  • To begin, you will want to have a list of the places you wish to requests a review from. The best way to put your list together is to google for book reviewers for your genre. Some of the general reviewers are Big Al’s Books & Pals, BookSlut. There are many more out there waiting for you to discover them.
  • I suggest having a list of 20-50 sites, as nearly half of them will have non-working links, non-working emails, incorrect contact information, will not acknowledge emails for numerous reasons, even if you followed their directions to the letter, and more.
  • Write individual emails. Do not use a form letter. In your email, address the reviewer by name, if it is available, otherwise, I would say you could address them by their site name. For instance, if you did not know I am angel Graham, and could only find the site name, Heaven’s Garden, I would not be offended if your request began as: Dear Heaven’s Garden.
  • Be brief, but follow each site’s policy on how to ask for (request) a review. Here, you will want to check out Review Policy,to see what our rules are. Tell the reviewer in one short paragraph what your book is about, what genre, including if it is fiction or non-fiction, and if you have a book release coming up and when. Some reviewers will try to work with you to review in time for your release date, but not all.
  • Use spellcheck, proper grammar, and punctuation. Pretend you are sending your request to a publisher or agent and put your best foot forward. No one expects absolute perfection, but numerous errors in your requests do not bode well in receiving a review.
  • Have your author’s bio ready along with a brief outline or synopsis of the book, buy links to where readers may purchase the book, a copy of the book in .mobi, .ePub, .pdf, or other popular formats for ereaders. Have a cover image ready of high quality which can be sized down as needed. DO NOT SEND UNTIL REQUESTED.
  • Remember to include your name, your pen name, if applicable, and your email within the body of the email. This simply makes the reviewers work easier. Make sure your email addy is written correctly and works. You have no idea how many times I have tried to reply to authors emails and it bounced back. I don’t try to find proper contact information any longer, I am too busy.
  • Close your email off in a respectful manner. If you have an email signature you typically use, now is the time to be sure it is updated and in working order. A link to your website, to your social media would be good ideas here, but it is up to you if you wish to do this. For myself, an email signature with links is different from links within the actual body of the email, which most reviewers do not want.

There you have it. Now, send out your requests and bye ready with your information, including release dates if asked by reviewer. Go forth and request.

Have you ever asked for a book review? How did it go? Do you do book reviews? Leave your name and a link to your website in the comments section. Perhaps someone will requests a review from you.

How to write a Book Review: Workshop Wednesday

  1. Find the book you wish to review and read it. Pay attention to what you find extraordinary about it, either bad or good. I like to take notes while reading to help me remember.
  2. Decide where you wish to post the review. You may have your own blog. This is a great place to start. If you do not have a blog, consider joining book communities such as Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari. All three of these allow you to add the books to a collection and to review it. You will need an account. This is a good thing for reviewers who buy their own books to keep track of what they have bought and read. Perhaps you may wish to leave a review at,, or If so, you will need accounts for these places also.
  3. Now that you have read the book and decided where to post your review, it is time to write your review. Check what each place you are going to post your review requires. For instance, Amazon requires at least 20 words for the review and recommend approximately a 300 word review. Other places, such as Goodreads ask you to indicate if your review contains spoilers, those things which may give away key elements of the book have are reviewing. Please be truthful when answering that question. many readers, such as myself, do not want to read spoilers.
  4. Write the review, explaining in your own words why you liked or disliked this book, try to refer at least once to the name of the book, and the author’s name. This helps the reader to remember which book review they are reading, and can help you in the same way as you write the review. Explain if there are a few punctuation, spelling, or grammatical errors, or numerous ones that are difficult to dismiss. You may wish to mention if this is a book that is self-published or by a publishing house. This matters to some readers. For myself, it does not normally matter. Be sure to separate your paragraphs and to check your spelling. Walls of text, with no paragraphs or punctuation will have most readers disregarding your review, despite how accurate it may be.
  5. Remember to review the book and not the author. Do not make mean or nasty remarks about the author. Be as professional as possible, even if you are writing your first review. Reviews can help to make or break how well a book does, so be you are being honest ago giving constructive criticism, and not just ragging on a book and/or the author.
  6. Reread your review and edit it as is necessary. Check your spelling, and punctuation most especially. Use a critical eye to see where you can clean up your review so it will cast you and your reviews in a better light.
  7. Go to the places you wish to post your review and do so. Be sure to click save, or enter, or submit after pasting it to the site. If it is on your own blog, you may wish to add covers of the books you have reviewed.
  8. If you would like to see how I do my book reviews, go to Two for Tuesday category, and click on one of the posts. You need to find the way that works best for you, but this gives you the most basic facts necessary to get you started.
Book cover
Happy reading.
Have you written any book reviews in the past or perhaps you do now? Share a link to your blog or review in the comments section.

He said. She said. Workshop Wednesday

Perhaps you guessed from the title that today, we will discuss different words that can be used to substitute for said. In many instances, said can be, and often is, the right word for the job. What happens when you need your character to not be as active, but to present their story in a more passive manner. This is when you will need to find other words to use in place of said.

Try this for size. “You are a dolt,” she said. Blah. Now, this for comparison, “You are a dolt,” she exclaimed. or better still, “You are a dolt,” she screamed. We now know that she, whomever she may be is angry at someone. Just the subtle difference in one word in your sentence can convey a whole new meaning.

Here are some words you may be able to substitute for said when the need arises.
Acknowledged, shouted, complained, admonished, demanded, moaned, mumbled.

What words can or do you use for said?


Some features on hiatus during my illness

Friday Friends, Squb Saturday are on hiatus until further notice. I do not have the energy or stamina to do these plus the Wednesday Workshops and Two for Tuesday Reviews. I am trying to keep the features that I feel most readers will benefit from.

I hope to get the blog back up to muster by December 1st and maybe have some good and necessary changes by then also.

The Color of Description: Workshop Wednesday

Her black hair shone bright in the yellow sunlight of the day. I know, boring. Now try this. Her sleek raven hair shimmered in the pale, lemony yellow sunlight. What is the difference beyond using different words? It is the fact of giving the reader more by describing the shade of the color. Rather than a simple phrase about her black hair, we now know it is the color of black found on a raven. The sunlight is no longer simply yellow but now we are aware that it is likely an early morning sun, diffused by the morning dew, giving it a softer, yellow than if it were the noon-day sun.

Try this little exercise; write down the basic colors. Black, red, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, orange, and perhaps pink. Now, describe these colors to a blind person who has never seen color. How will you evoke an understanding in that person as to what the color black is? Not an easy assignment, I am aware, as I have already done this years ago.

You will discover that unlike with a person who has seen and knows colors, you cannot reference another color to describe, say, orange. You must reach deeper into your ability to describe to bring forth an appropriate response of understanding. Difficult but not impossible. 20120913-135033.jpg

To help you get started with an easier task, I will give you some other words to help describe some basic colors,

Blue: lapis lazuli, sapphire, cobalt, chalcedony
Black: obsidian, coal, raven, onyx, jet black
Green: lime, pine, olive, emerald, jade, khaki
Purple: eggplant, amethyst, violet
White: egg white, antique white, ivory, cream
Red: crimson, ruby, wine, scarlet, burgundy
Orange: tangerine, peach, melon, pumpkin, carrot
Pink: petal pink, magenta, carnation, flamingo pink
Yellow: lemon, gold, Chinese yellow, goldenrod, khaki

Now, go forth and find many more shades of each of these colors and use them to help you in your descriptions of hair, eyes, clothing and much more.

Pinterest: Workshop Wednesday

Welcomed back to another addition of Workshop Wednesday here at Heaven’s Garden. Today’s topic is about what I consider to be the second most under-used social network, and, the most visual one:


Just the past week or so, Pinterest has dropped the need for an invitation to be able to join.  This helps to simplify sign up a bit, and takes away the guesswork of when you will be allowed in.

Pinterest has been somewhat controversial since it’s start but, in my opinion, much of it has been unwarranted though not all. The Terms of Service (TOS) was, and to some point still is, a bit unclear whether one can link or upload ONLY their own original photos or not.

This week, I’m going to give you a short intro into what to do once  you have signed up for Pinterest.

You should have at least one board already, but we’re going to teach you how to add your own board, and what it entails. To access your boards, you can click on your “username” or on the “boards” from the drop down menu.

To create a new board, you will wish to click on “Add+” button at the top right of your computer screen, and then click on “Create a Board.” Type your board name in the area provided and then click the Create Board button.  There are 32 categories to choose from, and you’ll want to consider carefully where your board best fits.This will  help you to stay organized and will help people to find you and your pins easier.

You can set it up to allow others to be authorized to also pin on your board, but unless you are part of a large company, are working on a project, are organizing a wedding or trip, it is best under most circumstances to set the pin authorization to only yourself.

Before  you can allow another person to contribute to your boards, you must follow at least one  on their boards. Group boards seem to be popular, and it could help increase  your follower base. I recommend that you be very judicious in how and whom you allow to contribute. You don’t want someone pinning pornography or illegal information on your account, do you?

You can rename and rearrange your boards at a later time; for now, we just want to get you started so you will know what you are doing. In order to arrange your boards, you must be on your profile page and you will click the little square located in the middle of the page. I consider it to be essential that your most important boards be at the top of your page. For my account, that would be the boards which deal with Heaven’s Garden Productions, angel Art Studio, Twisted Rose Publishing, Heaven-Wide Communications and about 3-5 others.  For most of my boards, I attempt to group them together, such as the recipe boards, which are then sorted alphabetically.  I try to make it as easy as possible for those coming to my boards to find what they are looking for with a minimum of trouble.

You are also able to set a board cover on each board. This is done by mouse-over of any board, clicking on the “edit board cover” and then choosing the pin cover you want and positioning it as you like.There are tools which will allow you to “slice” the image cover such as vitamincr/pinterest. This can help add a little more interest to your boards.  I’ll admit, I have not tried it yet, but when I return to the States and back to my Windows PC, I’ll be looking into giving it a try.

If you are like me, you want to know how to edit a board.  You can do this by clicking on the “edit” button which is located under the board you want to edit. You can change the board tittle, add a description, change categories, set contributors and delete the board. Something I recommend, and try to always remember to do, is to use the # in my board description and in the board name itself. For instance, let’s say I create a new board for WordPress Tutorials. My new board name would look as follows: #WordPress Tutorials. I do this, as it is supposed to help help people in being able to search more directly for the boards or pins they wish to find.  It works in much the same way as the hash-tag # for Twitter works.

There are  places that can teach you how to do pins, but I feel the best one is from Pinterest itself. Therefore, I will not be taking time to explain this to you and will move forward in teaching you a few other tricks and tips.

Let’s talk a bit more about the hashtag # and it’s use in Pinterest. With Pinterest, you can add this to the picture description, and it can not be used more than three times to describe one pin. As mentioned above, it helps to make an easily searchable keyword.

Another familiar sign is the at mention sign @ This allows you to recommend the pin to a specific user, or to notify a particular user about your pin. You must be following the user already. If you wanted to at mention me, for instance, it would look like this;  @angelGraham

Commenting on pins is one of the best and easiest ways to interact with other users, aside from pinning or liking their pins.  It allows you to become more personal with them, and again, this is something which has the potential to help increase your own follower base.

A tip/trick I discovered by accident is the one where you can addd the $ sign to your description and it will allow you to add a price to your pin. I’ve read recently that the £ can also be used in the same way.

Videos may also be shared on Pinterest. It’s done in the same way as pinning images, so no extra explanation is necessary.

So, what’s next? Time to follow and be followed.  I was fortunate when I joined Pinterest, that  a number of people I knew were already there, and was able to follow them right away…and they followed me back.  This may be the case for you also.  After you’ve used up your list of people you know, it’s time to begin searching for people to follow who may be inclined to follow you back.  This is where the #search can be invaluable. Start by searching for other users in the areas you will frequent the most. For me, this is the Recipes and DIY, for my friends, it may be books and sports.  Go with your interest, find people who share your interest, and begin following them.  To get followers, you’ll need to do a bit more work.

One thing, probably the most important thing, is to find a way to garner their attention. Put a Pin Me button on your blog/website page, use links in your digital books, add a Follow Me On Pinterest button to your blog/site, and link it to your profile.

Second, add a “follow us on Pinterest” to your email signature (Wisestamp is a great tool for accomplishing this, more on WiseStamp at another time.)

Third, consider making a “How I Use Pinterest” video on YouTube with a link to your profile and pin your video from YouTube to your Pinterest board. I have not done this yet, but it’s on my list of “Things to attempt.”

Fourth, as I touched on earlier, comment on others pins and blogs. It helps you to gain visibility. I’ve tried to do this, but while in Canada, I’m taking it easy, and will go back to doing this more actively when I return to the States.

There are many other things you can do with Pinterest, much more to learn. Go to Facebook and do a search for some of the Pinterest on Facebook Pages, and you can find a wealth of information, plus it is another avenue to use for finding followers.

Don’t forget to be sure to attribute the original person on the pin in your description.  I like to use the URL from their site not only to pin the image, but also in the description itself. If you know their username, use the @username method to further alert them to your pin. You may end up with a new follower or two.

So, readers, what’s your favorite pin you have found on Pinterest?  Authors, are you using Pinterest, and if you are, how are  you using it? Please come comment and let us know what’s going on with your boards and pins.

Now, go forth and Pin.