As I'm writing this, I am in the process of being an influencer for one author, and when I'm finished, I'll be doing the same for another writer.
What is an influencer? My job is to read a novel by an author and then write a review and promote the book. I've been writing reviews on Amazon for years, and recently expanded to Good Reads, which I'm able to share on Facebook. This past year, the Indianapolis Public Library revamped their website so I can leave reviews there as well.
I now have a new tool - this blog.
I've been writing reviews before I ever served as an influencer (let alone knowing such a creature existed). I've had some people comment that my review helped them in their decision to purchase a book (including one who said my review - which was a positive one - convinced him not to buy that book).
In fact, I have a confession. For a couple of years I haven't been writing as many reviews. Yes, I do when I'm an influencer, but I don't make it a time priority. Shame. On. Me. Can I ask you to help me get back into that good habit?
Some reviewers have a policy of writing only 5 star reviews. One is a writer friend who knows first hand the benefit of reading a positive review has on an author and the discouragement of a negative one. Others come across as non-authors who are using that promise to get free books to review.
In practice, at least 95% of my fiction reviews are 5 star, because the authors earn it. There are times I read a book that isn't my favorite genre (I enjoy romantic suspense, but not romance; I like sci-fi but I'm not into dystopian). That doesn't effect my rating - I consider that a fan of that genre might enjoy that well-written book more than I did, so I want to encourage that person to try that book.
There are rare instances I don't feel the writer deserves 5 stars. For example, I read one book where they mentioned the government officials on the board, including the Senators of California, Massachusetts, and New England. Uh, New England is a region of a half dozen states and as a region doesn't have a Senator. The same author wrongly identified the singer of a pop song. My job is then to point out both the good and bad, so an unsuspecting reader won't want to throw a book against the wall.
I find similarities between writing reviews and serving as an evaluator at the Toastmaster clubs I've been in. The purpose of joining Toastmasters is to improve speaking, and the evaluator helps in pointing out what the speaker is doing right and what needs improvement.
If I ever become a published author, I would want to know the whys of the review. They loved the book? That's nice, but be more specific. Why did you love my book? Was it the plot? The characters? The use of the setting? My writing voice? The theme? The book cover?
Have you written any reviews? Or for that matter, served as a Toastmaster evaluator? What can you do to help promote your favorite author?