How to get your book reviewed

University student working in library

I admit I would love to know what people think of my books; but right now I’m still trying to figure out how to get people to read my books. So I was playing around with the idea of giving away some copies of my books in exchange for reviews. That lead me to doing some Google research which lead me to the discovery that you can actually pay to get your books reviewed. I was intrigued by this idea so I clicked on a link to find out more. Imagine my shock to discover that a simple book review could cost me hundreds of dollars.

I don’t mind the idea of paying someone to read and review my book (not a fake paid for glowing review but their honest opinion). Although, let’s face it, the way things usually work authors are the ones who get paid when people read their books. They don’t usually have to pay people to read their books; but when you self publish and you’re starting from the very bottom with limited resources for growing a reader base you sometimes have to consider things like paying people to read your book, provided of course there will be a benefit to doing that such as getting an honest review about the book from someone who isn’t a family member or a friend.

But the idea of paying upwards of $500 for a book review doesn’t excite me. I’d be a rich woman if I was paid $500 for every book I’ve ever read in my life–paid for the time spent reading and for giving my opinion of the book after reading it. I understand that time is money; and this is a service being offered and people can charge whatever they want for their time. But I wouldn’t pay $500 to get someone to read and review my book under any circumstance.

Surely there are writer to writer networks out there where writers who are in the same boat team up to help each other? I would definitely buy a copy of another writers book and read it and provide my honest opinion in a review in exchange for that writer doing the same favor for me.

I did come across a very extensive article written by a Kimberley Grabas back in February 2014 titled “How to Get Reviews For Your Book (Without Begging, Bribing or Resorting to Subterfuge)” You can find the full article at Below is an excerpt from the article that provides food for thought as to whether paying for a review is a good or bad idea:

Should I Pay For Book Reviews?

Thanks to the self-publishing revolution, many of the walls have come down, allowing authors greater access and opportunities than ever before.power

But, “with great power comes great responsibility”, and there have been reports of rather dubious wielding of power.

Authors are now also expected to carry more–if not all–of the weight of decisions that were previously left in the hands of the publisher.

It would be naive to think that book reviews procured by a publisher for its author were free, unbiased and unculled (have you seen a bad review on a dust jacket?). But, the issue now is the perception of impropriety when an author pays for a review, often regardless of its legitimacy.

With book review authenticity already in jeopardy, it’s easy to see how paid reviews can further taint consumer perception.

Obviously, it is up to the individual to determine if paid reviews crosses any ethical or moral boundaries, but since there are other valid (and free) options available, it may be prudent to just skip the paid review minefield. (Read full article at

For me the idea was never to pay someone to write a fake glowing review; but to pay someone to read my book and write an honest review for better or worse. I would of course prefer not to have to pay people to read my book. That’s kind of desperate I guess; but it could be useful to a writer to get opinions on their work from people who are not biased in one way or another or just afraid to tell them the truth for whatever reason.


Does age matter for writers?


I strongly doubt that if J.K Rowling had been 60 when she wrote her Harry Potter books she would have been turned down by her publisher on account of her age.  I can’t see how age should matter for writers if a book is good. There have been more than a few successful books published that were written by people in their 50s and beyond. According to a huffingtonpost article, Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her 60s when she wrote the Little House on the Prairie books.

Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing as a columnist in her 40s. Contrary to a belief begun by the TV series about her family, the popular Little House books weren’t written when she was a young girl at all. They were written and published when the ‘girl’ was in her 60’s! (huffingtonpost)

The same Huffington post article mentions author Elizabeth Jolley who was in her fifties when her first novel was published. It’s unclear if she was 53 or 56. The age stated in the Huffington Post article is 56 but on Elizabeth Jolley’s wikipedia page it states that she was 53 when her first book was published, after receiving numerous rejection letters, and that she went on to publish fifteen novels and was releasing books well into her seventies.

Also mentioned was writer Mary Wesley. The article claims she was 71 when her first novel was published; but it’s not entirely clear from her wikipedia page if this is completely accurate. Whether or not her first novel was published when she was 71, most of her success as a writer was achieved while she was in her 70s. Most of her novels were written and published while she was in her seventies.

Does age matter for writers? No!

If someone thinks you’re too old to write and dream and strive to become a published author, or even if they think you’re too young, leave them to their opinion. They are entitled to it; but the fact is there have been children under the age of ten and men/women over the age of seventy who have become successfully published authors. It’s the story that matters.

Combat ageism

People have an attitude about age that is unfortunate for everyone in the world at large because we all age. As young as you might be right now, you will get older. Every older person was once a younger person and every younger person will one day be an older person. So it seems to me as if it could only be a good thing for people to change their attitudes about age. The truth of the matter is, life does not end after 50. Far from it, life continues on the same way as always and all too often, if you are not in a position financially to treat your later years as that time in life where you’re “finally able to relax”, life only becomes more challenging. So for the younger folks out there I can tell you this, you don’t want to live in a world where ageism is allowed to thrive. You want to live in a world where even at 60 you have opportunities and options for making the most of your life.

Image of J.K Rowling: “J. K. Rowling 2010” by Daniel Ogren – Flickr: 100405_EasterEggRoll_683. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –


Animal Stowaway Sample Chapter

children in yard talking about Harriet copy 2

Animal Stowaway – Chapter 1
Author: Sarah V Lewis
Publisher: Meadowcreek Books for All Readers

kids inside cave poking animal with stick cropped
The Smiths and the Logans were neighbors living in the small village of Gambles on the island of Antigue. The two families got along very well and did almost everything together. They especially loved to hike and swim as one big family.

The Smiths, who were Americans living on the island, had a son named Sam and a daughter named Lucy. Sam was nine. Lucy was eight. The Logans, who were from Antigue, had three children. Their twin sons Larry and Walt were seven and their daughter Sara was eight.

The whole gang was at the beach on a beautiful, hot mid-summer ‘s day. The families had arrived in the middle of the morning and setup their beach towels and baskets next to each other under two palm trees. The parents were always as excited as the children to be out for a day at the beach. There was much chatter and laughter as the children ran about playing in the sand. While Mr. Logan and Mr. Smith went swimming, Mrs. Logan and Mrs. Smith chose to relax and chat under the shade of their palm trees.

Before lunchtime the families went out on their glass-bottomed sailboats. The children always loved to go sailing. They loved to count the fish and look out for the biggest and most colorful fish as the fish swam by under the boat. They sailed as far out as Mrs. Logan and Mrs. Smith would allow, then it was time to go back to shore for lunch.

After lunchtime the parents gave the children permission to go hiking in the hills that overlooked the sandy beach. The children followed the winding footpath up the top of the hill. They climbed over the rocks and found a beautiful blue lagoon. They waded and played around in the water of the small lagoon for a while, then wandered amongst the trees and stumbled upon a series of rocks that opened like a doorway.

“Wow, a cave!” shouted Larry and Walt.

“Let’s go in and see!” said Sam, leading the way.

All except for Lucy were excited as they entered the cave. Lucy stood at the entrance to the cave and wouldn’t go in.


“You shouldn’t be going in there,” she called after them; but the others still kept venturing inside the cave.

Sam looked back at Lucy.

“Come on!” he said to his sister. “Don’t spoil the fun.”

Still, Lucy wouldn’t move, so Sam had to go back to get her.

“What’s there to be afraid of?” he asked, holding onto her arm. “It’s just a little old cave.”

With Sam holding onto her arm Lucy took one step into the cave and then another. She ventured a yard inside the cave but refused to go any further.

“I’ll just wait for you here,” she said, pulling her arm away from Sam.

Shrugging his shoulders, Sam left Lucy where she stood and hurried to catch up with the others; but before he could reach where Larry, Walt and Sara were standing, Lucy screamed out in alarm.

Sam and the others ran swiftly to Lucy’s side.

“What is it?” they asked.

Lucy had inched her way back to the entrance of the cave and was pointing at something. At first none of the others could see anything where Lucy was pointing, but then the thing moved and they all saw it. It was a small creature the size of a mouse. It stood quietly staring back at them as they stared at it; then suddenly it turned itself into the shape of a ball and just as suddenly uncoiled back into its mousy self.

“Wow!” said Sam moving closer to the tiny creature to inspect it.

“What is it?” asked Larry.

“Some kind of animal that can turn itself into a ball,” said Walt.

“It’s moving close to us,” said Lucy, backing away in fear.

“Get a stick. Let’s touch it and see what happens,” said Sam.

Walt looked around for a stick and found one not far from the entrance to the cave. He handed the stick to Sam.

“Be careful,” cried Sara. “We don’t want to hurt it!”

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The Rabbits Cover Story


The cover for Sarah V Lewis’ book “The Rabbits” was designed by Adela Lewis. The house featured in the cover picture is taken from the public domain photograph “Gingerbread House Essex CT” by Gregoryj77 at en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here. Original uploader was Gregoryj77 at en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –


The cover art was created using Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter Essentials. The yard featured in the original photograph “Gingerbread House Essex CT” was redesigned. The road was removed and the yard expanded. A pathway was drawn in using photoshop tools. The shrubbery in the front of the house was enhanced with wild grasses and white flowers. Flowers and shrubs and trees were added to create what is meant to represent the yard of the character Mrs. Allison where the rabbits trespass for the purpose of playing in her lush green lawn and eating her flowers.

the rabbits cover full

The use of the image “Gingerbread House Essex CT” assumes the accuracy of the public domain license as represented on
gingerbread house screen capture


The Rabbits Sample Chapter

the rabbits cover full

The Rabbits – Chapter 1
Author: Sarah V Lewis
Publisher: Meadowcreek Books for All Readers

Three precocious rabbits named Webster, Lester and their baby sister, Molly Rabbit, lived with their parents in the countryside of Douglashire, a small village in the American Southwest.

It was the first day of spring and Webster, Lester and Molly Rabbit thought it was a nice day to skip across Mrs. Allison’s perfectly manicured lawn. The grass was so green and inviting that they felt they just had to go and play in it.

It was also the perfect time to go, because not only were the afternoons now sunny and nice, but it was still too early in the spring for Mr. Red Fox to be out of his hole to bother them. So they strolled along enjoying the sights of the wild flowers growing by the wayside, stopping only at the top of the knoll near the wild anise bushes.

From where they stood, the Allison’s lawn looked green and smooth. They imagined how velvety the grass would feel under their dainty little feet, while at the same time, peering through the bushes to make sure that Mrs. Allison was nowhere in sight.

They waited quietly. Lester and Webster thought of a nibble or two of the young Lilly of the valley shoots springing up amongst the grass, and though it made them hungry for a snack, they promised themselves that they would not eat anything. Their main intent was playing in the Allison’s smooth and grassy lawn.

At last, with no one in sight, they hurried on downhill. The late afternoon sun was now shining directly on their faces.

As they hopped amongst the shrubs, Molly thought she saw something red dart across the trees; but it was so quick and then she didn’t see it anymore.

Molly Rabbit thought to herself that she must have just imagined seeing something. She didn’t bother to say anything to Webster and Lester. Instead she kept hopping along trying to keep up with them as they made their way to the Allison’s house.

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The Rabbits

The Rabbits cover

Main Characters

  • Webster Rabbit
  • Lester Rabbit
  • Molly Rabbit
  • Mrs. Allison
  • Mr. Allison

Other characters

  • Mr. & Mrs. Rabbit
  • Mr. & Mrs. Patches
  • Emily Patches
  • Mr. Red Fox

Publisher: Meadowcreek Books for All Readers

The Rabbits cover

This fantasy story is set in the beautiful countryside.

Webster Lester and their tween sister Molly Rabbit – who is really a kind girl, likes painting her nails, and babysitting – get into mischief when they decide to go into the Allisons’ yard to play in the grass and snack on the flowers. They get doused with water, chased by dogs and almost snatched up by a group of little league boys. For
the three rabbits, there are new dangers to face every day in the woods.

Aside from trying to avoid getting caught by Mrs. Allison when they go into her garden to play, and trying to avoid getting run over by Mr. Allison’s old lawn mower, the rabbits must look out for Mr. Red Fox!

Life for the rabbits is full of adventure and surprises!”

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Mom Where’s My Doll?

Mom Where's My Doll book cover front top half

Main Characters

  • Freda Fairmont
  • Leslie Merchant Fairmont
  • Sassafras Fairmont

Other characters

  • Mr.Fairmont
  • Indigo Fairmont
  • Maria Fairmont
  • John John Fairmont

Publisher: Meadowcreek Books for All Readers

Mom Where's My Doll book cover

“Mom Where’s My doll?” is a realistic fiction christmas story about a child, Freda, not understanding why from ever since she could remember, she never got a doll from her mother at Christmas or for any other occasion. Her sisters got their Barbie and American girl dolls every Christmas, but no dolls for poor Freda! Being the child who resembles her mom the most, Freda thought she would be the pampered one, though she never wanted to be – her siblings mattered to her more than anything and she would not want them to be treated as second best. But why do her mother’s expectations of her seem to be so demanding by comparison to her siblings’? Why does she expect Freda to solve her own problems no matter how difficult they may be? There seem to be so many unanswered questions about Freda’s mother’s treatment of her. Will there be answers to Freda’s questions and if those answers are revealed will they ease her confusion and her feelings of not being loved? Will she come to understand her mother’s outlook on life? Will she start to see her mother in a new light and be able to forgive her?

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Animal Stowaway


Main Characters

  • Sam Smith
  • Lucy Smith
  • Sara Logan
  • Walt Logan
  • Larry Logan

Other characters

  • Mr. & Mrs. Logain
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • Cousin Harriet

Publisher: Meadowcreek Books for All Readers


The Smiths and the Logans are neighbors who enjoy doing things together. One day they go on a trip to the beach, and Sam and Lucy Smith, along with Sara, Walt and Larry Logan find a strange animal that can turn itself into a ball. They take the animal home and hide it under Sam’s bed. As the days pass the animal becomes harder and harder to hide. It squeaks when it gets hungry so the children have to keep it fed with hamburger meat. Then just when they least need more problems, Sam and Lucy learn that their cousin Harriet is going to be spending a few weeks with them. It’s hard enough to keep their parents from finding out about the animal. Cousin Harriet has a big mouth and likes to get them into trouble. How are they going to prevent her from
finding out about the animal and telling on them?

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