Captive Audience for My Books

Authors love good reviews for their books. But more important are honest reviews, and recently I’ve been getting a lot of these.

I’m a member of an online writers’ initiative, the John 3:16 Marketing Network. One of the best things the group has done – in my opinion – is setting up a writing ministry to prisoners. We donate copies of our novels to a Florida prison, for the inmates to read and critique as part of a writing program. As you might imagine, the reviews are sometimes brutally blunt.

Maria Kannon - Smashwords Cover Jan 2013I have just received the latest batch of half-a-dozen reviews for three of my thrillers.¬†Here is Charles on “The Maria Kannon,” a novel about attacks on a church in Japan:

Overall, the book was an enjoyable read….I would read Roth’s other works.

And Lian, who signed his review “A brother in Christ,” on the same book:

All in all a good read for an evening or weekend. I enjoyed it.

And Keith:

I believe the main point came at the end of the book, how a Christian should forgive and love instead of seeking revenge. I enjoyed the book. It had a good story and action. Also it didn’t drag with many pointless details. It just kept flowing.

Military Orders - Smashwords Cover Jan 2013But Keith was less impressed with “Military Orders,” which features a missionary who becomes involved in a Christian scheme to find the next Dalai Lama:

I did not enjoy this book because of the way it portrayed the one and only God and Christians. Like it was God’s plan to protect the Dalai Lama. Are you serious?…And that Professor Rafa [the book’s hero] is a coward not a hero. Two times he ran to save his life and left the kid with the kidnapper. And just to save his life he offered information on another child that the kidnapper knew nothing about. He risked the life of another child and his family just to save his own. Selfish coward!

Finally – gulp – here is Napier, reviewing “Brother Half Angel,”¬†which is about attacks on an underground Christian seminary in China:

Brother Half Angel - Smashwords Cover Jan 2013The story itself left me well short. The disconnect between Ling and the feelings of those in service with him went on and on ad nauseum. I felt the Westlokes were weakly defined and came across as nagging and henpecked. Jenny’s incessant whining made me want to shut the book. The conflict of good against evil was shallow….The awesome theme and motivation I feel was left flat by a weak plot with no resolution.

I told you these reviews were brutally honest.

But Napier does at least end his critique positively:

I would be interested in reading other “Brother Half Angel” stories. A hero for the faith is always worth reading about.

Amen to that.

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