How I Decide If I Want To Read A Book

We all have our personal approaches. Pre-purchase I read Amazon book “samples” because I believe that is the best way to decide if a book is, frankly, going to be my taste. Others declaring online that a book is “great” and “fantastic” and “⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️” – I’m sorry, but very few books are actually honestly “5 STARS!” – is over the top praise to which I pay little attention; there is so much “gameplaying” by friends and family of some writers that online reviews are not all that, I believe, trustworthy.

[Selfie, December 9, 2019.]

Due to seeing it “boosted” by the writer on Twitter, the other day I read that writer’s book’s Amazon Kindle free sample. An immediate “caution flag” to me was a pretty obvious typo on the first page, as well as several others that followed pretty closely after that initial one. A typo can happen of course and that’s not a big deal for me (my books may not be perfect, and we see typos even in books put out by MAJOR publishers – because nothing is perfect in life); but several within a page or two becomes a trend. Even forgiving those, and its “rave” Twitter and Amazon “reviews” notwithstanding, based on the book’s sample I did read it was pretty clear it was not going to be my sort of a tale and perhaps – in my private opinion – not a particularly well-written one either.

S/he has thousands of followers. (I was not, and I am not, one.)

Then there is also this sort of tweeting thing:

That is an example of a truly “⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️” book, but I have no idea what the point to a review of it here might be. Orwell’s Animal Farm is approaching 75 years old and is not exactly an obscure novella. It has been dissected by literary and other scholars since 1945 and is written about already all over the net; it hardly needs a tweeted “review” from an ordinary person in 2019 who declares it a “#mustread.”

That tweeter also has over 25,000 followers and I’m one of them; and yet notice how little reaction – meaning comments, likes, and retweets – that tweet has generated. I can’t be alone. Seeing tweets that provide me little “value” – meaning entertainment, real insights and new knowledge, or a prompt to a conversation – but only basically clutter my timeline, irritates me. I also lose patience when I find myself seeing repetitive sp*m-like self-promotion. I find that on Twitter I keep muting people.

That has also long been why I rarely post on here more than 3 or 4 times a week: it is to avoid “annoying” followers. I know many of you get email “new post” notifications; as one who does for many others myself, I dislike a stream of emails merely, it often seems, for a bunch of short or “weak” posts by a single blogger that really should be fewer in number and of better quality. A blog post now, I feel, should be like a “magazine” article. Blogging was once an “hourly” thing of a few lines perhaps, but is no more; “microblogging” is why we have Twitter now.

[The Little Wife, by Delphine Woods. Photo by me, December 9, 2019.]

I rejoined Twitter in August because it intrigued me in terms of possibly helping me locate new writers. I like to read serious ones who don’t have thousands of “phantom” (or perhaps bought) followers and are sincerely blogging/tweeting about how they are tackling the craft; but managing to find them is not easy amidst all of the wasteful filler and self-absorbed cacophony – such as that above as well as dopey observations tweeted or retweeted as constituting profound writing advice. One I have found is Sara Scott, who is writing a detectives’ novel (that is also LGBT, but that is beside the point) and on her blog she is describing her authoring process and struggles.

So I pay almost no attention to tweeted and similar online “reviews.” There was a time I considered Amazon’s samples to be perhaps giving away rather “too much” of my own books’ stories for free; but I know now extended samples may be absolutely vital to us as potential buyers because there is so much out there and it is too easy to be duped into purchasing a book we don’t really want to read or which may even be, uh, junk. We all need to find useful ways to be discerning as to what we buy.

What I write is often write right before readers’ eyes. As you know if you visit here regularly, I post excerpts from my novels – usually within a broader blogging topic context. If a visitor is interested and wants to see more, thanks to Amazon’s samples it is easy to read more than I post on here. Below are the samples from three of my five (thus far) novels. My first, published in 2013, is the first of three set in the 1990s – a “new adult” travel/romance series:

My fourth novel, published in 2017, is a (mostly) late-1700s set historical romantic fiction “extravaganza” in which some may assert I have lost my mind:

My fifth, released just a few weeks ago, is a stand alone follow up to that 2017 predecessor – another historical romantic fiction massive novel, this one set (mostly) again in the late 1700s moving into the early 1800s and some may assert I have with this one REALLY SERIOUSLY ABSOLUTELY lost my mind:

So, there they are. If you write, there is only what you write and what readers think of it. There may be tweets and Instagrams and other social media and other “smoke,” but for an author ultimately there is nowhere to hide:

[Excerpt from Tomorrow The Grace, Copyright, 2019. On Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

It is all about the book(s). There is indeed, uh, no escape. And because you read my blog, there immediately above you even get a sample yet again that is not available on Amazon. LOL!

And have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂


  1. That’s it, dear Robert! A great shot of a great writer! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Now, serious: I dislike Amazon’s reviews as they deceive. I have already had a negative experience with books. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to Amazon yet. Have a nice week ahead!

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