Reading to Become a Better Writer

Why I Signed up to NetGalley

It may now be all over, but I learned a lot about writing during Stay at Home Fest. And one of the themes that came up time and time again was the importance of reading far and wide to become a better writer yourself. I think pretty much every author I watched mentioned this as one of their own sacred practices, and I’ve only just come to realise how vital it really is.

I’ve always been a big reader, though I have to admit it comes in peaks and troughs. When things are particularly busy at work or home, reading can end up on the back-burner. Fortunately, given all that’s going on with ‘the virus’ right now, my current circumstances allow me to read a lot more than before. And I plan to take advantage of this, and not just because I love it.

Ever since Stay at Home Fest, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and watching of content (via services such as Jericho Writers and Writers’ HQ) about the publishing journey and I realise the importance of reviews, engagement, and enthusiasm from everyone involved in the book. And I want to do my part to help that.

One of the best ways, I realised, is to read new authors’ works and leave reviews, then spread the word to my own network about books I’ve read and loved. I tend to do the second part of that naturally; I’m always going on to my friends about the latest book I’ve read, but I have to admit I’m woefully poor at leaving reviews. So, I’m on a mission to change that.

Aside from making a pledge to leave more reviews for books I have read for my own please, I have also just signed up for NetGalley – a service that publishers and authors use to generate buzz and get reviews for their work ahead of its launch. I’ve signed up, partly because being able to read books pre-release sounds very exciting, but mainly because I want to help support authors in their journey (and also develop my own knowledge and skills as a writer as part of the process).

I’ve also downloaded many of the books from authors I saw speak at Stay at Home Fest, and as well as buying the debut novel by one of my writing group comrades, Nicholas Robinson, called The House of Paris Le Grande (which i just finished and would highly recommend to anyone looking for an uplifting read).

Going forward I’m going to start including reviews on my blog of the various books I’ve read, especially those for new authors who are eagerly looking for feedback and support as they get started. So, if you fall into that category, and you are looking for someone impartial to review your book, please get in touch.

I’m happy to support however I can; if you have a pre-publication version you’d like someone to take a look at I’d be honoured to be involved. If you’ve just launched and you’d like a genuine review on Amazon (and a hearty recommendation to my writer/reader friends if I really do love it) then send me a link.

For any books I review I will include a review on this blog, and a link to the book (depending on whether it’s published or not) to help other people find it.

I’m coming to realise that community and being willing to support, rather than compete with one another is key to helping more authors get their amazing work out into the world, and I’m really excited to be part of it – and I hope you’ll join me.

So, watch this space – the first review will be of The House of Paris le Grande by Nicholas Robinson.

(Please note: depending on demand there may be a waiting period for me to read and review your book. I’ll aim to let you know the estimated timeline when you send an enquiry. Where feasible, I’d be grateful for links to your book during any promotional periods – I’m more than happy to pay for books to support new authors, but due to the current situation, I do have to be cautious with spending.)

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