How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend, Part 3: Reviews

This post is third in a series on how you can support your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click here for Part One and Part Two.

Now it’s time to really show your Starving-Artist-Friend what you think of him. He’s made is first book (album/portfolio/….) and is trying to sell it. What do you do?

You’re the first in line, of course. Yes, you do need to shell out some of your hard-earned cash. Here is where you show what you think of his work. Do you buy one and put it on your shelf? Or do you buy several and give them as gifts throughout the year? Do you read the book then put it up? Or do you take the time to write a review?

And in that last point you can have a great impact. Your Starving-Artist-Friend’s baby is out there struggling for attention in the sea of so many other babies. And you can help point people his way.

This post is specifically about reviewing books, because that’s what this Starving-Artist knows. If your Starving-Artist-Friend produces a different type of art, check with him for industry-specific recommendations.

So, you bought the book. You read the book. In one sitting. Because you couldn’t put it down. You tell your Starving-Artist-Friend how wonderful his book is. End of story. Right? Wrong.

Now you need to hop over to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble), find the book and write a review – but it can’t be just any review – it has to be a good one. Stop! Don’t run away! I’m not talking about your 8th grade book report. This piece will have life and vitality and will encourage others to invest in your Starving-Artist-Friend’s work, also. Here are some thoughts to help you get started.

  • Give a brief synopsis. And I mean brief. Don’t spoil the plot twist. Just introduce the main character(s) and tell what problem they need to solve. This section will probably be 3-5 sentences.
  • Tell something you like about the book. Does it draw you in? Is there a character you particularly relate to? Does one of the characters remind you of someone you know and love (or hate)? Is the author’s writing style friendly/confident/sassy? But, again, don’t give away the plot.
  • Tell something you don’t like about the book. Yes, do it. It won’t turn people away. It will lend an air of authenticity to your review. And you want to write a review people will trust. So don’t be afraid to share a minor flaw.
  • Who would enjoy this book? Children? Dragon-lovers? Business people? Fans of that popular British show with the time machine disguised as a police box?
  • DO NOT tell how you used to wipe the author’s nose or that you love to go out with him Friday nights. As far as the review is concerned, you do not know the author. Stating that you do is one of the best ways to have your review removed and that won’t help your Starving-Artist-Friend at all.
  • And while you’re at Amazon, read the other reviews. Do you see those that have the disclaimer that they received a review copy? Your Starving-Artist-Friend sent them a free copy of the book so they could write the review. They are another breed of Starving-Artist. They love to hang out on Amazon and write reviews. All they get in return is free stuff to review and a pat on the back (or a like). So let them know you are thankful for taking the time to review your Starving-Artist-Friend’s book by liking their review. It takes half a second and it helps everyone involved.

One more word about Amazon: Amazon’s magic number is somewhere around 50. Yes, that’s right five-zero. Your Starving-Artist-Friend needs 50 reviews of his book in order for it to start working its way into the search hits. Fifty. He’s not going to reach that goal without you. So, when he starts asking on Facebook for people to review his book, do it. And comment that you did (remember, your comment will help boost his post). Then encourage all your other friends to do the same. Don’t just share the post; tag them in it. Then, when you see them in person, ask them if they did and explain to them how important it is that your Starving-Artist-Friend gets reviews.

Your homework: Put what you’ve learned today into practice. Now through April 26, 2016 I have reduced the electronic version of Our Stories: Tales of the Bible’s Extras to only $2.25! That’s 1/2 of the regular price. So, hurry over there, buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. And then… review it.

Our Stories: Tales of the Bible’s Extras is available from Amazon (in print or for Kindle) or from Barnes and Noble for Nook.

Thank you from your Starving-Artist-Friend.

How to Help Your Starving-Artist-Friend, Part 2: Live Events

This is the second of a series on helping your Starving-Artist-Friend. Click here for part one.

So, you’ve joined all your Starving-Artist-Friend’s social media outlets and are enjoying getting to know your friend’s artist brain. You’re finding lots of wonderful things to comment on and repost. And you’re ready to take the next step. What is that? Your friend will probably tell you.

Your phone bings, indicating someone you are following is twittering. It’s your Starving-Artist-Friend excited that she’s been invited to share at the poetry slam (concert/author night/art display…) downtown. You check your schedule and see you have nothing going on that day so you pencil it in, lightly write the event in bold letters across the calendar, then put sticky notes all over your house so you don’t forget. You wouldn’t miss this time for the world.

A couple weeks before the evening, you create an event on Facebook (or share the one your Starving-Artist-Friend created) and invite all your friends, telling them how great her work is and how amazing the night is going to be.
You know, of course, that fewer than half the people who say they are going to go to an event actually do, so you personally touch base with some other friends and make plans to make a night of it.

You all show up and are amazed at how your Starving-Artist-Friend transforms from a quiet wallflower into a confident beast when sharing her heart. The manager of the establishment is amazed at the crowd your Starving-Artist-Friend drew and the level of her artistry and asks her to come back. You are moved to tears, thinking you thought about missing this evening and are so glad you didn’t.

You walk away wondering how else you can help your Starving-Artist-Friend. Alas, you have to wait until next time to find out. So, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss it. (Edit: Click here to read Part 3 and find out.)