Christian Speculative Fiction discussion

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Anyone interested in starting our own review group?

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message 1: by Steve (last edited Mar 28, 2018 01:18PM) (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
I’ve found it really interesting in the Share your work here thread to see what other members of this group are writing—and like you I’ve added a number of their books to my TBR shelf. But I’m sure most of our authors are in the same position I am, of needing more reviews—lots more reviews! They may, like me, have signed up with some of the Goodreads groups set up specifically to do mutual reviews of each other's work.

But wouldn’t it be great if we could have something like that within our own group? That would give us the chance to read each other’s books while benefiting our authors at the same time with much-needed reviews.

What's more, these reviews would all be by fellow Christian speculative fiction enthusiasts, thus avoiding low ratings because the reviewer just doesn’t ‘get’ it!

Both authors and readers who have not published a book would be more than welcome to join such a group. It would involve reviewing one book a month over a period of two months—i.e., a total of just 2 reviews. Depending on who and how many join, this would result in either 2 or 4 reviews each for the authors involved—a significant boost for many of us!

If you'd be interested in taking part, do please respond in this thread—and tell us whether you're an author or a reader.

Apart from the benefit to authors, I think this could be a great community-building exercise!


message 2: by Stoney (new)

Stoney deGeyter | 134 comments I would be interested but I suck at writing reviews. If all that is needed is that star review then I can get with that. It would be extremely difficult for me to review more than one book a month. I have a reading list already a mile high, but I can find a way to make room.


message 3: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Thanks for your interest, Stoney. Only one review a month would be fine—that's what we're planning.

It would be necessary to write a review in addition to the star rating—but there won't be any minimum length. If you can briefly state a strong point and a weak point of the book, that plus your star(s) would be fine.

We'd love to have you aboard!


message 4: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
I love this idea! Writing reviews are sometimes hard. I heard one person say that if you can't think of anything else, you can always call the book a great page-turner. After all, you have to turn the page to keep reading. Still, I anticipate that I will greatly enjoy the books we will be reading!


message 5: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Salisbury | 220 comments Mod
I'd love to do this. There are lots of books on the thread Steve mentioned that I'd like to read, and I could certainly do with the reviews for my own.


message 6: by Justin (new)

Justin Coogle | 91 comments I'm a slow reader, but I like this idea. Count me in. Let's be each other's best allies


message 7: by Justin (new)

Justin Coogle | 91 comments And writing a review is real easy. Here is a good format:

1) General Impression - "How did you feel before reading it? How did you feel after? Lasting feelings? (Sad its over, happy its done, bittersweet, etc).

2) Characters - "Favorite one, least favorite, most interesting, most unpredictable, etc"

3) Plot - "Favorite twists, was it generic? Was it unique? Did you enjoy where it went? What would you have done instead?"

4) Themes - "What themes were obvious? What themes did you THINK you felt the author was going for? Favorite themes? Least favorite?"

5) World Building - "Was the universe memorable? Forgettable? What was your favorite part of the world building (weapons, architecture, people, races, societal structure, languages, etc). Would you want to see more? What more are you excited to see?"


message 8: by Stan (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "And writing a review is real easy."

Good recommendations Justin! My own reviews attempt to avoid spoilers. Avoiding those (IMHO), your format is good!


message 9: by Justin (new)

Justin Coogle | 91 comments Stan wrote: "Justin wrote: "And writing a review is real easy."

Good recommendations Justin! My own reviews attempt to avoid spoilers. Avoiding those (IMHO), your format is good!"


You could always just include the tag: "From this point on - Spoilers", but ya, you can modify it as you see fit


message 10: by M.H. (new)

M.H. Elrich (mhelrichbooks) | 76 comments I would love to do this, especially for free Christian fantasy!


message 11: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
It's great to see the interest building! A few more and we can start—but let's allow time for others to join after Easter. (I set the start date as 9th April in the Challenge announcement on the home page; but that's flexible.)


message 12: by M.H. (last edited Mar 30, 2018 09:05PM) (new)

M.H. Elrich (mhelrichbooks) | 76 comments Sounds good. I publish reviews on my blog, mhelrich.WordPress.com
I use a similar format to that above, with a summary of my overall impression for people who want a quick read and then a break down of characters, plot and setting (if applicable).


message 13: by Peter (new)

Peter Younghusband (peteryounghusband) | 66 comments I have a review blog but a long list of reviews to complete, so reviewing books from here would set my review schedule back so I would have to decline from this. I still have Justin Coogle’s novel to review!


message 14: by Justin (new)

Justin Coogle | 91 comments And I'm greatly looking forward to it Peter!

This guy is an absolute machine though. I don't think I've met anyone who reads as much as Mr. Younghusband. He is truly one the greatest advocates for Christian Spec Fic writers.


message 15: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Sorry not to have you in our review group this time, Peter, but it sounds like you're already doing a great deal to benefit the CSF cause!


message 16: by Peter (new)

Peter Younghusband (peteryounghusband) | 66 comments Thanks, Justin and Steve for this affirmation! I will follow this group and I am sure I will pick up some great books to add to my library!


message 17: by Cassie (new)

Cassie | 6 comments I would love to be involved in this! I am a reader and have been reviewing books for years.


message 18: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Delighted to have you, Cassie!


message 19: by Brannon (new)

Brannon Hollingsworth (brannon_hollingsworth) | 18 comments I'd love to make connections with potential reviewers! All of my books are (for the most part) Speculative Christian fiction. :)

Also, for the folks who don't like writing reviews, what about posting video reviews on Youtube? Would that be possible?


message 20: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Hi Brannon, and welcome! Thanks for your great idea about video reviews—we'll have to see if we can do that. (It's not something I know much about, but if you fill us in on the ways and means we can maybe offer it in a future review round to encourage more reviewers to join in.)

Our basic idea with the review group is to follow the pattern of other review groups in Goodreads, pairing the participants so that everyone reviews a couple of others in the group, but no two people review each other. This means the reviewers won't just be potential—it will be a commitment each member of the group makes. Depending on the number and type of participants (authors or readers) this could result in 2 to 4 guaranteed reviews for each book over two rounds—with the rounds lasting a month each.

That's the setup we're envisaging. Sound good to you?


message 21: by Glen (new)

Glen Robinson (glenchen) | 144 comments Count me in as well.


message 22: by Glen (new)

Glen Robinson (glenchen) | 144 comments Are we just posting reviews here on Goodreads, or are we posting them on Amazon as well? And I regularly post reviews on my blog, so I will be glad to include that location as well.


message 23: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Great, welcome Glen!

The idea would be to post all reviews on both amazon.com and amazon.co.uk as well as Goodreads. And we'd be very happy to have the reviews posted on your blog as well! Thank you for that offer.

Am I understanding right that this means you'd be joining as a reader, rather than an author?


message 24: by Sean (new)

Sean Elliot Russell | 321 comments Mod
Definitely interested--in both giving reviews and in submitting my books for possible review too. :) Would be grateful for such feedback. -Sean


message 25: by Sean (new)

Sean Elliot Russell | 321 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "And writing a review is real easy. Here is a good format:

1) General Impression - "How did you feel before reading it? How did you feel after? Lasting feelings? (Sad its over, happy its done, bitt..."


Really like what you wrote, Justin. It's informative and interesting. Thank you!


message 26: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Very happy to have you aboard, Glen!


message 27: by Glen (new)

Glen Robinson (glenchen) | 144 comments Actually, I was under the impression that authors also served as readers. I have plenty of books for feedback, but I am also willing to review other people's work, albeit that I always give an honest review, warts and all. Can one serve as both a reader and an author? Is that possible?


message 28: by Justin (new)

Justin Coogle | 91 comments So we select the first books to be reviewed April 9th right? And how are those books going to be decided? We gonna just use a random generator online or something? Or is there a selection process? Just curious


message 29: by Justin (new)

Justin Coogle | 91 comments Glen wrote: "Actually, I was under the impression that authors also served as readers. I have plenty of books for feedback, but I am also willing to review other people's work, albeit that I always give an hone..."

Oh yes of course. It is encouraged to both offer your work and to review others. That is kind of the nature of these kind of groups.


message 30: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Yes, certainly, all the authors involved will be reviewing other authors' books. But we also wanted to include non-authors among our members who would enjoy reading what fellow-members of this group have written. So the readers will also read the books up for review. This poses an interesting little organisational puzzle to make sure no two people review each other, and that all authors come out at the end with the same number of reviews. That's what I'll be dealing with next week!


message 31: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Wachter | 333 comments Hi Everyone,
I'm C. S. Wachter and I just released my first book in February. The Sorcerer's Bane is Christian Epic Fantasy and book one of a four-book series called The Seven Words.

As a reader I have posted reviews on Amazon and Goodreads in the past and now I'm quite excited to participate as an author.

Just to let you know, all four books of the series are written. The Light Arises--book two of The Seven Words is currently with my editor and the cover is in process. I plan to release it in June. The Deceit of Darkness (book three) should release in the fall with The Light Unbound (book four) following in November/December. In addition to editing, I'm currently working on the sequel and plan to release that in early 2019.


message 32: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "So we select the first books to be reviewed April 9th right? And how are those books going to be decided? We gonna just use a random generator online or something? Or is there a selection process? ..."

I'll be following the pattern of some of the large review groups in Goodreads, first of all pairing authors so that no two review each other; and then pairing readers (non-authors) with authors to be reviewed.

For this to work easily we'll need (1) an even number of authors; and (2) either the same number of non-authors, or half the number. The chances are it won't be that easy! But I'll do all I can to make it work with the people we have.

It'll be an interesting exercise. More details next week!


message 33: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
C.S. wrote: "Hi Everyone,
I'm C. S. Wachter and I just released my first book in February. The Sorcerer's Bane is Christian Epic Fantasy and book one of a four-book series called The Seven Words. As a reader ..."


Welcome, C.S. Sounds like a great series—we'll look forward to reading and reviewing it!


message 34: by Guy (new)

Guy L. Pace | 25 comments Yes, add me in. I’ll read and review as best I can.

Add my three books to the list, as well.


message 35: by Ann (new)

Ann | 50 comments Thanks for the invite. I would enjoy reviewing these books, however, until June, I have quite a few demands for my time. I just don't want to have pressure to get a book read in a certain amount of time. But I will try to do my best. Maybe I can catch up in the summer (I'm a teacher) Would love to help!
Ann


message 36: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Guy wrote: "Yes, add me in. I’ll read and review as best I can.

Add my three books to the list, as well."


Welcome, Guy! Glad to have you with us.

I'll be saying more about this later on, but the way these review groups work is that each author submits one book per session, which receives between 2 and 4 reviews from the other participants (depending on how many are taking part). So feel free to submit your first book for this session when the time comes, and then in future sessions we trust there will be opportunity for you to submit the others.

Thanks for taking part!


message 37: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Ann wrote: "Thanks for the invite. I would enjoy reviewing these books, however, until June, I have quite a few demands for my time. I just don't want to have pressure to get a book read in a certain amount of time..."

Thanks for your willingness to join in, Ann! I'd be particularly glad to have you from the organizational standpoint, as we're a little short on readers (as opposed to authors).

I fully understand what you're saying about time pressure. Could you manage one review per month? That's all we'd be asking—a total of 2 reviews over 2 months.

Maybe you could send me a personal message if you'd like to discuss it further—but we do hope you can manage it!


message 38: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Wachter | 333 comments Just wanted to add. Though I indicated I was here as an author, I'm excited to be participate as a reviewer as well. I've been a reader a lot longer than a writer. :-)


message 39: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Wachter | 333 comments Okay, okay ... I'll get there. Here's The Sorcerer's Bane. The Sorcerer's Bane (The Seven Words Book 1) by C.S. Wachter


message 40: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
We'll be very happy to have you as both, C.S.!

Thanks for the book link. We'll definitely need that. I'll soon be opening a new private thread just for those taking part, where I'll be asking authors to post their book links—maybe you wouldn't mind repeating the link there.


message 41: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Wachter | 333 comments I can do that. Thanks


message 42: by Steve (last edited Apr 04, 2018 02:51PM) (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
OK folks, this is quite an important announcement!

While corresponding with people who replied to my recent general message, I've realised that some are thinking of this review group as a 'review and discussion' thread: i.e., that we would review our members' books and then discuss them. I'm afraid that's not the case! I hope this doesn't come as a disappointment.

The idea behind this review group is the same as that found in other long-established review groups in GR: i.e., the focus is simply on reviewing one another's books, not on discussing them.

I will soon be starting a private review thread where we will first get organised: I will assign each participant a book to review (one for each of the two monthly rounds), and they will then go ahead and read the books and write their reviews. When a review is completed they will post it on Goodreads and also on Amazon (.com and .co.uk); and they will then post the 3 review links to our private review thread here so that we can all see the review has been done. When all reviews for both rounds are completed, the session is finished.

So the only discussion in the private review thread will be about practical matters such as getting review copies to fellow-participants, possible difficulties posting reviews to Amazon, and so on.

That may sound boring, but it's the most practical way to ensure that our authors do get their reviews within a reasonable time frame. I hope that makes sense. Of course there's nothing to stop anyone from starting a discussion in a different thread on a particularly interesting book they've reviewed—that would be great.

I do hope this hasn't come as a disillusionment to any who've already joined! But if you do feel that what I've just described isn't what you signed up for… well, we'll be sorry to lose you, but just let me know.


message 43: by C.S. (new)

C.S. Wachter | 333 comments I'm on board with this. It's about what I expected. Thanks for the clarification. I look forward to getting started.


message 44: by Justin (new)

Justin Coogle | 91 comments With that being said, there is no reason why we can't start another discussion thread for actual discussion of each other's novels


message 45: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "With that being said, there is no reason why we can't start another discussion thread for actual discussion of each other's novels"

No reason at all! I would suggest, though, that that might better come after we've done the actual reviews.


message 46: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Sean wrote: "Definitely interested--in both giving reviews and in submitting my books for possible review too. :) Would be grateful for such feedback. -Sean"

Sean, a very warm welcome to the group. Apologies that I somehow missed you in the exchanges earlier on!


message 47: by RC (new)

RC Curtis | 4 comments I love this idea. Good Christian spec fic can be hard to find. I'd be willing to read a few and give reviews to help others find books that are worth their time. I've picked up many books based on good reviews and I've rarely been disappointed.


message 48: by Steve (new)

Steve Pillinger | 514 comments Mod
Fantastic, thanks RC! It's great to to have you aboard.


message 49: by Rondi (new)

Rondi Olson | 10 comments I would love to join! Author and reader. :)


message 50: by Stoney (new)

Stoney deGeyter | 134 comments I'm in as a reader. My only concern is getting books to readers that fall within their interest area. No sense having someone review a book they are bound not to enjoy strictly from the sub-genre perspective.


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