Tomorrow is the official release date for Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, even though it seems to be in bookstores already and is available at online bookstores. The ebook version will be released tomorrow (Kindle owners take note!)

It is impossible to know for certain if your book “works” until comments appear, so I’ve been biting my nails a bit in anticipation of the feedback that comes with reader comments and reviews.

I’ve been so lucky that both Judy and Keira gave me mini-reviews in their comments to my blog last Monday. I almost breathed a sigh of relief reading what they had to say. And Judy wrote a lovely review on Amazon, which was very nice of her to do.

Early on I received a 4 star review from RT Book Reviews; that’s always a pleasure.

And yesterday a new review appeared on CataRomance. Debby Guyette calls it “one captivating book.” Yay!!!

But not all is rosy. Two reader reviewers on Amazon gave the book 3 stars, which is disappointing, because one hopes everyone loves the book, even if that is impossible. At least these readers explained their reasoning and listed both positives and negatives, which I appreciate.

Many of my author friends say not to read reviews, not to pay any attention to them. And it is true that I can quote the less enthusiastic lines from my very first and only Publishers Weekly review of The Improper Wife, but I also remember the PW reviewer thought I wrote “sizzling love scenes.” The way I figure it, if I didn’t look for reviews, I wouldn’t see the positive ones, and I wouldn’t know if my book “worked” for anyone.

There is also debate among my friends as to how much people pay attention to reviews. I personally think that they do influence whether or not a person buys a book. I have to admit that I read Amazon reviews before buying a book, unless I know the author or have read something else by that author. I try to assess whether the reviewer has an agenda behind a low review, though. You can mostly tell. And I’m not usually purchasing Romance books when I look at Amazon reviews. I also read RT reviews but typically to see how they’ve assessed friends’ books, not to develop a reading list.

Of course, I no longer feel I’m a typical reader, so it is hard to say how much reviews would affect my book buying habits if I were. Before I was writing in earnest there weren’t as many reviews online and I mostly went on reading “kicks.” Reading all the Dick Francis books at one point; all the Victoria Holt, Bernard Cornwell, Georgette Heyer, Lois McMaster Bujold, any traditional Regency I could find. A book from the Washington Post Book World might have captured my attention, but mostly my choices seemed pretty random or began with a friend’s recommendation.

How do you select a book?

How do reviews influence you? (I’m assuming they do)

Dec 2 I’m blogging with Romance Bandits and giving away a copy of Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady

Dec 6 I’ll be here at Risky Regencies, also giving away a copy.

Check my website for the complete schedule.