Posted by: nancyisanders | December 16, 2015

NF PB Journey: Support Your Peers

5 stars

Guess what I just did?

I hopped on over to Amazon and posted 5 star reviews for some of my favorite Charlesbridge nonfiction picture book titles.

If you want to write nonfiction for kids, especially if you’re targeting Charlesbridge, I recommend that you do this, too.

There are oodles of reasons why I did this.

First of all, when I read a good book, I like to post a 5 star review. I want to support the author and give a good plug for his or her book. I truly appreciate when people do that for my books, so I like to support my author friends and author peers as well whenever I can.

Secondly, I can’t tell you the number of times when someone posts a 5 star review or a really nice, thoughtful review that I get that review in my e-mail. From my publishing house. Circulating to nearly everyone involved in my book at the publishing house including the marketing team, my editors, the art director, and yes, even the publisher!

So if you’re targeting a certain publisher like we are, and you discover great books that you’ve read, taking the time to post a positive and encouraging review can possibly also help build your name recognition at their publishing house. People in high places do pay attention to these reviews!

And speaking of reviews…I always try to be professional regarding reviews I post. I have a personal philosophy that if I can’t post a 5-star review on it, then in general I won’t post a review at all. Not even a 4-star.

Why not? Because 4-star reviews, believe it or not, lower the ratings of a book. I know tons of reviewers who say they loved the book but then they gave it a 4-star and the ratings dropped. I don’t think they realized what they were doing.

And why won’t I post a less than 5-star review in general?

Here’s why. I used to belong to a writer’s group of professional published writers where we read 40 picture books each month and met to evaluate them. I’ll never forget 2 books in particular that we read and discussed.

One was a picture book I thought was boring. Stupid. Lacking any good qualities at all. But when we got together for our meeting, one of the gals said it was now her daughter’s favorite book and her daughter laughed so hard each time she read it she got the hiccups!

Another book was by an author I loved. But this book fell flat. I felt it was his worst book ever. I felt like he only got it published because the publisher owed him a contract or something. But when we got together for our meeting, one of the gals was in tears as she shared it was now her favorite book ever by this author because it resonated so deeply with her.

What did I learn? I learned that even if I personally dislike a certain book, it doesn’t mean that book deserves to be blasted on a public review site. Someone else may cherish that book.

So that’s why I try to only post reviews of books I love and can give a 5-star review. The rest I leave for others to review.



  1. You make some excellent points about reviews… Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome, Erin. Glad you found these helpful.

  2. Great advice on reviews, Nancy. Thanks!

  3. You are a very gracious person. Thanks for encouraging us to be one also.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Trine. Happy reviewing!

  4. Awesome advice, Nancy. Like my momma always says, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Merry Christmas

    • Great words of advice!!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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