Tag Archives: writers

Bad review, bad person?

There is a discussion going on in one of the groups I belong to and my opinion on the subject seems quite different than that of many others participating. I have responded there several times, but I felt that it would be best if I moved my opinion off the group, so I wouldn’t just be keeping the argument going. The topic of discussion is whether or not 1 or 2 star reviews should be posted publicly, especially by other authors.

3-Star review

Many say no, because it is mean and humiliating. Okay, but my question is, if an author doesn’t want people to review their books honestly, should we really be worried about their feelings getting hurt? Of course we should, but there is the whole point that when you put yourself and your work out in the public and ask people what they think, you had better have thick enough skin to accept all the answers. It is unrealistic to think everyone will like your book.

I have been criticized repeatedly over the years for a 1-star review I posted of THE LOVELY BONES. Okay, I posted the review publicly so everyone has a right to point out their agreement or disagreement. So be it. Does it make me a bad person because I did not like this book and said so publicly? I didn’t rag on the author, I was not malicious or hurtful. I was honest in my opinion.

My review of The Lovely Bones

I have to admit to reading this book because of all the fuss. Everyone raved about how wonderful it was and so beautifully written, etc. I was very disappointed.

I found the voice of the main character to be contrived and out of character. I hated hearing the story being told by a child in an adult voice. It took away a lot of the emotional impact for me.

I think this could have been much better.

I think it is quite to the point and professional. No one has to like it, it is my opinion.

2-Star Review

Why would you bother to post a review of a book you read and then not be honest? The point of reviews is to help other readers have a better knowledge of what that book is about and what other readers think of it. What happens to the industry if everyone who reads a book either posts a positive review or no review at all, even if they did not like the book and had solid reasons for the dislike? The industry would become a shallow popularity contest…oh wait, it already has. I am furious when I buy a book that has gotten 25 5-star reviews claiming it to be the best book ever and then when I read it I discover that it is poorly edited, poorly constructed, dipping with multitudes of plotholes, and just plain bad. I feel cheated and mislead by each and every person who failed to point out even one of the problems. Now, I am the first to agree that even a poorly written book can be exciting and engaging, I have read many.  I simply tell fellow readers how much I loved the story, but to be prepared for lots of editorial issues. Honest, not cruel. But I certainly would not give it a 5-star review, even if I knew the author.

Bottom line is, a review is intended to serve a specific purpose, if the reviewers cannot be honest, then why bother, it just makes things icky for the rest of us.

One last note. This is for all you authors out there. If you are not willing to give an honest review and STAND BEHIND IT (this means posting it, whether good or bad) then do us all a favor and don’t review books by friends and other authors you know. This is just my personal request/opinion.

I would love to know what you all think of this, whether you agree with me or not. Please don’t hesitate to share your comments, this is a no judgment zone.

I Just Wanna Write

Okay, I am having one of those weeks. If you know me, you know that I am a bit of and overachiever. Have been my whole life. I tend to take on way more than I can handle and then stress out about not getting it done when it needs to be done. I know this, I admit this, and I apologize for this.

I am currently working on several projects that need to be done last week. I am editing three books, four short stories, and an anthology. Am I complaining? No, no, no. I love what I do and can only imagine doing one other thing.

I miss writing horribly. My husband says I need to spend half of my day working for others and half of the day writing and promoting my own books. I simply can’t do this. I have responsibilities and my personal pleasure cannot go before them.

Click Cover to Buy at Kindle!

I was recently accused of focusing too much on my personal writing career and not enough on my authors. Really? REALLY??? A couple Facebook posts a day is too much? Seriously! I woke up this morning with an idea swimming around in my head that is begging to be written, but I plunked myself down in my chair and began working on edits for a client. I have added the idea to my idea file, though that file now takes up about 2 GB on my hard drive…sigh

Not sure why I needed to put this out here. I guess I just needed the people I am working for to know that I am working for them and once I am done with their projects, I might take some time to write. After all, I do think I am pretty good at it. :)

 

 

 

Dear Lendink

 

I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of how this book business works, but I do know that I am offended on your behalf. Recently, your site was shut down because a group of authors decided you were a pirate. I visited your site. I read your FAQ page. I did some research and as far as I could discover you were doing exactly what you said you were doing.

I did NOT see any signs of a wooden leg, a hook where your hand should be, or a skull and crossbones flag hanging anywhere on your site. Nor did I see an eye patch, though you might have looked quite dashing in an eye patch.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you. Perhaps this is too late, perhaps not. I sincerely appreciate what you were trying to do buy leading readers by the virtual hand to the actual buy pages of the books I write and publish. I am constantly looking for new ways to market our books that do not require more time than I have to give. You did that, willingly, and legally, and you were cast out for your efforts.

::hangs head in shame:: I am sorry that not everyone felt the need to give you the benefit of the doubt and to take the time to figure out that you were acting on behalves and in fact doing us a FAVOR.

I would like to let you know that should you get your site back up and running, you have my permission to LEGALLY promote my books on your site. This goes for anyone who wants to LEGALLY introduce readers to the books of Echelon Press. Don’t steal from me, don’t distribute or lend our books without ensuring that the authors and I are being full compensated within our legal rights. But by all means, if you want to post covers and links to where readers can BUY our books LEGALLY, you have my blessing and my supports.

I am certain I am not the only one angered at your mistreatment. You can find another supporter at the blog of April L. Hamilton. http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Respectfully,

Karen L. Syed

 

 

 

 

Help! I’m a Writer

So often people describe writing as a solitary endeavor. I have never agreed with this. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If a writer’s life is a solitary one, then it is by choice.

By design, writers are surrounded by others who are not only interested in their work, but eager for it. The world is filled with writers who crave support and encouragement. What they do [write] is for the masses. The stories and books are intended to be read and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of readers.

All that said, as writers, we also tend to let our insecurities get the better of us. We make our existence solitary by sequestering ourselves to avoid the shame of rejection. We are, also by design, a neurotic bunch.

In most cases, this does more harm than good. When we shut ourselves off from our peers, we miss out on many opportunities as well as crucial education that can possibly make us better writers and more successful authors.

We constantly hear about the value and importance of critique groups. Of course they have their place, but what about support. This is a whole different can of beans. Support, in my opinion, is far more important than the critique group, because if you don’t feel good about what you do, you probably can’t do it good…well.

Bottom line, before you tuck yourself away in your office, alcove, or other small hidey hole to become the next great American novel, find a few friendly writers you can spend a little time with and get things off your chest. Make sure that you can all talk shop, talk gardening, talk whatever you want, even bitching about the family.

I firmly believe whining is a necessity in life, as long as it has a specific purpose and is done in a specific environment.  :P

The True Beauty of Me and Ashley Judd

Recently, acclaimed actress, author, and all around cool human being, Ashley Judd responded to accusations about her physical condition. Her op-ed piece (you can read it here) has sparked a bit of outrage, but more than anything it may well have started a revolution. IF you haven’t already done so, you will want to read The Conversation. With everything going on in politics these days regarding women and our bodies, the last thing we need is to worry about what others think when we look a little different.

I will admit that I was furious when I read her piece. What right does anyone have to make public speculation about Ashley Judd or anyone? These people spouting lies and starting rumors call themselves journalists, but let’s be real. They are people who have a knack for spinning the ordinary into something outrageous, hurtful, and generally untrue.

The op-ed piece got me to thinking about my role in all this as an author and a publisher. Do I aggravate the situation by writing/publishing books with perfectly formed and wonderfully beautiful characters? Well, I may publish some, but I certainly don’t write them. I make a point to develop each of my characters as real people. You know the type, people with bad hair days, zits, a little bit of extra junk in their trunks, that kind of thing.

Books, especially fiction, have a tendency to paint pictures of things that are way better than real life. That is awesome, fiction is meant to be an adventure, an escape, if you will. But I think it is time we start looking at the entertainment and media venues with a little more responsibility. We cannot blame anyone’s actions on what they read, watch or listen to, but we can, and should recognize that those things do have a significant influence on the decisions we make.

When I opened my mail program this morning, I found my usual lists of Blogs that I subscribe to and read fairly regularly. At the top of the list was the Red, White, and Grew Blog with Pamela Price (who has an awesome Pinterest site.) Pamela has taken the next step in making her voice heard with regard to this issue. Check out her Blog to see what she has to say.

Now, that you’ve read my Blog, Ashley’s Blog, and Pamela’s Blog, I’d love to know how you feel, and what you might have to say about it on YOUR Blog. Now is your chance to be heard. Post your thoughts and comments on your Blog and then pop back over here and leave us a link so we can all read it. And this isn’t just about the women. How far can we spread this? It really does matter.

It’s All Good!

I said I would work my way through, what I consider to be, the most popular of social networking sites. Today I am going to focus on Good Reads.

Because I know there are so many authors out there who abuse social networking sites for book promotion, I am going to remind you all that these are first, and foremost SOCIAL NETWORKING sites. They were designed to get like-minded people together and socializing–see the connection? In this instance, the topic of conversation is books. Woohoo!

So, with that in mind, Good Reads is the perfect place for us to talk about our books. Notice I did not say promote our books. So what the hell is the point? I know that’s most of you are thinking. The point is to promote our books. Whoa baby, confused? Your head spinning? Promote your books; don’t promote your books. ACK!

This is where you get to show how creative you are. Like any social networking site you should be developing those ever-popular relationships with readers on Good Reads. Don’t just sign up and blast all your new friends with snippets and excerpts on your books.

Here are a few suggestions on how to let readers know about your books.

  • Talk to them.
  • See what they are reading and discuss those books
  • Find readers who read in your genre.
  • Find readers who share your interest in topics.
  • Set up a discussion group for yourself and your books.
  • Set up an author page.

All of these things are quite simple, but totally useless if you don’t follow through on them. Do NOT ask a public question and then never respond to those who answer it. You need to converse with them. Interact. I promise it won’t kill you, despite what the media says to the contrary.

Before I go into the direct options for authors, please note how IMPORTANT the interaction with readers is. Don’t just blast people with your books. Let the programs do the work for you while you talk about books with the other readers.

  • Post the books you are reading.
  • Post your reviews when you finish a book.
  • Add books you’d like to read.
  • Randomly look at other peoples pages and comment on their reviews.

The key to interacting is to communicate with others. I know, we are often solitary creatures, but we alone will not make our books best sellers. We need readers to buy our books.

Good Reads Author Program http://www.goodreads.com/author/program

The first thing you should do if you plan to promote your book is to set up your Good Reads Author page. After you have done that, then you can look into all these other things.

Good Reads eBooks http://www.goodreads.com/ebooks

For those of you who only have eBooks, there is a section where you can upload books for giveaway (use your freebies). You can also use this section to put up excerpts for people to read and get a taste of your style.

Good Reads Giveaways http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

You can also do giveaways on Good Reads. You decide for how many copies and for how long people can sign up. I don’t suggest giving away large quantities, but it is a GREAT way to get attention.

Good Reads Events http://www.goodreads.com/event

This is a good one. I am a HUGE fan of events and I think more authors should find ways and places to do them. We don’t need no steenking bookstores to do events. The more unique, the better. But my point here is that Good Reads has a section specifically for posting your events. How cool is that?

Good Reads Self-Serve Advertising http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers/ad_home

Advertising a book has never been so easy, or inexpensive. I am on my second ad and while it was a not a huge success, I know of four books I sold because of the ad and I spent less than $10.00.

MOST IMPORTANT TIP!

Don’t be an asshat on the social networking sites. Don’t go blasting in with your book promotion and expect everyone to give a hoot. They won’t. Subtly goes a long way and since Good Reads gives us so many opportunities to promote our work, the only thing we really need to do is to get to know the readers so they know to go look for our stuff.

You can set up your account to post an update when you post a article on your Blog. You can also make sure that when you post a review it goes up on Facebook and/or Twitter. This gives you a little extra exposure without having to actually go to Facebook and get sucked into the cute kitty pictures.

Promoting through social networking doesn’t have to be hard and certainly doesn’t need to be a time suck. But like anything in life, you will only get back what you put in. Of this you can be sure.

If you can’t take the heat…

Well, my morning started off pretty good, and just took a nosedive into the crapper. What I am about to tell you should not upset me, it should not even matter to me, but it does…for so many reasons.

Yesterday I was directed to a Blog post by a relatively new author who is documenting the marketing journey. I read through the Blog and was impressed with the information the author shared. I did, however, notice a few things that were a little short on info. I took a little while and posted a comment. I did praise the author, but I also suggested a few things that I thought might be helpful, like adding the email contact to the Blog so people could contact the author without having to go through a public comment. I made a few other suggestions, nothing bad, nothing too serious, nothing out of line.

I went back in today to check on the blog and see what was new and I discovered that my post has been deleted. There was no moderation (I’m pretty sure the post went up straight away), it is just gone. The only posts left up are the posts that specifically praise the author. This makes me sad and it leads me to my point.

If you can’t take the heat in the publishing industry stop publishing books. If you don’t want people to post their true thoughts and comments on your Blog, then don’t Blog. I am certain there are things that should be deleted, but a helpful and supportive comment isn’t one of them…especially from a publisher (not just me, ANY publisher.

I am a publisher. I do have things to share, and some of them actually have some value. But I can tell you, after this, I will think long and hard before I share any suggestions or advice with others–even if I think it will help them. My husband often tells me I am too giving with my knowledge and experience and that I should just let people learn things themselves, the hard way, like I did. I am beginning to think he might be right. He says I will help anyone with anything, but when I need help, I always get the cold shoulder. I just tell him it is the way the business works. But today has made me realize that this is not how it should work. You get what you give and quite honestly, I’m kinda tired of giving and not getting anything back.

Killer Cows by D.M. AndersonD.M. Anderson: I want to thank you for your comments this morning on my editing and to let you know how deeply they are appreciated. It makes this new bit of “life” a little easier to get past…in a minute…

You have earned a shameless plug for your book.

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This is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. You should read for yourself!