Reading The Reviews of YOUR Book

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Photo Credit: Care and Cost

Okay guys, I’d say that more than 95% of all the writers I’ve come across on WordPress are either unpublished, self-published, or published via vanity press that accepts “submissions.” I have come across very few writers, if any, who are traditionally published. So all these writers I’m talking about likely face the same problem…getting people to review their books. Let’s discuss.

So you wrote this fantastic book that you’ve been working on for the past two years. You have your little blog set up so that you can tell the world about your release day. You wake up bright and early just to check to see if the Amazon page has updated to show your book as available rather than for pre-order. You write an excited blog post for all of your 82 followers to hopefully see and perhaps even read. You get some congratulatory comments from people you’ve never met who say that they’ll check it out. You become even more excited than you already were. Then you turn to your other social media platforms and tweet or post a status update about your book telling all of your friends and family to buy and review it for you. More congratulatory remarks. But then you check your KDP account and see one sale. You’re thinking of all the people who may have read your blog post or tweets or status update and can’t believe that a few more people didn’t just buy the damn thing for two bucks. So you figure people are just waiting a little while. You check each day for the next week and see a couple of new sales that you attribute to your parents and your siblings. Then a week has passed since your release day and still no reviews.

This is when the reality sets in. This is hard. You try your best not to spam every person you know, but you can’t help it. You NEED to know what people are thinking about your work. And then out of nowhere, a review! You read it all the way through and see that most of the points raised in the review are valid. But it’s only three stars. You figure it’s better than one or two, right? Then another review comes in raising the exact same points as the first, but this time it’s only two stars. Now you’re worrying that everyone hates your work. The first dozen reviews all say the same thing. You did this, left this question unanswered, didn’t let a character develop, blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter. If everyone is seeing the same thing, then it must be true. This is when you stop checking for new reviews altogether. They all say the same thing anyway.

That’s my little hypothetical about what I think some writers experience when it comes to reviews of their book. I’ll be honest, I think I’ve read every review of my book on Amazon. I know I have. Some were nice and others were brutal, but I wasn’t sitting on my bed crying myself to sleep because I got a one star review. Nope. I can’t really tell you why I read them, but I did. I almost feel foolish admitting that because imagine if JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins or John Green read the reviews of their books. Ha.

Tell me about your experience with the reviews of your book. Have you read them? Ignored them? Maybe a mix of the two?

Fact or Fiction?

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Last week I think this was one of those daily prompts on here because I saw a number of posts about this particular question that got me thinking. Do I prefer reading fiction over non-fiction or is it the other way around?

Some of the posts I read through took hundreds of words to tell the reader why they liked one or the other or both. I won’t be doing that because it is a very easy question for me to answer. I prefer fiction. And I always will. Why? Because there’s a certain mystery to all fictional stories. A good book will always have you wondering what happens next, right? That quality is absent once you get to reading non-fiction. I own a handful of non-fiction books, literally five, and I know the basic story before I ever start reading. Anne Frank. BTK.¬†Lone Survivor. These are all great books. They’re well written and informative, but reading them just isn’t the same as reading a fictional story. At least not for me.

So tell me, fact or fiction?

BTK to Help Write Book

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First off, do you have any idea who BTK is? I would say most people wouldn’t. But I do. And I have for a long time. He’s a serial killer from Kansas who killed ten people between 1974 and 1991. I wrote about him during my time as an undergrad. His real name is Dennis Rader and he was apprehended by police in 2005 only after he began exchanging letters with them. Many around Wichita, Kansas had believed him to be dead or gone after more than a decade of silence.

Anyway, now Rader is helping Katherine Ramsland write a book about his crimes. And I have an issue with this. I get that high profile criminals always get books written about them. It happens. I’m sure if I do a quick Amazon search of all the serial killers I know that there will be several books about each and every one. BUT my issue is that this author is basically co-writing it with Rader. I just don’t see the point. When he was arrested he plead guilty to all ten charges and recounted in detail every murder he committed. He was subsequently sentenced to ten consecutive life sentences. There are several other books about him already published that may or may not have been written with his assistance, but they too tell the story of his crimes. In great detail. I don’t know the relationship the author maintains with anyone in Wichita, but there are plenty of individuals who know every aspect of the killings who didn’t actually commit them. I just think she could write a book about the crimes by using police interviews, court testimony, and by using the books that have already been written as reference material. But that’s just me.

Do you have any thoughts? About a serial killer who already has notoriety and several books written about him having another one in which he gets to actively contribute?

One of the reasons I have an issue with him helping with the project is the complete lack of remorse he’s displayed. If you just YouTube search his name you can find video of him in court recounting his crimes. It’s disturbing how he does so almost conversationally.

The Books That Have Stayed With…Everyone

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This is sort of an update post to my first post about this topic. Back then I mentioned that I could only come up with one or two books that have stayed with me rather than the usual ten people list out. But recently Facebook released data from another six countries and there’s a clear take away from their data: The stories of Harry, Ron, and Hermione are universal. And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking to yourself the billions of dollars that the movies brought in at the box office. True. But when this meme got started I definitely figured JK Rowling would lead the way in the US and UK. But also in France, India, Italy, the Philippines, Brazil, and Mexico too? (Facebook only surveyed English status updates in India and the Philippines)

This just tells me that Potter is one of those characters that’ll be remembered and related to for decades to come. Not because the books are the greatest books ever written, but more likely because the books appear to have readers all over the world who appreciate their message.

The Harry Potter series ranked number one in France, India, Italy, the Philippines, Brazil, and number three in Mexico. What do you think about that?

You can see the full lists for each country here.

Characters in Their Free Time

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Photo Credit: The Best News

I don’t know about you, but my characters tend to have a little bit of free time during the course of their stories. In my experience reading PI novels sometimes all one can do is wait and see what happens. And I’d have to say that that’s also the case in most stories. I mean, Harry Potter has plenty of free time in his stories, right? And if a boy wizard who has Voldemort after him can have free time, then so can your characters.

Now let’s see. In my first book I had my characters go for a run, watch sports on TV, watch the news on TV, lay out by the pool, read, and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head at two in the morning as I write this. To me, that sounds pretty normal. For them to be doing things that you’d expect any typical person to be doing at a given time. But your character probably also has hobbies. See, that’s the thing. I’m NOT only talking hobbies here, I’m talking what is actually described in the text. Sure it’s nice that your character likes long walks on the beach at sunset, but that’s not the discussion we’re having. I’m talking about actions.

So tell me, what do you have your characters do during their free time during their stories?

Oh, Andrew also enjoyed a nap and had a quick gym session in my book.

Why do you Read? (poem)

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Why do you Read?

Do you read to live
In different shoes
That can be just as real
As those you didn’t choose

Do you read to escape
And just leave
All that you know
So that you can breathe

Do you read to learn
And to see
What life was like
before thee

Why do I read
I thought you’d ask
It’s quite simple
I read, because I can


This poem was mostly inspired by the responses I received on my post Why do you Read?.

Photo Credit: Theater Seat Store

 

Sex Sells, But Do you Want to Read it?

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Anyone who has read my blog for any decent length of time can answer this for me without a moment’s hesitation. No. I don’t want to read it. And I’m going to tell you why.

Another thing that anyone who has frequented my blog can likely tell you is that I read crime fiction. I read it all the time. And a huge chunk of my books fall within the genre. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that annoys me more than reading a good mystery and then for no reason at all…sex. I’m not saying I hate characters with a love interest because if you look at my one and only book my character’s love interest plays a significant role in the story, but I just don’t see the point sometimes. All the time. The one thing I will say is that the author typically gets it over with within a page or two and the scene is not explicit. All that means is that the agitation is kept to a minimum.

One other thing that really gets me is when an author has that one token sex scene in the middle of their crime novel. Like why? I can think of two of my favorite characters who have a new love interest in almost every book. And with every new love interest comes sex. This may be what it’s like in the real world, but do you really expect me to think that a man in his sixties is getting all the ladies? No. I won’t mention the author by name.

I’m only talking about crime fiction because that’s what I typically read. If I read YA or any other genre my feelings about this would be exactly the same. I mean, I have to be honest. Why not just go have sex? Or even watch it? Honestly.

Against my better judgement, I’m going to end my post with a question like always. Do you read books that you know are sexually explicit?

PS: My question is a yes or no answer. The last thing I want is you telling me how some book changed your sex life. Uh no. Seriously.

Do you Have a Writing Companion?

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Photo Credit: List of Images

A writing companion? What’s that? I mean, writing companion sounds like someone in the same room as you as you write just being noisy or nosy or annoying. Or am I thinking the wrong thing?

Yeah. Although the writing companions I am thinking of can certainly meet one or more of those criteria, I’m thinking of something else. Something a little more…furry. Yep, you guessed it. CATS. I hesitate just a bit to include them here because I’ve never had a single cat or kitten in my life. But WordPress is full of writers who have cats. And I’m sure they’re nice and all, but don’t cats climb on EVERYTHING? Reading a book? There they are. Using the stove? There they are. Writing at your desk? There they are. See, so I don’t know how writers ever get anything done. One minute they’re typing away at their keyboards with ideas flowing every which way and the next they’re lying on the bed giving all their attention to their needy cat. Cats are not writing companions! They’re writing distractions! Ha!

But our other furry friends are quite the opposite. I can imagine sitting at my desk at some point in the future with my English bulldog snoring away on the floor beside me. I get up from my chair and walk around to stretch my legs and take a quick ten minute break. I return to find my bulldog still snoring away. See, he’s a writing companion. He stays with me as long as I need, but he does so without interrupting my flow. He’s a respectful companion unlike your cat crawling all over your keyboard and desk trying to type out a letter in some secret cat language. And pretty much every dog would do the same as the one mentioned above. Just lie there until you’re ready to move. And the next night will do it all again.

Those are the two writing companions that came to mind when I sat down to write this post, but I’m certain there are others I chose not to mention. So tell me, do you have a furry writing companion who keeps you company as you pound away on the keyboard?

A New Writing Project?

Okay guys, I think I’ve made it pretty clear that writing is just not my top priority right now. I’m in the midst of figuring out something that I believe is far more important. I have a WIP that currently sits at 30k words that I haven’t worked on in months. I honestly don’t even think about the story anymore. Fellow bloggers have told me to start something new or do this or that and I’ve said that I didn’t think abandoning my story would help. That was until very recently.

I’ve openly admitted that I know several writers who are all-around better writers than I am. I don’t see anything wrong with that. And I also said last week in this post that I could see myself working on a book with a number of writers I currently know. Well it looks like it might actually happen. I’ve never tried writing with anyone else, but this particular person is immensely talented and I imagine easy to work with. I don’t know what she’s doing wanting to work with me. Ha. The best part is I know some of you know her. She has a blog too. AND the person I’ll be co-writing with is…Jess from LikeStarFilledSkies! You should be following her blog. Right now.

So Jess and I are still thinking about all the things you think about when you begin a new story. The MC. The setting. Plot. And a million other things, but we likely have a name. You don’t get to know that yet. You have to wait for it to become a bestseller. Ha.

Anyway, finally something (someone) is getting me back into writing!

One Space, Two Space…There is no Debate

I’m sure you have absolutely no idea what the heck I’m going to be talking about if you just read the title of this post. That’s okay. I’m only writing this because I’ve read other posts that just leave me scratching my head. I’m talking about the number of spaces after finishing a sentence. This is not something I thought could be questioned. To me it’s like asking if the ¬†first letter of the first word in a sentence should be capitalized. Let’s go on a quick trip down memory lane.

When I was in high school and my English teacher would give out paper assignments I struggled to meet the minimum length requirements. And by struggled I mean I did whatever I possibly could to write less than the required length. There are a number of ways to do this that I won’t get into, but I am well aware that these tactics are used every school year in just about every setting. One of the things that I did during my high school days was put two spaces after every finished sentence. I did this for some time. But if my memory serves me correctly, one of my English teachers told me about it and said it is proper to only have one space. I ignored her. Ha. But in college I was told again. And this time I was more comfortable with my writing and thought page requirements were hilarious because they were so easy. So I decided to use the appropriate number of spaces after a sentence rather than be docked points.

But make no mistake about it, I never thought two spaces was proper. I just used two spaces as long as I was allowed to do so. Pretty much what we all do when we’re doing something that isn’t quite right. But now, seeing “writers” claiming that there is no set rule and they use two spaces is an absolute joke. Write something in Word and use one space after sentences and then change it to two spaces. It does not look right. At all. So shut up.

I would link to A LOT of academic and other credible resources that tell you what is and is not acceptable when it comes to this particular question, but I’m not. Cause this isn’t a valid question at all.