Author, Editor, Publisher, Coach

Tag: Reviewers

“Forgive Me, Alex” Gets a Great Review, and Is a Semi-Finalist at Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012

Yeah, I had a pretty good day yesterday. First, I started a month-long book tour for Forgive Me, Alex, through Novel Publicity. Stop by and check it out: 3 $50 Prizes are up for grabs.

The first review out of that tour was done by Anne Chaconas. She had many nice things to say, and I hope you’ll drop by and post your own comment.

Excerpt: “Diamond does in Forgive Me, Alex what I wish more contemporary authors would do: He brings me right into the story, forcing me to identify with the characters. I didn’t have a choice–I would feel Tony Hooper’s wrath and need for revenge, I would wallow in Mitchell Norton’s desperate inability to ward off his demons. I would cheer for Diana Gregorio’s unbelievable ballsiness in the face of seemingly unbeatable odds. I would weep, shedding actual tears, for Alex Hooper’s childhood.”

Then, just as I was basking in that good news, I received notification from Kindle Book Reviews that Forgive Me, Alex is a semi-finalist in their Best Indie Books of 2012 – Mystery/Thriller Category.

“Forgive Me, Alex” – Semi-Finalist in the Mystery/Thriller category, Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012

So yeah, I had a pretty good day. ***Me smiling*** I wonder how today will go?


Authors Hope To Connect with Their Readers

In this day and age, in a world where everyone is online and engaged in social media and blogging, it’s easier than ever for authors and readers to connect. More than that, however, it’s more important than ever for them to do so, given the new market dynamics.

Two pieces recently posted at the Evolved Publishing website speak to these issues. I would encourage readers to drop in and take a look.

5 Ways To Show Love To Your Favorite Authors – by Kimberly Kinrade

The Art and Necessity of Posting a Book Review – by Ranee Dillon

Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult for an author to break in and succeed if he does not engage in the effort to connect with his readers.

As one of those emerging authors, I view this not so much as a nuisance, but as one of the more enjoyable parts of what I do. Sure, it gets to be a burden at times, when struggling to find time to get it all done, but nothing beats talking to a reader who enjoyed what I wrote. It reinforces me, convinces me that I didn’t make a mistake giving up the “day job.”


Online Feedback – The Double-Edged Sword

The subject of how to deal with online feedback, whether you’re receiving it or doling it out, has been the cause of much angst and excitement.

Won’t you please love me?

As writers who sell directly to our readers, we tend to live and die on the content of our reviews, articles about our work, social media posts praising or blasting our work, and so on. As is the case with any artist, we must have thick skin, for no matter how polished our work, we’ll never please everyone. When we put our work out there, we take on a rather schizophrenic mindset: on the front edge of our sword, we’re the star of the lead float in the parade; on the back edge, we’ve just awoken in the middle of Grand Central Station at rush hour—naked.

Taste is such an extraordinarily subjective thing; my 5-star item may well be your 3-star item. It’s reasonable for us to expect that if our work is worthy of 5 stars in the minds of some, it will nonetheless be worthy of much less in the eyes of others. I recently saw a bestselling book with 148 5-star reviews… and 13 1-star reviews! What? How is that possible? Frankly, it appears some people live to cut down other people’s work. I don’t understand living life that way, but it happens, especially in the anonymous internet age. I tend to discount those few 1s when there are so many 5s.

What really interested me about that bestseller, however, was its mix of ratings at the top: 148 5-star, 132 4-star, 76 3-star. (2-star and 1-star were minimal.) That mix makes clear the subjective nature of art. As artists, we can’t get all panicked and suicidal when a poor (or less than perfect) review pops up. It will happen. It’s inevitable. We cannot please everyone.

Some authors, in particular, are hesitant to post bad reviews—for any number of reasons. For one, they know first-hand how damaging a poor review can be. Second, they may fear retribution. This leads me to the next point.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap?

I watched with some interest recently a little war waged between 4 authors. There was some back and forth on the social media sites, and some nasty reviews flowing in multiple directions. It appears this all started because one author cut down another author’s work. Author #2 took exception, and decided to respond in kind. And the war was on.

I know of many people who have policies about reviewing that go something like this: if I can’t give it at least a 4-star rating, I won’t post anything at all.

Now, I don’t think any of us should be in the business of destroying other people’s dreams. Yet if their work really is substandard, and you can provide constructive feedback to point out the issues, would that not help the author in the long run? Well, yes… if the author accepts it as he should. On the other hand, you might just start an Author War.

This fear drives many people to say nothing at all, when some feedback might be helpful to the author. Furthermore, I think we perform a disservice to readers when we fail to tell then the truth about a substandard book. And who is more important to us authors than our readers?

I try to be honest at all times, but I must admit that I too am selective about when I’ll post a generally negative review. If I see real potential in the piece, if only the author will tackle certain developmental needs, I’ll try to indicate such. On the other hand, if I encounter a piece that makes clear the author should never even consider quitting his day job, I let it go. (Really, what’s the point?)

I love good books. Period. And the more the merrier. Yet a sea of bad books does make it a tad more difficult for the good books to get noticed. The gems will win out in the end, but it may take some real time and effort. It’s made more difficult when people refuse to post poor reviews for books deserving of a low rating. Ah, the dilemma.

Do you have a policy about reviewing?


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