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Archive for September, 2010

I want to throw a question out to some of you who are authors. On Zoe Winters’ blog, we were talking about reviews and how crazy and mean some readers are, etc. I was going to ask this question on her blog (since there are so many more people following it), but I didn’t want to use her blog for my own ramblings. The question is, how many of you actually respond to reviews on Amazon or other places? Does it depend on what the reviewer says or how personal they get with you? I recently responded to some negative reviews, and I got responses back from two different readers. One was kind of hateful and basically said authors shouldn’t respond to negative reviews because it was like a kid trying to get a better grade from a teacher or something like that. The other reader was very nice and explained more about why he hadn’t liked the book. My whole intent was to find out why they didn’t like it. I did probably piss off the first reader because she had said that “Blind Freddy” could have seen the twist coming. I thought that was a little too sarcastic, and said something to the effect that “Blind Freddy” must be good at that sort of thing, but none of my beta readers figured it out. I was also trying to interject some humor in my comment. Didn’t work. LOL Later I thought I probably should have let all of it go. But I’m one of those people who is laid back and easy going most of the time. So when something gets to me, it REALLY gets to me. Since things usually don’t. :0)

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I’ve waited a long time for the new Hawaii Five-O to come on. My favorite actor, Alex O’Loughlin, is the main character. He is also my favorite vampire (Moonlight), even though I could possibly be criticized for that since he’s a “good vampire”. LOL. But if you don’t believe in his sexiness, check out the YouTube video below.

Alex O’Loughlin

Anyway, I was watching it last night and suddenly realized that James Marsters was the bad guy! Yes, it was Spike! So it was so cool to me to see these two guys battling it out in the end, knowing they both used to play vampires. I just wish the fight scene had been better and much longer!

Okay, so it doesn’t take much to amuse me. I just thought it was cool. The only bad thing is that James Marsters isn’t really sexy when he’s not Spike. 😦 But Alex…he’s been sexy in everything I’ve seen him in. LOL

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I’ve thought about trying to find a couple of serious crit partners, but I’ve decided against it. I already have two, one who is an avid reader and the other who is a fellow author, but sometimes they are too close and might not have a critical enough eye. They love me too much! :0) But the critical eye thing is why I wouldn’t make a good partner for an author trying to make their book the very best it can be. Because when I read, I want to be entertained. I want to be barely able to put the book down. And that’s my main criteria for a good book. I don’t want to get hung up on every little, teeny thing that other people might see as something that should be changed. I just don’t want to get bored. So I would probably be too easy on the author’s work. If I like it and it takes me away for awhile, I don’t care if it isn’t perfect. And I think most readers (who aren’t writers) feel that way. And even though I’m a writer, I’m not so critical of other people’s work. I know of an indie author who a lot of the other indies say is SO good. And she’s done well. But after reading the first book in the series, I’m thinking that I really don’t want to read more. After I got about halfway through the book, I started getting a little bored. If other authors say her writing is good, then maybe it is. But I don’t really like it that well. I HAVE to be entertained. That’s why I don’t like most classic literature. It’s kind of the same way with movies. If the critics don’t like it, I probably will. They don’t look at entertainment value, they look at picky little things that normal movie goers couldn’t care less about.

After saying all that, I do want to make it clear that I AM very critical of misspelled words, glaring grammatical errors, and terrible punctuation. There’s really no excuse for a lot of that. If you’re not a good proofreader, hire someone to do it for you. In fact, when I read some of the indie work, I feel like saying, “I wish you had called me! I would have only charged about $30 to proof this.” Now, I’m not saying I always catch everything. Sometimes you are too close to your work and miss things. (Or maybe you’ve proofed someone else’s work and it had so many errors it was hard to catch them all.) But I’ve only been made aware of about 3 errors in my books (there may be more that no one has caught or said anything about; I hope people will tell me so I can fix them). Even traditionally published books have that many or more. But some of the books I’ve read recently have 4 or 5 errors in EVERY chapter. One author, after getting a bad review for so many errors, stated that she actually had paid someone to edit. If I ever edited a book and it still had errors, I would drop everything and make corrections free of charge until it was right. I would never charge for editing it again if it was my fault it didn’t get caught in the first place. And I hope the author I referred to went back to her editor and demanded the corrections.

Whew, it seems like I digressed. All this was sort of part of the same thought, but it kind of came across disjointed. That’s ok. It’s just my blog and I can ramble if I want to. LOL

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the genre I write it, which is paranormal romance. I’ve written 2 novellas, one about a vampire and one about a ghost. I’ve written two novels, one about an elf and a wizard, and one about a ghost. I’m currently working on another novella about a vampire. And I do really like paranormal romance. But it’s not my first love. Since I discovered Stephen King in high school, I’ve been a fan of horror. That’s my favorite genre. Mysteries and paranormal romance compete for my second favorite.

So why didn’t I start out writing horror? Mostly because I had this love story about a ghost in my head. And it went from there. But I’ve been questioning myself a lot lately about whether or not I want to continue to write solely in this genre. I don’t want to abandon it altogether. But I want to spread my wings a little.

Another consideration. If I do pursue horror as a writing subject, should I write under a separate pen name? My gut feeling is yes. I don’t want to confuse readers when they’re used to me writing under a certain genre. And I’ve developed relationships with other authors in the paranormal romance genre. And another thing I’ve thought about. No matter how much we want to deny it, this is still a man’s world. It’s getting better, but we aren’t there yet. So would it be better to write under a pen name with just initials so no one would know my gender? Female horror writers aren’t very common and probably not very well accepted. Just some thoughts. What do you think?

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5 star/1 Star

I’ve been thinking a lot about reviews lately. I’ve suddenly gotten a couple of 1 star reviews and I almost stopped writing. I wondered what the point was. But I started thinking about the 5 stars I had. Some from people I knew and some from readers I didn’t know. I began to wonder how there could be such a big difference in opinion. I started researching other people’s books. For instance, a lot of indie authors seem to really love a certain fellow indie, and her books are pretty high up in the Amazon Kindle store. She’s doing great. But I didn’t particularly like one of her books I read. I gave it 4 stars, but that was kind of generous. That doesn’t mean someone else didn’t like it. I looked at some other books that I really loved…and found some 1 star ratings on the books. I’m wondering how this could be. The last book I read was awesome in my opinion. But it got some pretty bad reviews. Luckily, it had many more good ones. Again, what a difference in opinion. How one reader can see the characters as flat and one-dimensional and another reader can see them as well developed and real is beyond me. But if we were all alike, the world would be so boring.

Having said all that, I want to say that I will not give a lower rating than 3 stars. It would have to be the worst drivel I have ever read for me to even think about doing that. I would rather not write a review at all. There’s really not much of an excuse to give bad ratings when both Amazon and Smashwords let the readers read a sample before buying. Just don’t buy the book! The biggest reason that I don’t want to give bad reviews is because I just might be wrong. It’s just an opinion. And I don’t think my opinion is supreme. The writing would have to be so obviously bad, and the errors be so prevalent, that I couldn’t stand to read it.

I want to point out that I don’t feel the same way about products. Some products are just bad and don’t work properly. So I would give a bad review in some of those cases. But when it comes to books, movies, music, etc., there is way too much opinion involved. And I’m not going to hurt an author’s rating just because I didn’t like it. Let the readers decide…again, samples. Yes, I know I’m too nice. But there it is. Some 1 star reviews I’ve read aren’t just people giving opinions…they are malicious and downright ugly. Sometimes I think people get off on doing that. I want to be able to sleep at night. That’s just me. I know a lot of people don’t agree with me, but I don’t really care. My opinion is as good as anyone else’s and vice versa.

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