Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Just a quick post in reminder that today is the last day to get Come the Shadows for 99 cents!

Kindle – Come the Shadows

Nook – Come the Shadows

Smashwords – Come the Shadows

The short story One Final Night (which now has a few more 5-stars on Amazon!) will remain free.

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My worst fear was that when I published I would wake up one day and be inundated with 1-star reviews declaring me the William Hung of self-publishers.

As yet, it hasn’t happened.

But I did receive my first 1-star review yesterday, on the short story One Final Night (which has now been downloaded 23k+ times).

My heart skipped a beat and I groaned when I saw it. I really didn’t even want to read the criticism, but I soldiered on.

The reason for the 1-star rating was given as this:

The problem is the story is depressing and discouraging and unlike other reviewers the ending was not enough to save it for me. Too little to late!

While it’s hard to see a 1-star pop up, I understand that it’s a tough story where the most common reaction is profuse tears and hugs and kisses for your loved ones. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be thought-provoking. As Lisa Vaughn (@thegiftedones) said on Twitter – not every story can have a happy ending. It’s a bummer, but it’s just the way it is. Stories not only do – but need to – represent all facets of life.

Ironically, I tend to avoid tear-jerker, sad stories myself. I watched Message in a Bottle in the theaters and refuse to watch another Nicholas Sparks offering. I can’t stand such a sustained level of raw emotion. But I give him 5 stars for the work because it did exactly what it should – made me bawl my ever-loving eyes out.

But, I digress…

It was quite a long review and several other nuggets do jump out:

The problem is not that the author can’t write, because she certainly can!

…books that have unhappy endings just do not appeal to me, I hope the author takes that into account in future offerings because she is a good story teller who I would read again if her stories are more positive and uplifting in some way!

Those were some nice compliments, hidden in the paragraph, and I hope they stand out to others who read her review in the future. Honestly, if this review helps other people who dislike hard endings stay away, maybe that’s not entirely a bad thing. I want people to enjoy the writing and if, for some people, the quality can never overcome the ending then there is nothing I can do about that. But I’m glad to see the quality acknowledged, even under the 1-star heading.

Read the full review here.

This officially scuttled my plans for a post about review jitters, inspired by this post I saw linked on Facebook yesterday. I’m still a bit jittery without much chatter on Come the Shadows (and who wouldn’t prefer everyone to LOVE what you write) but I am just taking this a sign it’s time to get to work on that thick skin that’s been on my to-do list for, oh, 20-25 years.

PS: As for the suggestion in the review that all the 4- and 5-star reviews are all just people I know… Nope!

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Wendy, who recently reviewed Come the Shadows, has read and reviewed One Final Night on her blog. She doesn’t normally touch short stories but liked the book enough to give this one a chance.


She liked it even more than the book and says (I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her email.) “skip the mysteries and just go for drama!”

And she pointed out that’s a genre issue more than any issue with the writing of Come the Shadows – she’s not really a mystery person. Either way, I was very gratified by her overwhelming love for the short story.

Check out her review here.

And, as always, One Final Night is free here, here, and here.

Reminder: Come the Shadows is only discounted until the end of August. Snag your discounted copy now via any of the links on the right side of the blog.

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Wendy (yes, there are two of us!) has read and reviewed Come the Shadows at her book blog Wall-to-Wall books. She gives a great non-spoiler rundown of what she liked (and how gripping the 2nd half was =) ). There is also a Q&A with me about the book and about my writing in general. Great read, and thank you, Wendy, for the review!

Make sure to give her a bit of love and check out the rest of her blog – she’s going to take the time to post it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, and so forth, which is much appreciated! Positive voices tend to remain quiet in life and it will be wonderful to see the review section actually have something in it!

I’ve already promised her an advanced copy of the sequel…….better get busy 🙂


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I’ve wanted to be a published writer for a long time but, like many authors, could not get past the idea of pouring out this big, time-consuming project only to have it rejected over and over by agents.

Then one day my husband saw some links on successful self-publishers. That is what you need to do! he said.

I read. I waffled. I read some more. J.A. Konrath, Barry Eisler, Amanda Hocking, and John Locke are the poster children with a lot to say on the topic.

The guys are all “we’re awesome!” while Amanda Hocking tries to bring in a dose of realism but all people see is the notoriety and, of course, the money.

She also mentions one very important nugget that was a huge factor in her success:

Book Bloggers

I caught that and thought, “ah-ha!”

But it’s not so simple.

There are more book bloggers than decoys  in a Where’s Waldo picture and they are (rightfully) selective. They favor certain genres. Some take reader files while some only take print. Some will accept self-published work and others won’t. Some are eager for reviews and others make it clear you will face trial by fire before you get a review from them.

I don’t fault them for any of that even while I find it frustrating. I cannot imagine how inundated even the little guys and gals are with review requests.

As an author, I quickly start to wonder, though…… how different is this than going the round with agent queries? That is such a daunting path, full of rejection and heavy criticism. But are reviewers different?

On the criticism front – quite a few won’t publish less than medium-grade reviews, which I appreciate.

But when it comes to power – wow – do they hold it! Reviews can make or break a book, and an author. They are gatekeepers, withholding or granting entry rights into the competition for readers. If no one reviews your book, your footprint is tiny. Main-stream publications won’t touch a self-published book. It’s the indie bloggers, who do it for the love of reading, that hold immense leverage over this fast-developing arena.

Each time I send an email to a book blogger I question if I made the right decision to self-publish. I enjoy it. I even had fun developing the cover. But is it the right career move? For some the answer is a resounding yes!

So, reviewers, every time I approach you….be nice? 🙂 So far I’ve only had a small percentage (2) even respond, which I understand I guess. (Would you rather read or answer emails? Yeah.)

For now I leave you all alone and go do what I love best: work on the next book!

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