Are you Watering Down your Reviews?

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Being an Indie Author or Blogger, it’s tricky to review books. You ask yourself, what if I piss one of these indies off and incur the wrath of their psycho entourage?

I worry about this often. Buy I have to overlook this. If we only report and review the 4 star books, will our opinion matter to our fans in the end. I think that eventually, people will dismiss our reviews and our opinions. Because giving feedback on 4 star books in a way, is being biased. We aren’t giving our complete opinion, but just a watered down version of it.

This example may be extreme but…”I’m only going to let the pretty ones in and pretend the others don’t exist”

This Indie world in so odd. Most of us want to be labeled writers and most of us want to be taken seriously as writers but we skew guidelines and reviews to suit us.

We are often told to be nice, “give them an A for effort, don’t judge them like you would a traditionally published book. Lower the standards…we are all learning.”

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But I ask…if we blur most of the lines, in reference to reviews and concerning basic writing skills, will we ever grow. We can’t better our craft, our writing, if we are held to an halfass standard.

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Do You Still Want A Review? A reviewer’s POV

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Author: I’m looking for reviews. Will you…

Reviewer: You don’t want my personal opinion. You say you do, you’ve convinced yourself that you do. Though, I KNOW not all of you do. You are too emotional. The Indie author world is too emotional. You will get angry or cry if it isn’t what YOU expected. You will tell your pals, smear my name because I gave you my…MY opinion. You know, the one you asked for.

You call it an attack…that my words are jealous filled hate. Then you will attack me for it return, you and your friends. All this, for doing exactly what you’ve asked me for. You still want a review?

Maybe you should think over it a little more. Because you know what…it’s my review and my opinion. You Authors say it should be constructive…that i should help you grow. (Smiling at this).

It’s not my job to help you grow, to hone your craft. Do movie reviewers set out to help Actors/Directors grow? What about gaming reviewers? No…but you Indie writers are different, right.

It’s my personal opinon. If YOU take it personally…then you may need to rethink your profession. Maybe, putting yourself/your work out there isn’t the best thing.

Do you still want a review

So You Want That Book?

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As an author I am curious to know the process readers go through when choosing their next book to read. What was it that had you deciding to read a particular book? What is your process? Of course I am interested in your process but first allow me to tell you mine.

If you aren’t interested in knowing my process I would say stop here… But if you’ve made it this far you may as well stick it out.

Seriously…stick it out. Obviously you have a minute or two to spare.

Most of the books I find are recommendations that the merchant site attaches to my previous reads. So the first thing I notice is the cover and title. The cover is what draws me in but if the title is a turn off, I will pass the book over. (I will elaborate on this point later). If the title is agreeable, I read the Blurb or book description.

This is the most important factor in securing my purchase. If the blurb is interesting, if it points out the plot without giving everything away, if I am curious as to how the author will present the story, then I am sold. Even if it is an old tale, a retelling, or a popular fad, I will consider buying this book. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years is that there are few original ideas in the world today. But there are different, fresh, and interesting ways of conveying/translating these ideas.

Side thought: sometimes I will read a blurb with errors. This has little to do with my decision for the most part.

Note: I am not saying that there are no original ideas.

If I am slightly interested, I go to the reviews. Now my view on reviews is not in any way normal. I have seen too many books with an impressive amount of 5 star ratings that once I read the Sample, I was so damn confused that I was almost angry. Almost. I get that this is the review of the reader and their review is their point of view. And no…I will not agree with everyone. I accept that. What I can’t take is the Mass Friendly Push Reviews.

Hey, we all have friends and family in our corner and they want to help. As an author I have mixed feelings about this. For other authors it’s your choice. But I try not to allow it? Do other authors allow it? Of course. Is it right? I don’t know. If my friends buy my book I accept this as supporting me. I suppose they can review it the way want. Do I ask them to refrain from leaving a review? Yes. Why, because I would like unbiased reviews based on my writing and story, not our relationship. Do they listen? Not all the time.

What irritates me is when I buy books based on these Fam/Friend reviews unknowingly and I read it and the plot is spotty, the characters are under developed, the POV isn’t clear, when it’s one character’s POV but I am in every other character’s head. If it isn’t a series and all minor plots haven’t been resolved. That is when I can pretty much tell that I have been a victim of MFPR support syndrome.

To get around this, I read all the low rated reviews first. Starting with the 1’s, I read what the reviewer didn’t like. If the review was vicious on a personal level, their opinion having nothing to do with structure of the book in whole, I overlook it and move to the next low review. If the reviewer points out annoyances that would totally irritate me, I may pass the book by. Whiny characters are a no go for me and if they provided examples I will pass the book by. In some cases, the worst reviews may have me buying the book. If something in the book was so horrible or the reviewer is determined to bash the book for whatever reason, I may buy the book to see if it caused the same reaction in me. (shrugging…I’m funny that way)

The sample is next. I have gotten to this point a million times and the sample was good but I still decided not to buy the book. It could be that the book seemed good but I didn’t feel drawn to the characters. Or the sample was good but not long enough to determine anything. Maybe it was that I had several samples to read and I want to see if another book/sample pulls me in more. With these books, my ehhhh books, it may take me seeing the book several times before I purchase it or delete the sample from my library. If the sample is intriguing and pulled me in, I buy the book.

The worst, is deciding to buy the book because all these points I’ve made were great but the book was a plot sore and or the characters were wickedly unlikeable. I view these books as the annoying relatives of my amazing reads. You know the ones, the ones you would never befriend if you weren’t related to them. You know, them…and no, I won’t judge you if you suddenly scream their names out for therapeutic necessity. Go ahead…admit it and own it.

This is my process.

Oh…the titles that repels me. DISCLAIMER: I mean no disrespect or to demean any authors that use these titles. I also would like to point out that I have never read any book with any of these titles but I have read tons of stories that use these plot devices. I love these plot devices; I just can’t bring myself to buy a book with these words in the titles.

As PromisedPromises!  

Billionaire! Any book with the word Billionaire in its title I immediately overlook. YES…I may be missing out. I love books that feature rich characters…I just don’t need that in the title. And let’s be honest, it’s been done to death.

Stepbrother! Again, I love this plot device. LOVE IT! But in the title…I just can’t. I can’t.

Now put them together and I cringe.

Bae…No. Just No.

Ghetto….Nope. Don’t need to read about it…nor do I want to experience it…much.

If you care to change my mind about my No Go book titles then make a suggestion.

Frenemies, Outdo-ers, and Aboutme-ers,

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Goodluck

Hello Again!

So, today I want to talk about the people who you want to trust, the ones that have you thinking that they have your back, that they want you to succeed.

The sweetness just oozes from their pores. Their well wishes come so easily. Everyone loves them to pieces. But you…you feel something odd permeating from their virtual aura but you can’t put your finger on it at first. The fine hairs on your neck stand up when you see a comment from them. Your teeth clench when you see they’ve mentioned your name in that comment because you know it’s puffery. You wonder if anyone else sees the fake-ness but you don’t like starting unnecessary shit so you keep it to yourself.

Usually my senses never lie. I am pretty good at seeing through the bullshit that most people hide behind a smile. Though in the virtual world it is a bit harder…but not impossible. I’ve learned over the years that you do not have to do anything to warrant any hate from a frenemy, Outdoer, or Aboutme-ers. Lord knows I haven’t. You can be the most genuine and honest person in the world but for some reason some people will still pick you to dislike.

Frenemy: They have everyone thinking that they are the nicest, sweetest, person in the world but is whispering in their closest friend’s ears about you, knowing and hoping that their friends spread their tall tales. Mostly lies, but they have a way of spinning your words to make you seem disingenuous or fake. They always have nice words for you and about you in a crowd but are always scheming. Why? Who the hell knows? Maybe they can tell you are what they aren’t.

Outdo-ers: Did you know this was a competition? Hell, I didn’t. Your Outdo-ers have a driving need to outdo everyone. Sadly most of us don’t even know it was a damn race or is even interested in the prize. Is there a prize? Sales, men, friends… It’s not that serious people. This is the virtual world, everyone can play. Just play responsibly! (wink)

Aboutme-ers: This is Self explanatory. All I have to say it that the virtual world is the place for them to SHINE bright like a diamond. SHINE BABY SHINE! I ain’t made at you.

My thoughts…because yeah, this is my Blog: There should be no hating in the sale of anything. Books, goods, and services, because people will always need these things. My thing is books, so I will personalize this. When readers finish a book, they WILL likely pick up another. Anyone can be a bestseller if they can spin a good tale. So STOP the hating. Grow the Hell up.

Books That Changed My Life

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Recently an acquaintance I follow posted the question “What Book Changed Your Life?” It was a question that I didn’t have to think about. There are two books that made an impact in My Own Private Idaho. I suppose I should set this post up so you can see my point.

As a kid, I was an introvert. I didn’t care for kids my age and when I was young my best friend was in her sixties. Some called me an old soul but I see it now as, I hated politics from the beginning. It is true, all the crap that we go through as kids are to prepare us for adulthood. It begins on the playground. “You can’t be our friend. You are it during tag (always). He’s my boyfriend and you stink, nan nan na boo boo.”

Now, I have to say that I was never on the receiving end of this “coming of age terrorisms”. My life was virtually bully free. I have to thank my sister who gave me black eyes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for infusing me with the ability to take a beat down, a viperous tongue, and no fear.

To get back on track here…I didn’t like playing THE game then and I don’t like it now. That is why reading is my haven. Of course we have all heard it before but I’m going to write it again. Reading takes you places, it give you hope, it bring us joy, and sometimes it will give a lonely girl who chose to be a loner an outlet.

My first love of book came along when I discovered the Choose Your Own Adventure books. They were exciting, electrifying and I got to be involved in the path I could go. I remember walking to the library and returning home with all the books I could carry. Eventually I began to take plastic market bags with me to carry all of them. I read other books but these were my favorites. That was until a cover caught my eyes.

choose your own adventure

I know the suspense is killing you so…..

Book 1

The first book that changed my life was Carrie by Stephan King.  http://www.amazon.com/Carrie-Stephen-King/dp/0307743667

 

Carrie

OMG. Imagine an eleven year old loner with a healthy dose of disgust concerning her peers. Yeah, it was healthy so Don’t Judge Me. So, I had seen this cover that has this reddened image of a girl on it. Honestly, now when I see it I have to say it doesn’t have the same effect but it’s still interesting enough to get me to pick up the book. I started reading it immediately. Lord knows how I made it home with a book in my face, crossing streets and stepping up on sidewalks. Carrie had me engrossed from start to finish. I mean, I seriously thought that there was a girl named Carrie White that lived in Maine (but I thought it was somewhere in Europe) who was doing all this stuff with her mind. HER MIND. Because of the epistolary structure of the book, my silly mind thought it was all real. REAL, I tell you. I remain loyal to my KING to this day and love most of his work, especially Storm of the Century, The Stand, It, The Green Mile, and so on…

Now…let us revisit my way of thinking. As a kid, I just knew I was different. All my life I thought I was either adopted, an alien, and if I’m going to be completely honest—the virgin woman that in the end of days will live in the wilderness and raise her babe (don’t ask). That last one is a no go now… So Not A Virgin.

Carrie gave me a new POV. I was special; yeah that’s it, special. I had telekinesis and I was going to show ‘em all. Who is ‘em, I have no freaking clue now but I had a clear understanding then. Needless to say, after weeks of trying to force out my dormant powers, I realized that I was not telekinetic. Sucks for me…Good thing for ‘em. So yeah…Carrie rocked.

BOOK 2

The other book that I rank as life changing was Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. I fell in love with the Brat Prince at first bite. http://www.amazon.com/Interview-Vampire-Anne-Rice/dp/0345337662/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412542067&sr=1-1&keywords=interview+with+a+vampire

Interview with vamp

I was given the book by a guy my father used to play basketball with. Tyrone was handsome, mature, and not like the idiots that usually gave me attention. I was enamored with Tyrone and when he asked me if I read, of course I said yes. I wanted to impress him even though I had slacked off with my reading. I was nineteen or twenty and though a bit about the world I was green as grass. Tyrone wasn’t much older but because he was a friend of my father, he was TABOO. He came over to visit my father one day and gave me THE book. I started reading it because I knew he was going to come back for it. He had said as much.

To be honest I wasn’t interested until I turned the first page. WOW. I was so captivated with this world of Lestat de Lioncourt that I gorged myself on his tales. I was transformed into a book fanatic. What I find odd now is that I did not become a Vamp freak at the time. I became a Anne Rice book freak ( I specified BOOK freak and not the dress up in Goth gear, find her address, and stalk her and all things Anne Rice—Not that I blame those people. She is AWESOME. I read everything I could get my hands on after that. This book brought me back to the world of reading. The world I had lost when I found the opposite sex. I loved every one of the Vampire Tales and the Mayfair Witches. I was old enough to know that fiction meant just that, but I still lost myself in that world for the span of time it me took to read them.

As an adult with children and responsibilities, I have less time to dedicate to my true hobby, though I get lost in a book from time to time.

Some of my favorites in any particular order:

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward

The Immortals after Dark series by Kressley Cole

The Kayrs Brothers series (Fated, Tempted, etc) by Rebecca Zanetti

The Game Changer series by L. M. Trio

The Thirteen Kings series by Heather Killough-Walden

The Marked Men series by Jay Crownover

G. A. Aiken Dragon Series

The Dark Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts

Devil Eyes series by Jennifer Loren

Oh yeah, if you were wondering what happened to my crush, I found out he had dated my sister a few years before he started coming around. When he found out that our dad was our dad…he dumped her. So my interest was completely one sided. LMAO—-now. Well, happy reading people.