Please Review Carefully

 

 

pen

A reviewer friend and fellow emerging writer April L.Wood recently shared this bit of wisdom with me:

All reviews are good. Even the bad ones.

If you are a new writer who has been on the business end of a one or two star review, you might not agree. Bad reviews hurt and not in a mosquito-bite way. In a bee-sting way. Burning and long-lasting.

And potential readers see those bad reviews. They could hurt sales. How can that be good?

Sure, there’s the old “any publicity is good publicity” thing.  But there’s more to it than that.

According to my friend, those “bad” reviews lend credibility to your writing. They show that the reviews were not just written by your friends and relatives – people who have a vested interest in pleasing you. They show that your work is being read by people you won’t see at your next family reunion or PTA meeting.

Not only that, but your writing is having an effect on those people. Making people think. Feel. React.

You know how busy we all are these days. That one-star review shows that someone cared enough about your work to set aside the time to write and post the review.

After all, hate is not the opposite of love. Indifference is.

That said, it feels pretty darn good when you get a positive review, like the one from TJ at Scandalicious for my newly released romantic suspense Dance with Me.

Scandalicious

Here’s a quote:

“We get a little of everything in his book. A smart and sassy heroine, a sexy and oh so sweet hero. An overbearing controlling mother, a crazy Russian villain. Chock-full of suspense, laughter and erotic sexy times!”

You can read the full review here.

A big shout-out to TJ, Scandalicious and all the people who take the time to write book reviews, good, bad or ugly. We who are about to write salute you!

 

The Unbearable Rightness of Editing

Clay

Having just been up until two in the morning working on the developmental edit of Dance with Me, the last thing I want to do at this moment is write.

Wait. I’m a writer. I love to write.

I love it more than a car that starts on the first try and doesn’t smell like something feral has taken up residence in the AC. I love it more than Anthropologie sundresses and fat, oily, herb-flecked olives and all the things you can buy when you have a regular job that pays real money!

Much as I would like to write, however, my brain has been drained by the process some call editing, and some call revising, but I call waterboarding of the brain.

Apparently, we writers fall into two camps: Those who love editing and those who hate it.

You know which camp I’m in.

For me, writing that first draft is like those first heady days of a new romance, all about exploration and adventure and tender outpourings of the heart. It’s getting on a train just to see where it goes. It’s butterflies in your belly and waking up each morning wondering what fresh delight awaits.

Editing, on the other hand, is all about raking over old territory with a critical eye. It’s about finding problems you wish you could ignore and deliberating and debating until you find a solution. It’s riding a bicycle uphill into the wind. It’s eye-strain headaches and falling into bed at the end of the day completely exhausted.

Maybe a bit more like marriage.

(Joking, of course! Marriage is great 95% of the time. But that other five. Phew!)

Editing is important, of course. Necessary.

Can’t have characters wearing a t-shirt one moment and a sweater the next. Or pulling guns out of pockets they don’t have. Can’t have a plot point that’s too predictable, or alternatively, doesn’t allow suspension of disbelief. Can’t break in the middle of a passionate clinch to describe the sunset.

Still. The minute Microsoft comes up with a program that can find all the inconsistencies, gaps of logic, pacing issues, weak passages and FIX THEM, I am buying it.

In the meantime, I’m going to power down my laptop, stretch out on a lounge chair with a something cold, wet and possibly alcoholic, and stare into the middle distance.

Right after I edit this blog post.