I heard you gasp. But I also saw you nodding your heads. We all know this, right?
We’ve all had it happen – that moment when a scathing review shows up. Famous mainstream authors like Tom Clancy and James Patterson get one-star reviews. Stephen King’s novel, The Stand has almost 5,000 reviews and yes, some of those are one-star ratings. That is proof that not everyone is going to like your book.
We spend days, weeks, months and sometimes years toiling over a story. Then with great enthusiasm we send it out into the world. I often compare it to giving birth. That baby is the most precious and wonderful thing to its mother. That baby is beautiful.
So, what do you think happens when someone comes along and says to that mother, “You have an ugly baby?” First off, the mother is going to feel protective, then secondly she is maybe going to feel a little hurt.
It’s the same way with our books. Our first reaction to criticism of our books is to defend and protect it. The second normal reaction is to feel hurt and maybe even a little beat down.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and while to most of us, it would seem mean or maybe even cruel to tell a mother her baby is ugly, it can represent that one person’s truth. And shouldn’t everyone stand in their truth? Maybe the baby is indeed ugly, and after all, don’t we promote freedom of speech?
Where is protocol for these situations? Or is there any?
A review with a low mark doesn’t bother me. I’ve given plenty of them. But when someone goes beyond leaving a review and chooses to trash our work publicly it changes the dynamics. And it is entirely up to us, as the creator of that work, how we respond. That is when it turns into the ugly baby scenario.
One thing I know for certain, is that you never engage in a debate about your work. You would be bringing yourself down to their level, opening yourself up to further criticism and making a mountain out of a mole hill.
In my opinion, the best option for any author in that situation is to take the high road. Look closely at the criticism. Maybe you can learn something from it. Maybe what you learn is that person simply doesn’t understand your story or doesn’t like your style of writing. Or maybe you learn that person, even though they don’t know you, don’t like you, or is jealous of you, and it has nothing to do with your writing. Or maybe they have a legitimate criticism about your writing but choose to express it in a harsh way. Whatever the answer is, the best solution for every author is to learn whatever lesson can be had and move on, always striving to be better and staying professional.
Remember when you put your work out to the world, you’re putting yourself out along with it, so developing a bit of thick skin might be helpful.
Don’t hold on to criticism. Don’t let it stop you from creating. Don’t let it destroy your confidence or your creativity.
We live in a society where many seem to believe that everyone who doesn’t think exactly like them is either ignorant and uninformed or plain stupid. The new normal is to discredit anyone who doesn’t see things your way. Please, never let yourself fall into that category. Everyone doesn’t read through the same eyes. Everyone doesn’t understand the same way you do. And everyone doesn’t have the same moral compass that you do. And none of that makes them wrong and you right or vice-versa.
Don’t stress over things you cannot change. Focus your precious energy on the things you CAN change!
Have you experienced the “you’ve got an ugly baby syndrome?” What did you do? Let’s learn from each other. This is a safe and open forum. Let’s talk!
This story is an amazingly accurate historical portrayal of the events that lead to Texas (Tejas) winning independence from Mexico, and includes two sizzling yet seemingly impossible love affairs. Two women arriving at the port of Matamoros, each unaware of the other and each with different motives wind up with their lives thrust into an intricately woven web of power, struggle, and deceit. Ms. Bonds did an outstanding job of layering this story with intense conflict and emotion as each woman fought against the power of all-consuming love. Fiona and Rafaela are two characters I won’t soon forget, not to mention the handsome, yet deadly Baron who possesses a black heart and deadly will. Add in the Irish Gypsy Traveler and you have four people tied together by unpredictable circumstances and eventually undeniable love.
This story grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let go until the last. Overbeck touches on so many different facets in this book from the civil rights unrest in the 60s to a murder cover-up as a suicide set in a high school. Throw in a ghost that will not leave the new coach, Darrell Henshaw, alone and you’ve got a great combination for a story. Coach Henshaw can communicate with the ghost, but it is not something he welcomes or wants. The author took me on a riveting journey through the process of solving the murder/suicide and exacting revenge. And, there is a blossoming love story thrown in the midst of it all. I love how the author accurately depicts attitudes and beliefs and how he brings the beautiful setting of the bay to life in vivid color. I highly recommend it for any reader who likes a well-paced, well-written murder/mystery with twists!
In this Christmas children’s story, a new elf in Santa’s workshop learns a valuable lesson. Always remember to clean the fairy dust off before leaving the workshop. Tinsel, the elf, has quite the adventure when he forgets that bit of advice. It is a short read that young and old alike will enjoy! I highly recommend it!
If you have read the other four books in the Royal Command Family Saga, you are going to appreciate the way Ms. Stuart wraps up this saga. This segment of the series focuses on Greta Marsh, the teenaged daughter of the Diamond Superstar, Michael Marsh. When Michael and Greta’s stepmother go on an extensive concert tour in the U.S., little do they know the young boy and his sister whom they rescue will be Greta’s true love. What I like most about this story is the way it comes in a full circle. What I mean by that is in book one, Michael is poor and has a dream of making it big on stage. Elspeth, born of money and heritage, falls hopelessly in love with Michael and helps make his dreams come true. In this book, Greta falls in love with an impoverished boy, just as her mother had done. Another thing I loved about this story segment is that the royal jewels from the diary of Margaret Tudor which was passed down through generations were woven into Greta’s wedding bouquet. A perfect ending to a high drama saga. Ms. Stuart has a talent for pulling out all the stops in her storytelling.
I seldom read a mainstream book anymore. My go-to are Indie Authors. But my daughters became obsessed with the Netflix series and insisted I watch it, then we wanted to read the books. Almost always the book is better than the show, but in this case, I found the show to be better than the book. While the story premise was the same, the characters were not and the situations were not. It would probably be better to read the book before watching the series. It is a well-written multi-dimensional story about the ultimate game of pretense.
The month of May is designated as National Get Caught Reading month!!
What a fantastic holiday month for readers and writers! I’ve been an avid reader since I could first make out words in the Dick and Jane primary readers. The image below is me when a story captivates me!
So, in honor of this fabulous month, I’m going to list some great books I’ve read recently!
What I liked most about this book was the honest way the author portrayed the racial prejudice in the southern part of the United States in the 60s. Noemie Bellerose is a girl of mixed race and until her family moves to North Carolina, she has no idea that she is considered an outcast because of her race. With a mother of color and white father, she finds that she is not accepted in either community. But, the torture doesn’t end there. With the death of her mother, her father becomes an abusive alcoholic and does not hold back on the punches in his rages. He blames Noemie’s little brother, Gerry, for their mother’s death and often takes his rage out on the young boy. Noemie is a girl-driven. Driven to make a better life for her and her little brother, driven to get an education, and driven to look out for her father, even despite his abuse. But, when Richard Winters rides his Harley Davidson Chopper into the small North Carolina town, looking for refuge and escape from a heartache so big it forced him to run, things begin to change for Noemie. But, not just for Noemie, for Richard too. With a steel lock around his heart, he is sure nothing can get through, but Noemie does. The racial prejudice is horrific. The abuse Noemie suffers at the hands of her father and others in the small-town is horrific, but the love she finds with Richard is redeeming. I loved this story. I have to admit that I was almost ready to put the book down by the third chapter, as it got off to a slow start. But into the fourth chapter, I was hooked and couldn’t stop until I reached a satisfying conclusion. Steamy romance, racial prejudice, everlasting friendships, and steely determination drive this story.
If this sounds like your cup-of-tea, you won’t be disappointed!
I have loved every Mae Clair book that I’ve read and this one is no exception! The way she intertwines the past and present to build the entire story is fantastic! When the empathic Jillian Cley crosses paths with Dante DeLuca who communicates with spirits in the other world, things are bound to get interesting. And they do. Jillian struggles to control her sensitivities and has a service dog, a Husky, who helps to ground her. There are a lot of characters in this story. But, I never had trouble keeping up with who was who and the role each played, even as the author switched back and forth between present day and the late seventeen-hundreds. As the reason for the curse is revealed, the plot gets thickened with a grave-robber and the release of monsters who had been held in the infamous Hode’s Hill cemetery. There are nail-biting scenes and I couldn’t put the book down. I had many late nights until I finished it. Suspenseful, engaging, compelling, other-worldly, and gripping are words I’d use to describe this story. My hat is off to this author for successfully writing in two different time periods effectively! This is a GREAT read if you love suspense, paranormal happenings, and relatable characters! I highly recommend it!
I fell in love with Clay Colby’s character in Broday’s Men of Legend Series when he was introduced in book two as a ranch hand. Even then, I wanted him to have a happy ending and to know more of his story. In this book, Linda Broday did more than give Clay a happy ending. She gave him an unforgettable story! A character also introduced in the Men of Legend Series, Talley Shannon was a fugitive. Along with several other women, they hid in a canyon and existed with the help of Luke Legend. They had escaped from a torturous insane asylum. Both Clay and Tally have deep wounds and scars and their journey to redemption is not an easy one. Broday keeps the reader on the edge of their seats as they follow along with bated breath, hoping and praying that the two will finally break through the walls of their hearts to be united as one. If you love the 1800s time period, plenty of action, tension, conflict and steamy romance, you will love this first book of the Mail Order Bride series!
I read two poetry books in April and loved them both! You don’t have to be a lover of poetry to enjoy these two intimate compilations.
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poetry. The author covers every subject from nature to the deepest part of the human psyche and soul. While I loved all of the poems, a few stood out to me personally like, “Splendor” where the beauty and aliveness of a spring day are expressed in flowing descriptive phrases. “The Journey” is deeply profound portraying the metaphor of life to that of a tiny bird struggling to ride out a storm. This author’s musings from the back of a Harley particularly captivated me. I went along for the ride! But, the section of the book, “The Emotions – Darkness and Light,” is hands-down my favorite section of the book. Each poem expresses life’s journey and the varying aspects of the dance. If you love well-written poetry that touches on every aspect of life and living, you will enjoy this book of poetry from D.L. Finn!
A fantastic collection of honest, heartfelt poetry that takes the readers on a journey through good times and bad. She writes about a health scare that could have easily ended her life. She weaves nature, family, love and faith through her writing. If you love REAL poetry – poetry that moves you, you will enjoy Miriam’s book!
And finally, a book that really opened my eyes to some of the unforgiving views about sexuality in the middle east.
The collection of short stories in this book from India-born author Fiza Pithan deals with a most delicate subject matter. Not only does it encompass stories of transgender people, but lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and asexual people. Two things about these stories struck me. #1 is that this author writes so well in a language that is not her native tongue. I commend her for the well-written stories. I did not spot even one typo throughout the book. The second thing I want to commend her for is the honesty and eye-opening reality of how people are tormented, tortured, ostracized and even killed in Mid-Eastern countries for their sexual preferences and/or differences. Reading these stories makes me truly glad I live in America. If you are looking for stories that, although are fiction, shed a light of truth on these issues, you will enjoy each of these!
Hopefully, you saw something here that caught your eye! It is quite a variety of genres, but I love reading all types of books.
So, grab one and let’s make May a month for memorable stories!
As an author, there is nothing more encouraging than receiving a rave review for one of your books.
But, reviewers must maintain credibility. And that is my topic today.
I am an avid reader. I love nothing more than to sink my teeth into a good story. And, I never hesitate to leave a review once I finish.
However, what happens when a reader picks up a book that leaves him lacking? Does that reviewer leave a false review to make the author feel better or tell the truth?
I think the answer to that should be crystal clear. First of all, you are doing that author no favors by saying the book is better than it was. An honest but KIND review can help the author grow and get better at his craft.
We never stretch or reach for more, when we think we already have it.
So, I call to ALL reviewers – authors and readers – to stay true to yourself when it comes to writing reviews. If there are 20 five star reviews on Amazon for the book and you only feel like it deserves four stars, give it four stars!
If you stay true to yourself, then you build credibility as an honest reviewer. That being said, the word KIND must stay in your vocabulary. You only want to offer constructive not destructive criticism.
Read away! Review away! Be honest!
Author, Beem Weeks, who is in charge of the Review Department with the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB offers a short concise guide to “Writing the (Almost) Perfect Review.” Click HERE to watch.
I have posted this before, but today is Recruitment Day at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and I can’t say it any better than this!!
I know you hear me refer to The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB a lot, but when I find something that is exciting and rewarding, I like to talk about it.
I first became a member of #RRBC in August, 2014. I didn’t get involved much – read my required number of books to remain active in the club, tweeted now and then, caught a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk radio show now and then and skimmed through the WEEKLY CLUB UPDATES.
I didn’t see a whole lot of benefits at the time, except that immediately, when I listed on my Profile that I was a member of the club, my Twitter followers increased substantially. Well, that was good. I now had other authors interacting on a consistent level and more opportunities to spread the word about my books.
Then, in November 2014, I received the honor of a #PUSHTUESDAY spot that showcased The Convict and the Rose. I saw an immediate spike in sales on Amazon. At the time the book was spotlighted, I had ten reviews. That number went to 25 within a few short months. Hmmmm, I thought to myself. Maybe I need to get more involved with this club because it seems to make things happen!
Long story short, I got more involved. I began supporting other members, following their blogs and helping spread the word about their books. Again, I saw a huge spike in followers of my own blog. Wow! Now that meant I had to consistently start blogging and provide interesting and interactive content.
Two more examples -I earned a spot in April 2016 on a RAVE WAVES Blog Talk Radio show where I had the opportunity to discuss and answer questions about my books and again the support I received was overwhelming.
When the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB chose my third book, Home At Last as a featured book of the month in July 2016, even more miraculous things began to happen. Up until that date, I had only eight reviews. And even though it’s not a huge number, I now have twenty.
I’ve participated in a virtual Writer’s Conference with the club, gone on numerous Block Party Blog Tours and read some absolutely amazing books by talented indie authors. In fact, at the end of 2016, I decided to put together a TOP TEN list for the books I enjoyed the most during the year. Out of the 10 books, 8 of them were #RRBC Authors! Check them out here!
All I’m saying, is that if you’re looking for a community of like-minded people to support, uplift, encourage and propel you to greater heights as an author, you might want to take a look at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. Go to the FAQ page for the answers to any question you might have.
Membership fees are VERY affordable and the results (IF YOU PARTICIPATE) are amazing!
This group of supportive authors and readers have POWER!
OH YES, AND ONE FINAL THING. WHEN YOU JOIN, PLEASE TELL THEM I SENT YOU!
I have met some of the most amazing and resilient authors through the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and Rhani D’Chae tops the list. I’ll use some of her own words to explain, but will also throw in some of my own.
Firstly, Shadow of the Drill, written by Rhani D’Chae landed at #3 on my TOP TEN Best Books list for 2016. The characters in this story captured me and even though it’s been months since I read the book, I still think about Decker and Charlene. 🙂 That’s the sign of a great story! You can read my review here.
As a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, you are required to read and review a minimum of 4 books per year written by other members. For a lover of books, that is not any chore. But, that is how I discovered this story (which, by the way, is not my normal genre).
But, enough about me. Let me tell you a little bit about Rhani and why I say she is resilient.
“I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, and for my vision, it was all downhill from there . My 20-40 vision went into the triple digits, and then started fading altogether. Later on, I developed glaucoma and ischermia, neither of which I found amusing. Two months ago I learned that I now have macular degeneration. Fortunately, the shots that I’m already getting in my eyes are the same ones used to treat md, so at least I’m not having to deal with more shots.
My vision loss has really changed the actual act of writing for me. When I write, I sit on my couch with my laptop on the coffee table in front of me. When I am seated in the “proper” position to type, I’m too far from the screen to read what I’m writing or to see if there are any mistakes. So I lean forward until my chin is over the outside edge of the laptop, at archaic point I can read what’s on the screen, provided the font is large and bold. But typing in that positioning is hard to do and impossible to do quickly. So I prop my chin on my left hand and do the hunt and peck thing with my right. So much for 60 words per minute.”
Can you imagine? What a challenge Rhani faces and yet she continues to write. She is working on a sequel to Shadow of the Drillas we speak, which I am thrilled to hear. AND, she has also written another short story, which I read as well,A Perilous Thirst.Check out my review here.
A short story about a gay vampire in the early days of the AIDS epidemic.
I simply want to honor Rhani D’Chae today for her strong spirit, determination and attitude. You’ll never find a negative post from Rhani on social media and until she tells you, you’d never know that she deals with blindness and relies largely on Dragon Speaks to write her posts. She is a personal inspiration to me.
So, THANK YOU, Rhani for embodying what every human spirit should!
If you’d like to know more about the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB and the members who make up this International Organization, take a look. If you’re an author or reader, this might be the home you’ve been looking for!
And, THANK YOU for helping me honor and lift up Rhani D’Chae!
The book title must grab my interest in just a few words. I personally do not like titles that are so long I feel as if I have read the book.
I want my curiosity to be peaked.
It should make me want to pick up the book and read the back cover.
Then I open it and randomly read a few paragraphs as I flip through the pages.
Here are sample of titles that are intriguing and eye-catching:
To Kill A Mockingbird
Gone With the Wind
Gift From The Sea
And, I did buy and enjoyed every one of them. My favorite is Desiree.
Certainly longer titles have worked for many successful authors:
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent,
Under the Greenwood Tree or The Mellstock Quire
Often it is the non-fiction books that have the longer titles. My book is a perfect example: Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. Just having “Outshine” did not seem enough. Just “Ovarian Cancer” sounded too boring. So, it became Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
Does the title give at least a strong hint as to what or who the book is about?
Is a character or sentence from the book a clever title?
Is my title original? Google to see if other books have the same title.
Have two or three ideas and then ask friends, family, or members of a book club for feedback.
If the title is intriguing or informative enough for the potential reader to pick it up, then it is the right title. The most important part of selecting a title is that it is meaningful to you. You must be proud of the title and feel good standing behind it.
Karen Ingalls is a retired registered nurse with a master’s degree in human development, which was a double major in psychology and human services. She is the author of the award winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir from which all proceeds are donated to gynecologic cancer research. Her second novel is Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Her first novel, Novy’s Son challenges the reader to examine the issues of alcoholism, sexual addiction, and family dynamics. She has also written poetry, short stories, and has had articles published for professional journals. Karen also does presentations to promote her books and on subjects of health/wellness.