Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't come looking for my help...

Writers are a peculiar bunch. If you are one, you may not realize it...except for all those other weird writers you talk with throughout the day. And if you are married or in any sort of relation with one...I am preaching to the choir. It is the ability to suspend reality that allows many of them to ply their craft. It is also that same ability that can lead to problems. Writers can be whining, bitching, self-absorbed, and completely out of touch with reality.

There is a never-ending drama that seems to swirl around reviews.. Now, if you have read my posts on the subject of negative reviews, you know where I stand. To refresh your memory, it goes something like this: Not everybody will love your stuff, GET OVER IT! So what else could possibly be stuck in my craw when it comes to reviews? In a word: reciprocity.

I may not be the "be all/beat all" when it comes to reviews...I have sort of given up on reviewing the works of many of my fellow authors simply because there is no give and take...just a lot of my giving and their taking. The indie scene is one where you sort of rely on your comrades-in-scribing to "help you over that wall". I liken it to the off-course-runs that I have been involved in this past summer. You reach an obstacle like a high wall and lack the ability to either jump high enough to get a grip and pull yourself over, or you lack the upper body strength to climb. Somebody will always reach out a hand and pull you up.

As for my approach on reviews, I do them with the understanding that I refuse to write fluff pieces and if I didn't like the work...I will say so. What I won't do is plaster a negative (2 star or less--I will get to people crying about three star reviews later) review on every page and group. A negative review will go on Amazon, Shelfari, Goodreads, and this blog. That might seem like a lot, but I left out about a half dozen other sites that I regularly share my reviews with; a couple with over 2,000 followers or members. Still, I am not one of those people who will NOT write a review "just because the book was lousy." I put that in quotes because I have actually seen people use that as a reason. That is WTF issue number one...

The Indie community has got to stop stressing over negative reviews. I have (on many occasions) invited anybody who reads my stuff to post reviews. Good. Bad. Meh. Do I like negative reviews? Of course not, but I accept them as OPINION. Do you read editorials and classify them as "News"? Even the Greats suffer the slings and arrows of people not liking them. "This has to be one of the most overrated books of all time. There was absolutely no suspense, it was filled with mostly forgettable characters, and it was way too long. I found myself rooting for no one and wishing the book would just end. And end it did, with a big thud." That comes from a review of one of my all-time favorites: The Stand  by Stephen King. Do you think King read that and ran to everybody in his circle with a sob story about how the reader "just didn't get it." All so that a group of sycophants could stroke his ego and tell him how awesome he is? Yet every day, drop in to one of the social media groups and watch that scene get played out time and again. So, I've said it before and I will say it again, if I review your book, I will say what I think. 

You will NEVER see me post for pity, nor will I argue against somebody who writes a negative review about my work. In fact, I do my best to glean information from negative reviews to be a better writer. I don't change what I do, but sometimes I see comments with validity. This statement made by one reviewer of ZOMBLOG is a case in point: "I also found the seemingly pointless wandering around the country, in search of nothing, more than a little disjointing. Sure, if the world was taken over by the living dead, you'd move around some - but it seemed like there was no destination or goal in mind." Guess what? She made a good point. When I wrote that book, I never intended it for publication. I created an ending that allowed me to take the story in a specific direction with an end game in mind in the second book in the series. least she read and reviewed my book. Of course I would like a better review, but what she said was put appropriately and constructively. Negative does not have to mean NASTY, RUDE, or PERSONAL. 

I want to support my fellow authors. I believe that we are all in this together. Yes, I openly admit to taking advantage of the freebies made available to a reviewer. Still, those lead to sales when I like what I see. Also, I bang the drum loudly when I read something I like..not just in reviews, but to people I know who read. So here is a Friday, September 26th, everybody pick out an "Indie" writer you have always considered reading and get their book. Then come by and comment who you got on this blog. When you finish, please return and share if it inspired you to purchase another by that author. Step up to the plate, folks. For the price of a morning latte, you might just find your newest addiction. And of course I hope somebody picks one of mine...but I am more interested in the variety of names that show up. One of you may turn me on to something new.

Right now, I have about fifty books in queue, and I am committed to start getting in some reading because it has really slipped as of late. Also, I want to come out with would be nice if some of my peers gave me some feedback. I have actually cut ties with a few because I just got tired of the exclusion and the fact that I have beat my promo drum for them, read and reviewed their stuff, but when I ask if they would be interested in reading and reviewing mine...I get, "Oh, man. I am just so busy writing..." (Umm..aren't we all?) And my personal favorite: "I wouldn't want to steal any of your ideas, and if I read your book, I might see something and it would find its way into my own story."  REALLY?!

Same thing with my little blog...I don't have a lot of followers...YET. The other day, I put out the word that I am available for guest posts or interviews. Guess how many responses I got? {crickets chirping}. Yep. Not one. NOW THAT STUNG way more than any negative review. But anytime I get an email about "Hey, will you promo me?" You betcha. Now, there are a few who host me willingly, but the scales are heavily tilted. Bottom line, I am done being a Review or interview booty call. From now on, if you can't share the love, I got nothing for ya.

So there you have it. I am openly admitting to having feelings. That may not be a popular thing to do...but I have made it a point of being straight up and honest. Some might say "Brutally Honest"...

Friday I will share the title of the book that I am reading. I hope that a few of you will post here what you have picked up. Also, I will once more make a pitch for giving and receiving some guest posts and reviews. (Chirp-chirp).

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading Indie horror author Matt Shaw and R F Whittaker and I'm giving away my latest horror serial for free, hoping to get reviews.