On one of the chat loops that I check out fairly regularly, an author posted a message that caught my attention. I'm still trying to decide whether it was brave, foolhardy or just insane. The body of the message was a review she received for her book. Much of it had to do with the strong language and situations in the book. Hmmmm. This is an erotic romance site, yes? And what part of that did the reviewer not catch? Anyway, I digress. The author then offered a challenge to her readers to tell her what they thought.
I think I've said it before, but a reviewer is a reader that has an official place to post her opinion. That's it. When the writer reads the review, many times it is obvious that the reviewer is not a writer. Aside from the incidental spelling and puncuation errors, there is the dreaded, "I really liked this book" or "I really didn't like this book", but absolutely no reasons why. What particular event, character, or revelation made this book a pass or fail?
As a writer, I want to improve my writing with every book. If there is no reader feedback, then I'll struggle along, hoping that I am accomplishing that on my own. In one of my recent books, a reader/reviewer pointed out a particular incident that made her uncomfortable. There are unlimited opportunities for that to happen in the books I write. I'm not saying that I would have eliminated that scene if I had known beforehand. But I might have written it in such a way that my readers could relate to the characters better. As I work on the next book in that series, I'm more mindful of how my readers will view the characters.
Having said all of that, I'll slap my writer hat on and freely admit that I'm never going to please all readers. I can only hope that most readers reach the end of the book with a feeling of satisfaction and completion.
To that end, I'll make this offer--my readers are free to send me their reviews of any of my books. Once a month--on the second Monday of the month--I will post any reviews I receive from my readers on my blog, whether they're good, bad, or blech. I will identify each reader by their first name only. All I ask is that the review be specific. If you hated character Josie Kitty because she was too dumb to live, then say so. Send the reviews to firstname.lastname@example.org with Review--(Book Title) in the subject line. We'll call that feature Talk Back.
I very recently received a review for a book that declared the book was corny and that I used the same phrase repeatedly which the reviewer found distracting. My friends, the corny part I can't fix and I have no idea what that phrase might be. None at all. If you find something like that, please tell me specifically what the phrase is. Writers fall into patterns. Just as we recognize one pattern and eradicate it, another pops up. One book will be deep. The next book will be bleak or bright. In one book the characters will all nodding. Once you get all those heads still, you find that your characters are quirking their eyebrows. I once read a book where the hero stalked everywhere...even to bed. I wanted to tell him, "enough with the stalking, already". Two books ago, I deleted thirty-five justs. He was just tired. Just as she got there. Don't you just want to puke?
Feel free to review away. I will ask you to remember that this is a family site so watch the language. That said, it's all up to you.
Don't forget to stop over at Amarinda's Place where she's teaching the blue tongued lizards to tap dance at www.amarindajones.blogspot.com and then hop over to Kelly's Blog where she explaining how to sell books...lots of books and she has the Saga at www.kkirch.blogspot.com Blessings on your day.