The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (and I don’t mean Myren): REVIEWS!


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But mostly, I write novels. Love doing it and love sharing them with the readers of the world–and even to some audiobook listeners too. Sending the books out there with a click of the publish button, after spending hours, days, weeks, months, and yes, sometimes even years, writing, living with the characters, trashing paragraphs, pages and chapters, then re-writing, editing, proofing, sending to real editors, and real proof readers who find so much stuff to fix that I wonder if I had a blindfold on when I proofed it myself, and then working on the cover with the designer – cause there’s no way I can do digital design myself (see blindfolded comment above), then figuring out the formatting and then discovering I need to send the ms. to a professional formatter–with Myren my chauffeur telling me I told you so in the background–and THEN after all that, I hit the virtual button that says PUBLISH, and voila! NOTHING.

Nothing happens. The screen on the computer returns to the book shelf and I’m left with returning to the blank page of my next manuscript to start all over again. So, you ask, “what the heck are you telling me all this for?” (or that’s what Myren insists readers will ask as he reads over my shoulder while I’m writing this post.)

I’m telling you all this so you know how meaningful it is to an author to get feedback from readers. If you write a review on Goodreads or Barnes & Noble or iBooks or Amazon or on your own review blog site, it’s a wonderful much appreciated act of generosity for authors!  It almost doesn’t matter what the review says. Almost, but not quite–although after having put up with Myren for years, I do have a pretty thick skin and I can pretty much react to any review with “Oh look – someone read my book and they took the time to write a review because they felt…strongly about it.” Some other authors are more sensitive.

In the meantime, I realize that the majority of readers do not write reviews, or certainly not for every book they read, because what the heck–you’re readers, not writers. And also because what the heck–who has time? And also because what the heck–some sites don’t make it easy–you have to login and remember your username and password and I don’t know about you, but if Myren didn’t have the list of top secret passwords to all sites in the web universe handy, I’d never get back on the same site twice.

As a service to all readers who aren’t familiar with reviews–like those who are blind or read only paper books–or those like Myren who disdain the opinions of others–I figured I’d share my favorite examples of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly reviews I’ve received over the shortish-long span of my publishing career. Of course, all reviewers will remain anonymous to protect their innocence and my physical security.

The GOOD:

This is my favorite category. That could have gone without saying, but I’ve been known to state the obvious according to Myren, my constant editorial companion. I have a plethora of goodies to choose from and it was difficult to narrow it down–so I ended up randomly choosing one of the many from a hat–Myren’s chauffeur hat to be exact. What a guy. I sometimes refer to him as Myren-on-the-spot. Here it is!:

On Small Town Glamour Girl Christmas: “This was a beautiful Christmas romance that kept me turning pages well into the night! I loved it and have added Stephanie Queen to my MUST-READ list of authors!!”

deep sigh of pleasure…

The BAD:

This is my least favorite category. (See about tendency to state obvious above). Luckily, there are fewer to choose from here, and making the choice would have been painful if good-old Myren hadn’t stepped up to volunteer to do it for me. What a guy. Here it is:

On Between a Rock and a Mad Woman:  “I thought the book was going to be mind-blowing fantastic because of all the high reviews. Boy, I was disappointed. Overall the book was okay and I would recommend reading it if you’re bored. Extremely bored.”

Ouch!

The UGLY:

This is the most puzzling category, the one where the review makes absolutely no sense and you wonder if they have the book confused with some other book, or maybe some other non-book product. Or where the reviewer goes off-topic so-to-speak. There were a disconcerting number of these reviews and it made me wonder about the proliferation of drugs…but then I realized it was probably the confusion and detachment of the internet that was responsible. Myren merely rolled his eyes at my pondering. You be the judge. Here it is:

On The Throwbacks:  “very well put together and kept me on my seat. How can someone expect a critic to write more when there’s nothing more to write about…”

Although I’m glad this reviewer didn’t fall out of his/her chair, I find it disconcerting to see he/she considers him/herself a ‘critic’–a critic from the minimalist school of thought apparently. (Maybe Myren should take a lesson.) Thank you, though, Mr./Ms. Critic.

And THANK YOU to all readers everywhere who take the time and thought and patience to review books. Even Myren.

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