Authors are a needy lot. Conflicted, too.
We want reviews of our books: specifically, we want positive reviews. That generally means we have to sell books or pay for a book promotion service to distribute our books to people who agree to review them in exchange for a free copy. It's hoped that the cost of promotion will be less (by far) than the income realized from the sales that positive reviews are supposed to stimulate.
I'm still working on the whole marketing thing. Like most authors, I don't particularly like marketing my own books because I'd rather be doing other things like writing, sleeping, eating, mucking out stalls.
But I will admit that there's nothing like an excellent review to make a day worth living.
I found that my recent book promotion through Fire & Ice Book Tours yielded the sale of one copy (at a discounted price) of Pure Iron. That reader left an outstanding, 5-start book review. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I checked my books on GoodReads and got another happy surprise. The Barbary Lion (ugly old cover still displayed--why, I don't know) got a 5-star review just a couple of days ago. Yippee! That reviewer left no details, though. I'd wish I could know what she liked about the story--and what she didn't like. Because no book is perfect, even with a 5-star review.
So, in the interest of book promotion for all authors: Please buy our books and please leave a review for those you read. Oh, and don't forget to recommend those you like to all your friends and acquaintances. Use social media. We need the help.
I received a free copy of a book in exchange for an honest review. It's a common enough deal. Unfortunately, I detested the book so much that I didn't read the whole thing.
I'm not disparaging the author. She writes well. The editing was clean. Technically, the book was darned near flawless. It was the characters I detested.
There's a reason I avoid "New Adult" romance and this book book exemplified that reason. "New Adult" romances often have stock characters: the naive and innocent heroine, the heroine's wild and reckless best friend, and the "bad boy" hero who's a man-whore and proud of it. The author nailed each stereotype, then it went downhill.
The heroine is not only sheltered and innocent, but she's a blithering idiot. A musical prodigy, she's led a sheltered, rigidly scheduled life. She's 19 now and wants to loosen up and have some fun before heading off to college. Understandable. But, does she sit down with her parents and talk to them about feeling stifled before resorting to subterfuge? Of course not, she lets her best friend persuade her to sneak out, go to a club, get drunk right off the bat, and have unprotected sex with the club's owner within half an hour of meeting him. Further idiocy comes in when she thinks that she won't get pregnant and implies to our hero that she's on birth control.
The best friend isn't going to college because her mother--who works three jobs to put food on the table--can't afford it. It doesn't occur to this young woman to get a job, apply for student loans and scholarships, etc. to pay for tuition. No, she'd rather spend her mother's limited funds on obtaining fake IDs and booze. With a best friend like that, our heroine doesn't need an enemy.
The hero is a swine. He's the stereotypical wealthy, handsome womanizer. He sees our heroine, practically drags her to his apartment, and deflowers her. I can suspend disbelief to accept werewolves and vampires, but not enough to believe that an admitted man-whore doesn't have a condom available and can't figure out that he's breached a young woman's hymen. The next day, he takes her again. And so on and so on. No condom involved.
Shortly after that I quit reading. I'm not prudish in either my reading or writing, but I don't tolerate blatant stupidity and irresponsibility.
The sad part is that the author's storytelling is very good. Now she just needs to write a book worth reading that's populated by characters worth knowing.
This review doesn't mean that a book should be populated only by wonderful, good, and perfect characters. Far from it. Flaws are what makes characters interesting. But there ought to be at least one main character who has some sense. So, even though the writing may be good, the grammar flawless, the punctuation and syntax error-free, if your reader finds nothing in any of your characters to admire or at least cozy up to, then you've failed.
I intended to have Tiger in the Snow published by the end of 2015. It didn't happen. But I finished the second and very rough draft yesterday and posted requests for beta readers. I expect a lot from my beta reader, but I don't expect more from them than I expect from myself when I serve in that same capacity for another author.
Two volunteers graciously offered their time and critiques: Jack McDonald Burnett and Leo Walsh. I deeply appreciate their willingness to read what's likely way outside their comfort zone, as most men aren't terribly interested in reading paranormal romance, especially "smutty" stories like the ones I write.
I asked them to let their proverbial red pens hemorrhage. Be candid and blunt. Don't pussyfoot and try to spare my delicate feelings. Really. I don't quite get tact. Never have. I figure it's best to get the wallops out of the way, one-on-one, before the story goes live and the public excoriates it.
So, when their edits come through, I'll implement those with which I agree--which won't be all of them but will be most of them. I know to check my ego at the door during this process. After the revised (third) draft is finished, I'll try to find another beta reader to give it one last critical review. Then there will be a fourth draft and, after letting the work sit for a while to marinate in the old subconscious, there will be a fifth draft.
It's at that point that I'll finally tell myself it's about as good as it's going to get. The book will go live.
In the meantime while I wait for Jack and Leo's edits, I'll be working on other books. The next few are intended to be novella length to be published separately, and then combined into an anthology.