Category Archives: As A Reader

When someone’s writing makes you angry

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I have a book I was planning on reviewing. It was a short, self-published piece, mostly anecdotal but with some references and information. It was recommended by a few non-profit organizations and it available for free on Kindle. I downloaded it and a few weeks later sat down and read it.

And it made me very, very angry.

It made the writer in me angry because it was terribly written and didn’t even look like it had been proof-read once. Twice she wrote that paper was lamented instead of laminated. That writer is angry that it’s getting 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon and my book hasn’t even gotten a review (yes, there’s a little jealousy in there, too). It made the self-publisher in me angry because it rubs a thick smear of shit over what we do giving the reading public a reason to overlook our hard work because some incompetent thought writing was easy. It made the parent in me angry because the resources were inaccurate and incomplete and twice she failed to capitalize her son’s name. Pair that up with the constant contradiction of statements (including the title) and I fly into a rage at the mere thought of the book. It made the Autistic mother in me pissed for those same inaccuracies, biased opinions and dreadful lack of detail and not researched *resources* spouted in blurbs as “resources, techniques and other different advice” and promoted by what should be reliable organizations.

Every single time I sit down to write this review the anger boils up from deep inside and I want to meet the author so I can throw my ebook at her head.

And she has plans to write a sequel in a few years. God help us all.

I have NEVER been this angry over a book I’ve read. I try to always see the positives in whatever I read because I feel empathy for the writer, to have the dedication to sit down and write a story and the balls to put it out there in the scrutinizing public’s eye. Even if I do not like the story, the writing, the style, the characters, even if it’s chock full of writing errors, I try to be kind. I give myself a few days to sit with the story, to give my brain a chance to pick out the things I enjoyed and I always, ALWAYS, find something however remotely positive to say about it.

Because us writers are in this together and I prefer constructive criticism to emotion filled destruction.

It’s been over a week and I’m still fuming. I’ve vented to my husband (who literally listened to every single problem I ranted over in just about every single sentence as I read it). I’ve vented to a fellow writer. And I am just as mad now as I was the first time my eyes rolled over the disjointed words, contradictions and egregious use of the semi-colon.

Should I wait until I can sit down, detached from my feelings and write a prettier, nicer review than the torrential downpour of anger that is sitting on the tip of my fingertips ready to pound fury into the keys? Or should I go ahead and let it come out? Or maybe just not even write the review at all?

Ideas and constructive criticism are always welcomed here.

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The whole house fell in love.

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I am an avid reader (as my nearly 600 reviews on goodreads can attest). I also have a couple kids that have started reading at an early age. Yet, even though they had an easy time learning how to read instilling that love of reading has been difficult. It’s easy to make reading a chore, especially where school is involved.

If you didn’t know, we homeschool. So while we don’t have the pressure of a reading list or standards, it’s been a struggle to get my capable children to actually read. Which is also ridiculously frustrating to someone that would gladly spend the rest of my life snuggled in a bed, the rain dancing on the roof, reading until I pass out just to wake up and do it again.

But lately, it seems the entire house has fell in love.

With Harry Potter.

that's not a big book, she's a small kid

First the 9 year old started with book 1, after he finished it the six year old picked it up. She’s on chapter 12 and the past few mornings I’ve woken up to her snuggled in the chair reading by the morning’s light. It’s hard for her, being only six some of the nuances go over her head, but she’s diligently plugging away at it.

The nine year old is on book three and I’m wondering if I need to buy another book 1 so the eight year old can start it. She’s patiently waiting for her little sister to finish.

We’ve been watching the movie after someone finishes a book. It’s funny to hear them disparage the movie as not being accurate to what they read. I’m really hoping this is the jumpstart they need to devour other books and series. I suppose we’ll see. As for now, even hubby and I are anxious to fall in love with Harry Potter again.

Cover Art

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As a reader I understand the importance of cover art. This is the image that will draw you in either online or in the stores long before you read a single word. It is the device that captures the readers as they peruse random shelves of books. It gives you a quick overview of the story in pictures.

I also know the difference between good cover art and bad cover art. The good will draw you in and the bad will have you passing it by without a second thought. The image on the outside does judge what is on the inside regardless of what is written.

Visual stimulation can make someone pick up your story without even reading the back cover. I know, I’ve done it.

I have three stories up on Scribd right now (which you can access for free through the Writings link above) and none have cover art. Well, I take that back, Dead Winter has some horizontal lines but it looks more like a resume than a short story. I’ve decided to rectify that. I think having professional looking cover art will help my readership. I have also been toying with the idea to publish – at least one- through Amazon for free. I definately need cover art for that.

And editing.

While I’m fairly happy with the story Krista I think it could use a little more polishing. Before any of my covers go live, I plan to post them here to see what others think. I’ve already purchased and downloaded the royalty free artwork through www.fotolia.com which can be used without licence for book cover art as well as edited. I paid $6 a piece and got three images for each of my three stories. If it works out like it looks in my head, I think I’ll have some very nice cover art for these free short stories. Now I need to work on my photoshop skillz.

So what do you think about cover art? Does it impact the books you buy (or don’t buy)? For a new writer does the concept of cover art take a back seat to writing? Is this just “one more” time waster?

Wednesday Writing Update

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I missed Sunday’s check in. Honestly, my life is just all consuming right now which is not an excuse. I need to get my head together and get out of this slump.

Which is what it is, a slump. It’s not my life in total and it will change. I need to look ahead while keeping myself centered in the NOW.

I’ve decided to revamp my ROW80 goals and my life goals in general. I think I need this. I think it’ll be good. But I won’t have them ready until next Sunday’s update.

One thing I have decided is devoting a blog post a week to reviewing a fellow ROW80’s previous works. I have one ready, I just need to write it. I might add in other self-publishing/digital/Indie/etc. writers as I see fit. I want to support other’s work and I think this is a good way to do it. (you know, besides buying the material, which I’ll do).

So, if you have some short stories, Kindle published works, free downloads or whatever that you’d like to get promoted, just let me know what it is and where I can obtain it! I’ll let you know when I put up the review.

Reviewing Reads

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I have been using www.Goodreads.com for a few years now and have nearly 570 books reviewed, most with commentary. I just learned of www.Librarything.com and have tried (unsucessfully) to move my GR books over to their site. I’m working at it but it’s a bit of a slow process.  My books range from animal husbandry, to children’s, to adult romance.

Not only do I use these books just to keep track of what I’ve read and liked but I love reading author bios, checking out other’s reviews before reading a book or series and keep track of upcoming releases. I also love that new authors, including those that are self-published, can create identities to get their books promoted for free.

If you haven’t checked out either site, now is the time. If you’d like to friend me (I love virtual friends) here are my links

Goodreads

LibraryThing

The Genre Trap

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This is something that has been rattling around in my head for some time now. I’ve read lots of reviews on Goodreads.com which I use to help me decide what new book or series I will read and this is brought up quite frequently. It’s an interesting connundrum, especially for someone that writes:

Is someone a “true writer”, dedicated to their craft and their possible reading followers, if they jump genres? Is a person that has written a series of books in the historical romance genre and then publishes an urban fantasy just trying to get on the popularity (sales) bandwagon? Or possibly just trying to flood the market, or every market, with stories to boost their popularity and thus sales?

I have heard of authors that have put out different series under different names because their readership is so demanding, so inflexible to their creative processes, that they are afraid of disappointing their staunch supporters with something from a different genre.

Wow. This is why I’ve been so damned afraid of writing. Readers can be terribly harsh.

Could it not be, perchance, that the author’s imagination just isn’t limited to the creative ramblings of only one genre? I know for myself, I cannot help what images and fantasies accost my brain. Currently, I have urban fantasy, off-world fantasy, contemporary romance, and contemporary fiction books pleading for my attention. Do I just have some terrible writing ADD? Or do I just have an overactive imagination that isn’t limited to a bookshelf label?

Nearly everything that I see, experience, taste, think has the potential to be recreated into a story. Everything. Tendrils of imaginative smoke curl up from the most mundane of places wafting their nearly irrestible flavor in my direction. I get accosted in the car, the store, in my dreams, in my kitchen. And the flavors are almost always completely different. Sometimes I smell the same story, those flashes of inspiration work their way into a current theme tumbling around in my head. Other times  it is new, fresh, a scent of something exotic. The spices are classified differently. I can’t help it.

And if that is true for me, someone that isn’t even a true author yet, why can’t it be for others that are? How small-minded we readers can be when our favorite author’s muses pull them in a different direction. Why are we allowed to genre hop but they are reduced to a little box, a place on a shelf? Why can’t we allow those minds we love so much to stretch to their full potential?

If my writings take me down different genre paths I hope that whomever reads my writing would be open-minded enough to see that I am only following my inner callings and not fall into the genre trap. Writing is hard business, both in the creating and the offering.