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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Book Reviews – Love them or hate them

I don’t know about other writers but when any of my books is out for review, I shake in my shoes. Most authors, at one time or another, doubt their books. They fluctuate between thinking it’s the greatest story ever published, and it’s the crappiest book ever written. Being the doubting Thomas’s that we are, it’s usually the latter. Even in the middle of writing our latest offering, there are more ‘crap’ crises, than ‘this is wonderful’ moments. So can you wonder I shake in my shoes when a review is imminent.
Thoughts pound in my head affecting my ability to function as a normal human being. What if the reviewer doesn’t like it? What if he/she thinks it’s the crappiest thing ever written? At this stage I’m wondering if it is. When the review goes up I’m almost afraid to look, but I have to. I have to know the worst.

Then there are the reviews that pop out of nowhere, usually on Amazon. Now the law of averages stipulates that if a reader likes a book, even loves it, they won’t bother to comment. However, if they hate it, if it disappoints them, if it’s not the kind of book they expected, then spleen must out, and it appears in the form of a review.
Now, I don’t mind the odd bad review, not everyone can like everything. But the ones that say little more than this book was awful, and not giving any reasons, strikes me as a bit unfair. If a reader really thinks this then surely some comments about what it was they didn’t like are more useful to another reader contemplating reading it.

Similarly, with reviews that simply say this book was marvellous. It tells you nothing. I much prefer balanced reviews. You know the kind of thing that says this bit was good, but this bit wasn’t, regardless of how many stars they are awarding. At least it says something about the book and gives future readers more information to make their decision.

Now having got all that off my chest, I have to say that my reviews are mostly in the 4 and 5 star category, and out of the lot I think I’ve only got two reviews with 2 stars, so that’s not too bad. And no, I don’t have that many friends and relatives, and most of them wouldn’t know how to write a review anyway. And being the bashful person I am I wouldn’t ask them to do that in any case. I’m just thankful if they read the books.

However, a review of Night Watcher went up today on the Indie Ebook Review site which absolutely amazed me. It took a really different view of the book from the norm. The reviewer indicated she wasn’t a crime thriller reader and I think that was why she came up with something different. I must say some of the review gave me cause to think. But, you know, she was spot on with her comments and she saw things no other reviewer had seen. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention, she said that ‘if Jane Austen wrote crime fiction this is the book she would have written’. Must say I’ve never been compared to Jane Austen before. And it gets better, because she also compared me to Agatha Christie. WOW! That’s kudos in buckets.

Reviews are something every author has to take in their stride. They are necessary because they inform potential readers what to expect. But that doesn’t stop the fear element when you know one is about to be published.

How do you feel about reviews? Do you take them in your stride, or like me, do you shake in your shoes at the thought of what they will say?

Thanks for listening and cheerio until the next time

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Lucky 7: Seven lines from new works

Ooh! I’ve been tagged by Sue Uden and Janet O’Kane. Thanks ladies for taking my mind off my work for a few minutes, well, maybe a bit more than a few. So what have they done to me? Yikes! They’ve tagged me to take part in Lucky 7: Seven lines from new works. They said the rules were simple, and here they are:
  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS or WIP
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy the next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs and post them as they’re written
  4. Tag 7 more writers and let them know.
Okay, I’ve done that and here are the seven lines from my current book which is as yet untitled. And luckily, or maybe not so luckily, the seven lines feature my detective sergeant, the lovely, or not so lovely, Bill Murphy.
Bill swallowed the lump in his throat. Shit, he’d forgotten about the damned report. He wriggled in his seat.

‘You do have it?’

‘Actually,’ Bill said, ‘I was waiting for SOCO to get back to me with some information I needed before I could complete it. But I couldn’t raise them last night.’

‘I see.’ It was obvious from her tone she didn’t believe him. ‘In that case you will have the report on my desk within the hour.’ She paused before continuing, ‘I’m sure they’ll be on duty now.’
Ooh! She’s a sarky one that new DI of his, and boy, does she have it in for him. Bill can almost feel the knife between his shoulder blades. He’s a bit of a loser though, so maybe he needs someone to keep him in line. Check out the interview Peggy Stanton did with him for Famous Five Plus then when you’ve checked Bill out you might want to know what his colleague Detective Sergeant Sue Rogers thinks of him
So now you’ve met my Bill Murphy, and you’ll maybe get a clue why some of my readers think he needs a good woman to take him in hand. Please form an orderly queue ladies, he’ll get round to you all sooner or later.

So what now? I have to find seven other folk to tag. Who will I choose? Who will be the lucky seven? Did I hear a mutter of ‘unlucky’ there? We’ll have less insubordination in the ranks, if you please, and I will ignore that. So it’s over to –

Janice Horton - @JaniceHorton -

Gilli Allan - @gilliallan -

Pauline Barclay - @paulinembarclay -

Eileen Schuh - @eileenschuh -

Melanie King - @RobertsoKing -

Susan Russo Anderson - @SusanRussoAnder -

Susan Livingston - @lotsocats100 -

Now do you know what you rescued me from, Sue and Janet, just an afternoon of book-keeping, getting things ready for the tax man. So, my blessings ladies, this has been a welcome relief.