Seriously, things have been a blur for months now. Busy is good they say–idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. But sometimes busy hands are that way too. MUAHAHAHA!
Which brings me to STILL NOT NICE or THE STRANGE PLANET INSIDE MY HEAD.
Yes, this is a new volume of short and flash fiction. Yippee! STILL NOT NICE is an unusual volume–there’s fiction, ruminations, and observations. There are a couple of stories about Sally Mae Riddley, my Fire Child, that have never been seen before. A couple of pieces from contest writing, and…well, a mixed bag, really. I’m very pleased with how it has come together.
Want to see the cover? Sure you do!
All thanks to the awesome Melinda VanLone for the amazing cover. I just love it.
The final details are being tweaked even as we speak! SOON! Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already to be alerted as soon as it’s live.
It is really a strange planet inside my head. Come on in and take a look. I won’t bite…at least, I won’t bite hard. Heh.
Please note: the website is currently under renovations. Don’t mind the dust. Work progresses as time allows. There’s missing studs and holes in the walls, but we’re getting there. Thanks for your patience!
I have been an indie from the get-go, since I was a tiny person. It’s in my nature and I can’t help it. I’ve always cavorted to a tune it seems no one else could hear; independent to a fault, some might say. It has its ups and downs, pros and cons, highs and lows. During my lifetime, I have been both rewarded and punished for it. I was raised to be independent, and my life’s journey has trained me to be independent.
And while you might be able to teach an old dog new tricks, it’s much more difficult to change an intrinsic part of your personality.
When I started my writing career, it was a no-brainer for me to go independent. I might be a bit of a control freak, and when it comes to my fiction, I want to be the one in charge. After all, fiction has been and always will be a gigantic part of my life. It means so much to me I can hardly bear the idea of handing off something into which I’ve poured my life’s blood and soul to someone else.
But in the changing tides of today’s publishing, it makes good business sense to keep your options open.
I have come to realize everyone’s circumstances are different. What works for one writer may not work for another. I’m not built to follow the road most traveled, anyway, and most of my close personal friends would scream, “HALLELUJAH” to that statement. I have to make the best decisions for myself without looking to see what other people are doing. I’ve lived most of my life that way, and it hasn’t turned out too badly, despite some spectacular failures. Hey, go big or stay home.
I have also discovered if something scares me witless, it’s probably the thing I need to do the most. I live with a lot of fear—but I never let it stop me. I was scared to go freelance when writing non-fiction. BOOYAH. I was scared to dive into fiction. Double BOOYAH. I was terrified to venture into editing. HAH.
So when I contemplated my next business move, I considered sending a novel to a traditional publisher. I almost talked myself out of it. Was I scared of rejection? Nope. Been rejected on several levels, many times. What I am scared of is success.
Which told me I needed to do it.
So I sat my happy ass down and took a few hours to do something for ME. I wrote a synopsis, put together the first three chapters, and wrote a cover letter. As we speak, my little package is winging its way to a traditional publishing house to see what we can see. I’m not even worried if they don’t like it. I’m worried that they WILL.
In this business, you meet a lot of different kinds of people, some good and some…challenging. And then you meet the kind of writer who goes above and beyond; who is not only talented in her chosen genre but supports other writers with a genuine desire to help which is very rare.
I met Eden through a Facebook group, and then won a copy of her book, Fall Into Winter. I don’t normally read erotica, but I am really happy to say I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying Eden’s work. Hers is a cut above erotica I’d experienced in the past; solid characters, solid plots with some extremely hawt bits included for spice. And baby, she’s spicy!
Please welcome a dear friend and a lovely person all the way around — Eden Baylee.
1. Your chosen genre is erotica, and hawt it is! Have you written anything in a different genre?
Thanks Annetta, that’s so sweet of you to say! As a matter of fact, I just completed a story for a holiday anthology that is completely non-erotic, and I’ll be writing outside of the erotica genre for other collaborative projects coming up.
Additionally, I post flash fiction on my blog, and many of my stories have erotic elements, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify them as erotica.
2. Why did you decide to write under a pen name, and how did you come up with it?
I chose to use a pen name because I intend to write in different genres, and it’s a good idea to differentiate identities. It was purely a business decision at the time. Whether I decide to use my real name in the future will depend on the project. Most readers know my writing isn’t just erotic, so I may even stick with Eden Baylee because I’ve built up a following under that name.
Coming up with the name was easy. I’ve always loved Eden and the letter “e,” (that’s quite obvious from my tagline, heh). I also wanted the name to look a certain way on my website, so it came about visually at first. Of course, it had to sound right and roll off the tongue, and I think I accomplished that.
3. What are your favorite genres to read and why?
I read everything—from autobiographies to thrillers to women’s literature. I can’t really say I have a favorite genre as much as a favorite author, and that’d be Charles Bukowski. I tend to be attracted to the crotchety old men, even in real life!
I’ve read almost everything he’s written, including all his poetry. The reason I love his writing is because it kicks me right in the gut. His book Ham on Rye is one I refer to often just to see the simplicity of his writing and how it elicits so much emotion from me. Of course, his poetry is always a great inspiration as well.
4. You decided to self-publish “Fall Into Winter”. What were your reasons?
I didn’t set out to self-publish at first, but it evolved into that as a result of rejections from publishers. That, coupled with my own impatience made me go the self-publish route, and I don’t regret it one bit.
I knew I could write and that I had good stories, so I took the critique of editors to structure my stories better, but I didn’t change the plot. As an example, my second story “Act Three” has a scene that conventional romance/erotica publishers would never buy—it borders on a taboo that is against their submission guidelines. I was told to change it before they’d consider it. That was fair, but in the end, I really didn’t want to change my story, so…
I think most writers have to contend with losing some control if they go the traditional route. By being self-published, I am totally in control, but there’s a lot more I have to do because of it.
5. What has been the most difficult aspect to self-publishing, in your opinion?
Ha! Great segue—doing it all. I write, promote, design, and develop my own marketing plan. I pay for a professional editor because there’s no way I can edit my own work. I truly believe writers have to pay for this if they want their work to be taken as seriously as those published by traditional houses.
6. Please describe your writing and editing process. Inquiring minds want to know!
Ha! I’m a pantser, bar none. Don’t ask me to explain my process. It will make no sense whatsoever because I don’t know how I do it. It’s akin to me asking my mother how she cooks a particular dish. She can’t explain it to me because she’s never had to think about it. There’s no recipe, and she measures nothing.
I must say I hate talking about the “craft” of writing, and I don’t deconstruct what I do. It’s not to put down those writers who have a plan, who use an outline, etc., but for me, the best way to learn how to write—is to read—a lot.
As for my editing process – I keep doing it until I’m sick of reading my words, and then I give it to a professional editor and pray it doesn’t come back splattered in red ink.
7. You have been incredibly supportive to other writers. How do you find the time?
Firstly, it’s my pleasure to be supportive of other writers, so I make the time to do it. I’d go crazy if all I had to think about were my own stories and thoughts, and just “me, me, me.” Writing is a solitary profession, and the last thing I need is to be wrapped up in my own ego 24/7.
8. What do you think has been the most help in selling books? What would you recommend to other writers?
Write a good book and get it professionally edited. If you don’t start off with this as a foundation, then everything else you do afterward will fail. If a reader cannot get through your book, then you’ve lost that small window of opportunity to win over a fan. The bottom line is nobody wants to buy garbage, regardless if it’s $4.99, $1.99, or free.
Once the book is ready, then do the social media, promoting, networking as much as your time permits, but first and foremost—you need a good product.
9. What is the one myth or inaccuracy about erotica you would like to dispel?
It’s only sex. Some people consider erotica just to be sex scenes strung together by a few commas and periods. That would be as interesting as watching paint dry. Good erotica incorporates plot, characterization, and all the elements required to tell a good story, not unlike any other genre. Sex is an important backdrop, but by no means can it stand alone and still be considered an erotic tale.
10. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
My follow-up anthology called Spring into Summer is scheduled for early 2012. It will have the same formula as Fall into Winter: 4 novellas – two will take place in the spring and two in the summer. I’ll have all the seasons covered (heh), and then I’m moving to full-length novels. I enjoy horror/thrillers with strong erotic elements, and would love to write something à la John Fowles’ The Magus – another of my favorite authors.
I also have stories scheduled for independent publications and will apprise once I know their release dates.
Thanks so much for having me on your fabulous site, Annetta! ‘Twas a pleasure!
Eden writes erotica incorporating all her favorite things: travel; culture; and sex. She enjoys weaving together stories with edgy themes, and sex is but one way to do it. Her first book, Fall into Winter, a collection of four erotic novellas, is currently available on Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sites located on her website.
He second anthology entitled Spring into Summer is due out early 2012.
Okay, so the Kindle edition of “Athena’s Promise” has been available since October 28th, right? And it’s gotten some amazing reviews, for which I am very grateful and overjoyed to see.
Athena’s Promise held my interest from the cover page to the end page. Pallas, the central character, rocks!!! ~Denise Battista
This book was funny, sassy, pro-woman, suspenseful, funny, and much more. I just had to find out what was on the next page until it was finished. ~B. Decker
I devoured this book! The heroine is fun, sassy and kick-butt with an attitude that doesn’t quit. The author has a unique voice, full of wit and snap. Her characters and setting are distinctive. ~Laura Eno
Ribken’s writing is very strong, full of snarking sarcasm that made me snort and giggle while tearing my heart out with Pallas’ need to protect the vulnerable ones she calls friends. ~Patti Larsen
But like any true bibliophile, the reality doesn’t hit until I have a physical copy in my hands. To wit:
How pretty is THAT?? I just about peed my britches when the UPS guy pulled up and unloaded. “They’re heavy,” he said.
“Not a problem,” said I, as I toted the box practically one-handed. Okay, it really took two hands, a lot of grunting, and there may have been sweat involved, but work with me here.
If you want an autographed copy, I still have a few left from the pre-ordering process. You can snag one by following this button right here:
The price is $11.99 plus S&H, a dollar off the price once it goes live on Amazon. This would make a great Christmas present to the urban fantasy lover on your list!
The first two chapters and part of the third are available to sample on Amazon if you want an idea of what you’re getting. Go ahead and take a look, and while you’re there, if you like what you read please hit the “Like” button on the page (it helps with rankings so people can find the book). Every little bit helps
I am so grateful for all the support and the great reception. There’s even a bonus first chapter included of the next in the series, “Athena’s Chains”, which I hope to release in Spring 2012, the gods willing and the creek don’t rise.
It was a really busy week last week — I had a visit from my Muffin and my GirlChild, and it was wonderful. Busy, but fabulous. Since it coincided with the launch of Athena’s Promise and Halloween, the whole week kind of passed in a blur. Which I suppose was a blessing in disguise, because otherwise I probably would have been a babbling mess obsessing over The Launch. Instead, I did my business and chased after a very active 3 year-old, who really put me through my paces.
Yep, he sure gave me a workout.
So, after a mega-busy week, what’s next?
Good question. I’m glad you asked.
In addition to a full editing schedule (my day job), I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring for NaNoWriMo in order to kick start the second book in the Aegian Trilogy, titled “Athena’s Chains”. (I’m Netta50 there, if you want a buddy.) It was a last minute decision, but I know if I didn’t incorporate some structure somewhere, I’d most likely procrastinate. I had set myself a tentative date for release of Spring 2012; now I just have to write the book. Heh.
Considering I wrote the bulk of Athena’s Promise in about eight weeks, I think I can handle this NaNo thing. That’s the plan.
Yeah, the menage a trois is kinky, but it works for us. Heh.
I have another author/artist interview scheduled for Friday with the incomparable Rebecca Treadway, and I’m really looking forward to that.
Not only has Athena’s Promise been released, six pieces I’ve had the honor to edit have also been released by Etopia Press. Some really great stories there, I hope you’ll check them out if you’re in the market for some good reads.
And last, but not least, a short word about releasing a book as an independent-type:
It’s a lot of work, peeps. I’ve learned so much from this process, I can’t even tell you. It’s also totally nerve-wracking. No matter how much you believe in your work, there’s always that anxiety about whether or not the Public At Large is going to like it or want to throw rotten tomatoes at you.
Fortunately, Athena’s Promise has already received some wonderful reviews, and not only does that make me feel proud and grateful, I’m also very appreciative of the people who took the time out from their busy lives to not only read the book, but also leave encouraging words. The truth is, I’m an “indie”. I don’t have a big marketing budget, and like everyone else trying to carve out a space for themselves, I am dependent on word of mouth to get the word out.
If you like what you read, and this goes for any independent artist you love, click the “Like” buttons on Amazon, which helps with ranking; take the time to jot even just a few words about what you’ve read; tell your friends and family about the book; Tweet if you’re a Twitter, post a link on Facebook, purchase books for Christmas gifts — in other words, do everything you can to help promote your author. YOU, the reader, are all we have, you see. In return, we will keep writing and hopefully give you more of what you love. See how that works? Because WE LOVE YOU.
There’s no way we can do it without you.
And that’s the end of the self-promotion thing, which although necessary, is also rather uncomfortable. Writers generally have a hard time with this part of the business. It doesn’t help that social media has been inundated with a whole bunch of self-promotion, where it seems people have forgotten the basic premise of social media — which is, to wit, SOCIAL INTERACTION. I’ve blogged about before. It’s a fine line, and a difficult one to walk, no doubt about it. *sigh*
In the meantime, I’m going to practice what I preach and write the next book. Pallas is antsy and she has a problem. Several problems, actually. Heh.
By the way — thanks for all the support. I am constantly gobsmacked and very grateful for it. And I never, ever take it for granted. *MUAH*
So, now we have that out of the way, let me just say this has been such a roller-coaster experience. I don’t remember it being so intense when I put out “Not Nice” last year. Of course, that could be a case of selective amnesia, heh.
This time, I took notes. Lots and lots of notes, because I intend to release “Athena’s Chains” in the spring of 2012. Believe me, I hear the clock ticking already. However, one of the great things about being fully in the driver’s seat of your own publishing business is the fact you are the one determining the scheduling. Although that can be stressful, it’s quite liberating.
Giving birth to a novel is really similar to giving birth to a child, I have come to think. You have your gestation period, where you conceive the idea and start writing. You might think once you’ve finished it, the hard part is over — but you’d be very, very wrong.
The early stages of labor — beta reads and editing. *Sigh* Just like in real labor, this stage can take forever, to the point where you start to wonder if you will EVER BE DONE WITH THIS DAMNED THING. Honestly, I was editing up to the very last minute, and then I had to quit picking at it like a scab and let it go. That was probably the hardest part, for me.
In the second stage, you’re wrangling with covers, trailers, and trying to formulate some kind of marketing plan. The deadline fast approaches and you start hyperventilating, trying to figure out how to fit 97 hours in one day. Tip: you can’t.
Then, the actual delivery. For the record, I hate formatting. Here is where my anal and compulsive personality is both a blessing and a curse. It helps to keep in mind print is vastly different than electronic and I must extend many blessings to the creators of Mobi Creator for making the electronic conversion so easy I about wet my pants.
Print is a different story. Designing a print book is an art form. I felt like a baboon with crayons.
Honestly, this was very difficult. Mostly because I wanted the print version to look every bit as professional as a book released by a legacy publisher. And friends and neighbors, that is not as easy as one would wish, just like delivering a baby. It’s painful, messy and it made me scream, bleed, yell and not only use every cuss word in my vocabulary (which is quite extensive) but made me invent even more crass ways to express my frustration.
But in the end? I have a beautiful baby, and I can’t stop looking at her. I’m happy, relieved, and feeling all kinds of awesome.
I really hope you’ll check out “Athena’s Promise” and tell me what you think, whether in a private email or even better, on a review. Because, just like having a baby, once you deliver the hard part starts. Now I have to devote myself to raising her and introducing her to the World At Large. It takes a village, and I’m counting on my peeps to help me get word about Pallas out to the unsuspecting. So if you can spare a Tweet, an update, or want to write a review or even interview me, feel free
I’ve lived and breathed in Pallas’s world for two years. I know the journey isn’t over yet, but I’m ready. I think she is, too.
Thanks to all of you for the wonderful support. I appreciate it more than I can ever say. *MUAH* !!
Okay, I’ve held this in as long as I can. Please note this NettaRant ™ is not directed to anyone in particular — but if you’re uncomfortable reading it or if it pisses you off on some level, chances are this rant applies to you.
*Sigh* I really hate having this conversation, and I’ll admit I’m overworked and a bit crabby. I blame the Ring of Fire and the triple digit temperatures. And the fact I may have a normally crabby type of temperament. Plus the fact I just can’t keep a good rant to myself. It makes me feel bloated, like after you eat a large meal including cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or broccoli.
OR! Like you’ve been force-fed something you wouldn’t ordinarily eat!
What am I talking about? Marketing. Specifically, marketing a book.
My social networks are full of people who both read and write books, novels, short stories, etc. I understand the need to promote yourself — I’m a novelist, too, and I’ve self-published. Even those who have a legacy publishing contract have to do the majority of their own promotion. It’s a necessary evil of the job. I get it.
But look. If all I ever hear out of you are promotional efforts about your book/interview/blog post, I’m going to unfollow your ass, capish? I appreciate the fact you’re trying to sell your book, but what I don’t appreciate is the constant fucking infomercial about where to find your book, how great people think your book is, the fact your book is now for sale, and the constant begging to “like” pages, reviews, visit here, look at this, SEE ME AND SEE MY BOOK. I get it already!
Posting the same thing forty-seven times a day on every conceivable social networking site is not going to entice me to buy your book. As a matter of fact, it’s going to piss me off. Can you not talk about anything else? Is there no other social engagement of any kind?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about people who promote their book and socially engage. I’m talking about the irritating, annoying, constant barrage of SEEMYBOOKTHISISMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKPASSITALONG
Come on. You know it pisses you off too. From people who never comment on anything you post, never offer a personal word, never engage in conversation unless it has something to do with THEIR BOOK.
Honestly, I do understand how difficult it is to promote your book, how necessary and I support the indie movement. But please, take one minute and think this over, okay?
You’re on Facebook and you have friends/family. You also have a fan page. This is great, and I would expect you to inform both groups updates about your book and maybe teasers, glimpses into artwork, how the whole process is coming along. What you don’t need to do is post every damned hour about where your book can be purchased. Once you post a couple of times, your people are going to know where to find you. Why are you beating that poor, dead horse?
But NETTA! How am I supposed to sell my book if I don’t continuously bang people over the head with a hammer? Isn’t that how sales work?
Well, that’s how *hard* sales work, but it’s not really all that effective when it comes to the internet crowd. Internet peeps are on to that hard-sell advertising crap, and what you should probably do is understand using social networking to promote your product is a tricky business. I’ve had people tell me promoting via Twitter is totally unproductive — then I look at their Twitter stream only to see nothing but promotion of their work, a few re-Tweets, and no engagement of any kind. They’re called SOCIAL NETWORKS for a reason, people!
If all you do is post stuff about your book and don’t ever have a conversation about something else, you’re doing it wrong. Social networking is about building relationships with people, and believe it or not, the sales follow. Radical idea, isn’t it?
So, yeah. Tweet me once in a while. Comment now and then on a post. Promote other people you believe in. Don’t just toot your own horn exclusively, because trust me, it gets old FAST.
Now you kids git offa my lawn!
All I’m saying is think about what you’re doing before you alienate people with your Magic Bullet bullshit. Yes, promote your book and be proud! You should be. But step away from the Hammer lest it be wrenched from your grasp and used to whip your ass.
It’s been a very busy summer, and it’s only been summer for a week. I’m sure not complaining, just trying to keep up and keep it going. It’s more difficult than it sounds.
I’m very happy with the beta responses to “Athena’s Promise”, and the revisions shouldn’t take long at all. I’ve even started the first chapter of “Athena’s Chains” and I plan on having that done before I release AP so I can include it. Of course, that brings me to the Ultimate Plan.
I have no idea what the Ultimate Plan is. Besides total Universal Literary Domination, that is. How to get there is the real question.
With the publishing world in such flux, I’m really struggling with making a decision on which way to jump. Do I trust my precious work to a “legacy” publisher and hope for the best? Go with a small press, an indie press and retain a better measure of control? Or do I indulge my inner control freak, and blaze the trail on my own?
I’ve been back and forth so many times I’m dizzy.
I won’t go in to all the pros and cons of each path or I’d be here all night. Suffice to say it’s not an easy decision and I will most likely wait to make a decision until next week.
Why wait, you ask? Well, because of the First Annual Intergalactic Pretendacon Sporkfest (A Very Serious Writing Conference). I plan on picking the brain of my esteemed colleagues, all of whom are in various stages of their own successful writing careers and whose opinions I value highly. I am very, very excited about this conference, especially since one of the participants I have known for nearly a decade yet have never met in person.
I will be connecting with my tribe. Like the Bee Girl. I’m so happy
In the meantime, I plan to keep writing. And editing. And writing some more.
I have a great support system, online and offline. I have great friends and special people supporting me, and I appreciate that more than I can say. Although there have been, and probably will be, very difficult times, I still consider myself quite fortunate.
I’m old enough to know everything works out the way it’s supposed to, so I guess for now I’ll just hang on to that.
One of the biggest changes and one I am ecstatic over, is the position I’ve accepted at Etopia Press as a Content Editor. I am over the moon.
I am so happy about this because fiction has always been my first love, story my passion. I really enjoy working with new authors and taking a manuscript to the next level. This position allows me to expand my scope and exercise my Mad Editing Skillz, as well as provide an opportunity to meet and work with some outstanding authors. I am very excited about this!
I decided to sign with Etopia for many reasons. One of them was because of the fabulous Managing Editor and founder, Annie Melton. Not only is she smart and savvy, she and I share the same driving passion for story and what really resonates with me is her respect for writers in general. She gets it. Annie has a lot of experience in the publishing and editing field, and she has the kind of high standards I can get behind 100%. I feel very fortunate.
So, if you are interested in working with an indie press dedicated to nurturing and supporting both new and established writers, take a look at Etopia Press. If you think it would be a fit, use their submission form and if you would like to work with me, include my name. If accepted, your story, novella or novel will come to me and we would get to play together! Doesn’t that sound like fun?!
I am interested in all genres, but I will admit a fondness for speculative fiction, horror, paranormal, urban fantasy…you get the picture. Length doesn’t matter (so many jokes here, so little time, but I’ll spare you, heh!) because I love short stories as much as I do longer works.
Send me what you have! I’d love to see it.
And not so much of a change, but in addition, I have some new releases on my Amazon. Three of the covers I did myself, but the cover of The Blood is Not Enough was done by Laurie O’Hare who totally nailed it on the first try. I love this cover so much, I’m thinking about getting a tattoo. The story means a lot to me, and could be in development as a longer work.
My other cover, for Of Virgins and Indigestion was done by graphic artist Rebecca Treadway. She brought George to life, and it is SO COOL! This is the first Netta Character ever to have a face, and I’m so happy with it. I love George, bless his heart.
For something new, I’ve released a volume of twelve stories called Musical Chairs – A Jamming Bio, a unique look at significant memories over a period of time inexorably linked to a selection of popular music.
More projects in the works as time allows. Stay tuned.
Another major change in Netta-Land is I’ve decided, except for a few select clients, to retire from writing web copy. I’ve had a good run, but it looks as though the Universe is poking me to travel in a different direction. To that end, I am currently on the hunt for an Outside Job Involving Real People. (Oh, the horror! Heh. For me, not them! Although some people may differ on that opinion.)
I’ve chosen to do this for many reasons. The main reason is I want to focus on my editing and writing endeavors. Right now that’s not enough to support me, so I will have to adapt. I can do that.
Another reason is I have become increasingly disenchanted with writing web copy, and this is partly due to the demanding deadlines. Now, I don’t have a problem with deadlines, and I have made it a priority to never miss one and I am proud to say I haven’t. But it is extremely wearing to always be “on alert”, so-to-speak, especially with other factors becoming major issues.
“What factors, Netta?”
Well, I’m glad you asked that question, Dear Reader. Factors like low pay, unreliable payments, disrespect and general Fucktardary (sure to be the subject of another NettaRant. I’m sure you can’t wait). I’ve had enough, to be perfectly blunt. Truth is, I know the world of fiction and publishing a lot better than I know the world of web copy, and I’m much more comfortable with fiction. I’ve straddled the line for almost three years, and it’s time to pick a side.
So, I have.
I don’t count my years writing web copy full-time as a loss. I have learned so much that will serve me well in the fiction arena, and I feel as if those lessons will give me an edge. I’ve met and worked with some fabulous people, and I’ll still be working with a select few. I also feel as if it’s time to put my butt on the line in a different way, and to that end I will focus my energy on what I truly love to do.
Change is the only constant. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.
It happens. You, the writer, get a critique or a review of your work that makes you want to throw yourself under a bus. Or, throw the reviewer under the bus and set the remains on fire. Understandable, and we can all relate. However, reacting like this is one of the best examples I have run across to argue against a writer ever reading a review of their own work.
Whoa. That was ugly in the extreme.
Now, to my mind, the review was actually very generous. The reviewer pointed out, very respectfully, that the manuscript in question really needed some help in the typo and grammar area, but the story was basically sound. That doesn’t sound so bad, but something triggered off a public meltdown of epic proportions. Instead of taking the review as constructive criticism, this writer decided to take it to a whole new level and not only ranted and raved, actually dropped the “F” bomb and blew her chances of having any kind of a career right out of the water.
It doesn’t really matter that she is self-published. I have witnessed other meltdowns similar in scope from traditionally published authors. That being said, reactions like this from a self-published author only add to the stigma we independent types are trying to dispel. Trust me, we aren’t all like this poor woman. Most of us are well aware of the valuable service dedicated book bloggers and reviewers offer us. We know, as independent writers, word of mouth is imperative and invaluable to our careers and act accordingly.
The question now making the rounds of the ‘net is…do you read your own reviews? Furthermore, what is the etiquette when someone does review your book? Do you comment on the post, contact them privately or just let sleeping dogs lie?
First of all, if you can’t accept that not every one is going to love your work, you need to find something else to do with your time. When I started in this business, I received some critiques that burned my eyebrows from my very head. Some made me cry. However, I was just grateful that someone took the time out to read my drivel and offered suggestions of how to improve or simply pointed out what did not work for them. It’s not personal — it’s business. The problem for some people is it can be very difficult to separate these two concepts. The truth is, writers invest so much into their work it feels personal when someone has something less than totally complimentary to say.
Get over it.
A review is an opinion. Take what good you can from it and move on. Your focus, as a writer, should be on improving and writing, not weeping and wailing. If you see a trend developing, then it’s likely there’s something there to which you should be paying attention. It’s not a personal attack on your character, it’s an evaluation of your work and how it affects others. Isn’t that the damned point of writing in the first place?
If you absolutely cannot take constructive criticism, then maybe it’s best if you don’t publish anything at all. Or, at the very least, send a minion to read your reviews and only tell you about the good ones, which, in my opinion, really cuts you off from some valuable information. But, the choice is yours.
Second, should you contact the reviewer, good bad or indifferent?
I say if you want to thank them privately by email, by all means. You can always take a look at their blog and see if there is any kind of a precedent, but normally I would keep any correspondence private. It just seems best.
If it’s a bad review, move on and keep your mouth shut. Vent, if you must, to close friends and family, but be careful about that, also. Be polite and take the higher road — one review doesn’t make or break a career, but if your reviews all say the same thing, it might be worth it to pay attention.
Don’t Tweet, don’t Facebook, and for heaven’s sake, don’t show the world you are a psycho-crazy-bitch and kill your career before it even gets started.