Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Morning Coffee

This is apparently the beginning of a 3-part accidental series of "on reviews and reviewing" here on Thursday Morning Coffee. Consider yourself warned (grin).

 Good morning, darlings! Welcome to Thursday Morning Coffee. I've had a lovely couple of days off, but it's back to the grindstone today, as my "weekend to work" apparently starts on Thursday morning. It's been a great week.

News: Out of the Dungeon came out of the Amazon KDP Select program last weekend, so I purchased an AWESOME photo for a new cover to celebrate its exciting return to Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

So why didn't I enroll Out of the Dungeon in the KDP Select program for another 90 days, you ask? Well, that's a fine question.

New Cover
The coolest thing about the Select program (at least for me) wasn't the lending library that is supposedly so wonderful and lucrative.  Nope.

The coolest thing for me was the 5 free promotional days. It was so much fun to look at the reports on those days and see 200 or 300 downloads a day - OMG! The book was free those days, so I wasn't making money, but to think that many people will be reading my book - YAY! That is the best!

I don't do this writing books thing for money. I do it primarily for my own entertainment. Publishing is fun because other people get to share my naughty little world. It's not necessary for my happiness, though, and I don't need pats and praise about my work.

Do I like pats and praise? Well, of course I do!

I love book reviewers, and fans, and building "mutual admiration societies" with other writers. I think it's a ball when people follow me on Twitter, or Pinterest, or Goodreads, and I am thrilled every time someone has taken the time to write a review of one of my books.

Love it, love it, love it.

My Books page contains review links for each book - the links go to a pre-dated blog post, and from there are all the links to all the reviews I can find, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If someone took the time to review my book, I own it, even the less-than-4-star reviews.

It startles me when writers dismiss critical reviews, because how do I know that I'm not getting my job done if people don't tell me? Yes, I have my small circle of crit partners, and for some of my books I've had small press editors and copy editors - but how can I know that I'm really getting the story in my head onto the page correctly without feedback from readers?

I can't. The reviewer who gives me 3 stars and tells me where I screwed up is my friend. Because this is the reader I want to impress next time around. Or this is the reader I keep in mind if I have an opportunity to revise the work.

What have I learned from reviewers?

1) Readers can tell that I was in a hurry to finish Above the Dungeon. Almost everyone who reviewed the book wrote that they felt the ending was rushed.

It was. I pushed myself to finish it before the best ending was solid in my head.

Who cares, right? Can't change it now.

Ahh, but the beauty of the ebook is that I CAN change it. And, at some point, I believe I will.

2) Readers of M/M erotica did NOT care for the F/F and M/F pairings in Out of the Dungeon. Who knew?

Will I change this? It's something to think about, especially considering I just re-read the book on my Kindle. I found way too many typos for my own comfort, so one way or another, I will be revising the manuscript.

But no, I won't be changing the content significantly.

The F/F and M/F pairings are true to the characters in the story. But I do need to add a notation to the product description, so readers will know what to expect.

And readers of M/M erotic romance who have no interest in such pairings (even if the pairings are true to the story) can skip this book.

What? Skip this book? Wait, wait, wait - that doesn't jive with shameless self-promotion. WTF? Didn't I drink the self-promotional Kool-Aid?

Umm. No. I did not. And I won't give up my integrity to gain a reader.

More on this next week, but because I have to work tomorrow, we now move to Thursday Morning Poetry.

Here's a poem written by Jeff in Out of the Dungeon:

The weight of this chain is
Almost more than I can stand
To watch another bend to
The will of my Master's hand.
How can I keep my heart content
While averting desperate eyes
Pretending I am whole and perfect
While keeping fear in fine disguise?
This part of me is dying
That reveled under lock and key
But how can I ask for unhappiness
For the man who is Everything to me?

~Jeff Johnson (Out of the Dungeon)


  1. Thank you for taking such a professional view of posts and reviews. The most important part of art is sincerity. The most important thing in review is honesty. But kindness is also important and we who don't write fiction but write about it have to remember there are ways to be honest without a big stick.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Steph. Next Thursday I will be pondering if writers should continue to be reviewers... maybe sometimes my stick might is too big - and perhaps what I think is honesty turns out to be arrogance... it will be an interesting topic!

  3. Yes, a very nice contribution to the discussion. I've been trying to keep my head down in the recent fray, but it's a bit disturbing...on both sides, at times. I'm with you, though...why would any author bash reviewers who are giving their honest opinion? At best, it will help with the next book, (or even the current one, like you said). At worst, it's one person's opinion, and what you write isn't their thing. They're entitled, lol!