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Sunday, February 5, 2012

It Builds Character

As a boy growing up with a strict father who was a Air Force Drill Instructor, a Cop in California during the late sixties to early seventies, and a Senior Construction Superintendent.   I was told many times to, "Stop crying!  This will build character."

Reviews of Authors work is a fickle Beast at best.
 
I recently signed up for a promotional thing being put on by the website Goodreads dot com, where they would give away copies of my book to people who wanted to read it and write a review with in two weeks.  I agreed to give away 20 E-copies of my book.  I didn't expect for twenty people to sign up to read my book so I agreed they could give away as many copies as people signed for!  My day at bat came up and I ended up giving away 21 copies.  I was elated!  Twenty-one people were going to read my book and write a review of it. 

I belong to a book club made up of myself and seven ladies from my church.  We all don't like or agree about every book we read.  So I knew going into this that not everybody was going to enjoy the book.  Not everybody was going to GET IT!  There would be some less than favorable reviews!
I also suspected there would be some comments about the level of editing and the English/Grammar of the book.  I rushed to get it published.  The excitement of publishing my second book after so many months of rewriting and editing, I was ready to be done and move on.  Plus I didn't want to have published only one book, a fluke, a splash and then nothing.  If I did it once I could do it again and impatience and inexperience won out!  Premature Publication!

The results have left me feeling like my character has been worked over!  Of twenty-one copies given away thirteen actually wrote reviews or rated the book.  This is a break down of all my reviews to date from Goodreads.

One Star Rating           1

Two Star Rating          4

Three Star Rating        6

Four Star Rating          2

Five Star Rating           5

Yes, the editing and English got ripped a new one.  Which that falls squarely on my shoulders because I rushed it and I published it!  But English and Grammar can be fixed!  In time each of my first two books can be re-edited and re-downloaded to the appropriate sites and that problem will be fixed.

Five bad reviews out of eighteen is twenty-seven percent.  Five, five star ratings out of eighteen is also twenty-seven percent.  The five and four star ratings together equals thirty-eight percent.  Which is still above the the thirty-three percent which rated it as average with three stars.  But then two of the four admit in the reviews they had different expectations of the book and it was not their usual genre!  If you read a book on auto mechanics expecting a book on cooking then it is to be expected that you might be disappointed.  But they are both about fixing things?

My point is that if it is not your usual genre or type of book you enjoy why would you sign up to review it?  For a free book?  To see how many books you can blow through in a year!  The speed reading, guessing at what they think they read, and then reviewing the book is doing everybody a disservice. 

            A) If you're going to read a book so fast you can't enjoy it, thoroughly read it and understand what you're reading, then why read it?

            B) If you're speed reading, trying to speed read, skimming, don't review the book!

            C) If you're not enjoying a book, why in the hell would you finish it?  Life is too short!  Move on to something better, and you sure as hell should not waste the time to write a review of something you didn't like, didn't understand, and couldn't get in too!  What's the point!

I feel like some people must be so freaking un-happy in life that they lash out at anything they don't feel is just so and doesn't fit into their little box of what the world should be.  They use things like product, book and customer surveys to lash out at the world.  Maybe they wouldn't be so angry if they could find a way to let it go, and just move on to something they do like, focus on things they enjoy and let the other stuff go.  Stop spreading negativity and lashing out just because you can.

I say all this because most of the reviews were average.  Many more from other sources, people who have paid for the books have provided wonderful reviews.

Two statements have been repeated over and over again through reviews of my poorly written works:
     1.  I couldn't put it down, it's a real page turner, or hang on to your seat!
     2.  I have never read anything like this! 
The second one is the most inspiring praise I have gotten to date and it was repeated three times out of the twelve reviews and once by another reviewer!

I get that the English and Grammar are important, but so is doing something rather than nothing. 

I am not sitting around with my thumb up my ass dreaming of writing a book, or of getting my book published, or wondering what people think of my work!  Some people love it!  It makes me happy writing.  I have written two books and they are both published.  I have a new and improved stronger character and the wisdom gained from the stuff I have done.  I am 45 years old and not getting any younger.  I will keep writing, getting better and polishing my craft until it has a blinding sheen.  At least my books aren't banned yet!  An author can only hope!

I remember hearing Billy Joel comment about his song, "Only the Good DieYoung", which churches had banned because it was considered Evil.  It became one of his all time best selling songs.  He said he wished the church would Ban the rest of his music!

Keep Writing, God Bless, and don’t fret as others try to trample on your dreams.


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