How do you deal with bad reviews?
I find myself on tenterhooks, waiting for the first review to go up for Quest in Time: A Beginning. I have also just finished reading a book by another independent author, and have to write a review for that. So, book reviews are up there at the moment, vying for attention, along with, how do I pay the rent this month? Are we going to get another dog? And, where is my coffee?
Firstly, it is impossible to overstress how important reviews are for the indie author. We are unknowns. We do not have the backing and publicity machines associated with the big publishing houses. Our books do not get sent FOC to newspapers and other organisations for critic. WH Smiths do not have our books on the shelves or huge cardboard cut-outs of our front covers in the window. A press release for us is a write-up in the local paper, if we are lucky. Therefore, reviews of our books on Amazon, Goodreads and social media are the only way potential readers can get an idea of whether or not to part with their hard earned cash for our works.
So far I have been lucky; Bubble of Time hasn’t had any particularly bad reviews. The worst has been a two star review which was critical of the Devonian accent of several of my main characters. Otherwise, they have all had something nice to say and mostly been five star reviews. Therefore, it could be said, that I have not had to deal with a bad review. However, it doesn’t stop me worrying that the first review for QIT:AB will rip it to pieces, and will put off other people from buying it. I know my books won’t appeal to everyone; even the great STP had his critics and dissenters. But the first review…
I know the book I have to write a review for has had some shocking reviews. I don’t understand why. Perhaps they were expecting something else? True, the book is hardly a JRRT work, but it is an interesting fantasy story that has been told well. Yes, it is simplistic, but why does that matter? Surely the enjoyment is in the story itself and not in deciphering some huge political back-story or some complicated, multi-generational character angst? And since it is the second in a trilogy, why, when they have trashed the first volume, have they even bothered to read the second book, only to trash that one as well?
I do not pretend to understand the human psyche, and therefore, to me, a bad review is something I’ll take on the chin. As long as the majority of reviews are five star, I won’t worry too much about the odd bad one. I know my work will not appeal to everyone, no author ever does. But the first review…
So, please, please, PLEASE post a review.
Why do you write? What motivates you to write?
Another stock question that raises its head in author interviews. But however the question is worded, it is all the more relevant to independent authors than it is to those who have sold their soul to a big publishing house. And whilst it is true that many of (myself included) hope to one day earn a living from our work, basically the odds are so stacked against it happening that we might as well spend the money we put into our books on lottery tickets. The likelihood of making it rich are certainly a lot better.
So, if money is not the motivation, then why?
How do you plan your work?
Firstly, my apologies. I know it has been a while since my last blog post but, as you may have seen from Facebook, I have taken over a tools stall in my local market in an effort to pay the bills. Well that's the idea anyway. Market stalls in Britain in late winter/early spring are not necessarily the best place to try and earn a living, unless of course you are lucky enough to be inside. So far I've been paying for stock and bills for the stall instead of the other way around, but the warmer, and hopefully drier months are to come and hopefully customers will come with it... If you wish to learn more then check out Tiverton Tools on Facebook.
What drives you to write?
Since the release of Bubble of Time I have done a number of author interviews and inevitably I get asked “what drives you to write?” or something very similar. And each time my answer has been basically along the same lines but limited by the amount of time I’ve had to think about it, a few minutes for a web post or split seconds for radio interviews. So for me and many other authors it has become the focus for navel gazing along with other important philosophical questions like “who am I?” “why am I here?” and “why have I just spilt cold coffee all down my front?”
So, having given it some serious thought, what does drive me to write? A need to express myself? A need to be heard in a crowd? A desire to entertain others? It’s certainly not for fame and fortune. Whilst success stories of indie writers making it big are common, they are in a very small minority. True, my aim is to make a living out of writing… eventually…hopefully, but that is not it either. I have found that my desire to write comes from a much more fundamental and arguably the greatest gift that mankind has, our imagination.
Today is a very exciting day! Quest in Time: A Beginning, will be released on Kindle on the 1st of September and is now available to pre-order
The paper back will be out later in September!
Another 5 star review on http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BNWH4KI