Blog Hopping, I See Stars!   Leave a comment

Posted October 7, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in #openbook

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Refrain from Childish Behavior   15 comments

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

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How Dare You Criticize Me?

No book in literary history has been universally loved, which makes reading reviews scary and sometimes frustrating. I remember getting my first — and so far only — 1-star review. Ouch! It felt like I’d been spit on and the guy had totally gotten me wrong. I wanted to message him and correct his errors.

I’ve also had a good review where it was clear the person reviewing hadn’t read the book. Thanks for being nice, but — why? I wanted to message the reviewer and ask that question.

I didn’t. In either case. I still wanted to address the negative reviewer, but I know responding in social media would backfire on me, as would reaching out directly, and I’m not interested in getting into a battle with someone who is pissed because I gored his sacred cow. In the next book, in the author’s notes, I explained I think the military, absent its chain of command, would “go rogue” in an apocalyptic setting. I’ve got historical evidence on my side. It’s fiction. Maybe using a novel to point out the flaws of top-down command-and-control will prevent those flaws from becoming reality if the apocalypse ever does occur.

So, besides clarifying my position occasionally, how do I cope with reviews I don’t like?

Keep It in Perspective

Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, Susan Collins, and Kate Elliott have more bad reviews than I do. How do I know that? I read their reviews. They’ve got thousands of them and hundreds of them are negative. That doesn’t seem to have stopped them from being best-selling authors.

People are still buying Stephen King’s books despite his bad reviews. People are still reading and buying my books — and reading the next book in the series — despite that bad review. The ultimate review, in my opinion, is coin in my bank account and that’s happening … despite that bad review, despite the pointless review that didn’t make an ounce of sense. If people are still reading my books regularly, then I’ll accept an occasional bad review as the price of doing business.

Balance is Good Thing

If a book has 1,000 5-star reviews without a single negative one, that makes me suspicious that the publisher has somehow rigged the system and flooded the book site with fakes. I think having diverse reviews and ratings shows an author has diverse readers, and yeah, not everyone is going to like my book, my characters, or my writing style.

Don’t Shame Reviewers Online

I see authors sharing their negative reviews. I see them shaming the readers and the person who left that review. What do they think that behavior will achieve?

It doesn’t encourage me to read their book. It puts me off. It makes them come across as childish and unprofessional.

You get what I am saying, right? I know nowadays the authors interact more with readers and fans, but does that mean we should shame them because they happen to have an opinion we don’t like? Even if it is about our book? Even if they are unknown to us? Even if they left us a 1-star review that made us curl in a corner and cry, should an author push back against that?

I have never seen anything good come from an author sharing negative reviews on social media, so I don’t recommend it and I don’t do it.

Learn From The Negatives

I still read my reviews because I use them as a learning tool. If the negative ones have a them — they’re all saying the same thing — then there’s something there I might need to address in my writing, editing, whatever. I’m not going to change my opinion about what the unsupervised military would do in an apocalyptic event, but if someone brings up spelling, grammar, characterizations that are unrealistic, factual errors — every criticism is a learning opportunity, so I’d be a fool not to read them.

What About the Good Ones?

The majorities of my reviews are positive and sometimes I want to reach out and say “Thank you”, but I’m not convinced authors should reply to positive reviews either. Think about that. Stalking your readers – a little creepy, right? I think it might have a chilling effect on reviews. I don’t like the feeling of anyone looking over my shoulder when I’m doing anything. It’s probably something wrong with my sense of self-worth or whatever, but seriously, it bugs me. So why would I do that to someone else?

Honest reviews are hard enough to come by without setting up any barriers to readers leaving a review.

But hey, an occasional THANK YOU is classy, just keep it non-specific to all reviewers rather than addressing them directly.

Indie Authors Among Them

Posted October 7, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Ransomed   Leave a comment

A Taste of “Gathering In” – 1   1 comment

The latest book in Transformation Project – Gathering In – launches October 22. It’s the 5th book in the series about a small mid-western town that must cope when terrorists bomb distant cities and disrupt communications, transportation and supply lines. Already a self-sufficient people, the folks in Emmaus form their own disaster plan, dealing with challenges like protecting their livestock and themselves from radioactive rain, dealing with the breakdown of modern technology, and starting a war with the USDA to keep their crops from being confiscated. In the 4th book, Day’s End, they dealt with a smashed electrical grid, the fall of the big cities, and migrants on the move away from the encroaching winter.

So what more could I put these people through?


From the Prologue

It’s funny how your perspective on who is your neighbor can change when resources become scarce. Emmaus lucked out compared to most places after the Pulse. We were surrounded by corn. When we harvested all that belonged to us or the corporations abandoned, we had enough food to last until December or January. Or to feed half the five thousand residents who lived in the area until spring, when hopefully things might change for the better. Some families had more. The farmers had more. Most of them wanted something in return for sharing, which meant that shopkeepers, mayors and school teachers had to find something they could trade. Without electricity and with a lot of engines permanently stalled by the Pulse that most often meant labor.

Passersby, running from the cold northern winter that loomed – well, they weren’t welcome at all. Day after day, they pushed past our borders, now secured by electrified barbed wire and men and women carrying AR15s. It felt so wrong and yet there was no arguing with the fact those migrants represented starvation for us. It wasn’t our fault they hadn’t prepared for terrorist attacks. We hadn’t expected to either, but we’d grown the food so it was ours. We either secured our borders so we who were inside could live – maybe – or we didn’t, and we all starved.

In a world that had spun out of control, there were no good answers for how to live our increasingly fragile lives. Some reached out, others turned in, and some would make decisions with devastating results. And none of them were evil – not the migrants, not the townspeople — maybe the USDA.

JT Delaney

Gathering In is available for Pre-Order at $1.99 until October 21, but be aware the price increases by $2 after launch. If you’re interested in doing a review, however, contact me and we can work out a deal for an ARC — including the rest of the series if you haven’t read it yet.

Posted October 4, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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#OpenBook – How do you move past writer’s block?   Leave a comment

Roberta Writes

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This week’s topic is easy for me. I have never had writers block. I don’t think I have been writing long enough for it to have struck yet.

I started writing in January 2015 and published my first Sir Chocolate book, Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook in August 2016. Since then I have written the following books and WIPS:

  • Five further books in the Sir Chocolate series for young children, aged between 3 and 7 years old, with three more written and more or less final;
  • One book for middle school children called Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, with another book in this series, Silly Willy goes to London three thirds finished;
  • One historical novella for older teens about my mom’s life growing up in WWII in a small English town in Suffolk, England. Book 2 in this series, After the Bombs Fell, is…

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Posted September 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 30th September   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week the topic is:

‘How do you move past writer’s block?’

That’s easy … I don’t start another novel until the inspiration strikes again!

Readers can always tell if you’re writing just for the sake of trying to write something.  What usually comes of this is shite.  Sometimes it will take me 6 months to come up with another idea, but until then I’m happy writing blogs, reading more and writing reviews.

I don’t feel the need to be writing all the time.  This is a hobby for me, and so it becomes less pleasurable if I’m trying to force words out because I feel guilty if I’m not writing.  What’s the point?  I’ve got my paid work to keep me occupied, and I like taking long walks to see if inspiration might strike, but hey, if it doesn’t then I’m not really that worried.

I now write…

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Posted September 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

I Don’t See No Stinkin’ Writer’s Block   Leave a comment

Lyndell Williams

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How do you move past writer's block?

I never get writer’s block. I may say I do but not really. What I usually experience is more like a hurdle to clear and keep things moving. A basic definition of writer’s block is, “the condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something in your mind prevents you from doing it.” Other definitions describe it as an inability to write—as if there a mystical wall keeping words stuck in the mind or a force imprisoning creativity. There are reasons why a writer can’t write, and it is not always psychological or due to “having something on your mind.”

Through years of academic, professional, teaching and coaching writing, I learned a few things about the ominous “writer’s block” and the external and internal factors that drive writers to fall back on what is ultimately an excuse, a…

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Posted September 30, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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