Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG Reviews and Questions

It is the first Wednesday of December and the last Wednesday of 2016. Happy Holidays!
Time to share your thoughts, insecurities, frustrations, etc., etc. In other words it is time for the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This baby has grown into an impressive community of writers and authors. If you would like to read what others have said go here.

UpDate: The review that I discuss below has been changed to read: I have to say I was underwhelmed by these stories. 

I do not like research. Of course as with any good writer, I do research. So what is the IWSG question of the week? I have trouble finding it every time even though my lovely friends have told me where to go. Ugh! I will add it to the bottom of this post. When I find it.


The bane of all authors. Or so it would seem. A review can be thrilling and send you into orbit. It can be constructive and give you a glimpse into what works with your book and what doesn't. A review can be so discouraging that you want to give up altogether. Is it really worth the aggravation?

All published authors know the importance of reviews. We try to encourage our readers to leave one. A book I read recently advised to request a short blurb from readers. Review or blurb, both are necessary.

So how do you view your reviews?

I get excited when I see there is a new review. I've been fortunate in that most of my reviews are positive, even better than I had hoped. Let's face it. That book is our baby. It contains a big part of our life and shelters our hearts.

I have not received a review with any information as to how to improve except for one that wanted me to add little pictures before each chapter. This person downloaded my book for free. I really wanted to tell her, I don't have enough money for little pictures. But I didn't.

Do you comment on your reviews.
OK. Admit it. You wanted to slaughter that nasty reviewer with your exceptional writerly skills. Me too. But the advice is not to.

So let's talk about nasty reviews. Trolls! Beware. They hide in wait to attack you.

I have received two nasty reviews to date. My very first review was one of these and it sent me into a dark place. The reviewer, a man, criticized my use of a unicorn to bring the gift of language to my heroine in my epic fantasy, The Treasures of Carmelidrium. He said picking up on a language was easy. Not for me it isn't, nor for my heroine. He didn't like how I handled the confrontation between the villain and heroine. And there were several other choice things. I was devastated. It took me about a week and then I looked him up. He is self published and every review he had received to date was critical in the worse possible way. He simply gave me the same treatment. Therefore, I ignored him. Nothing he said was helpful.

The second nasty review I received was for my new release. Halloween Collection 2. This is a collection of flash fiction stories. Anyone who has written flash fiction knows these stories are short, short, short. She basically said that the stories were boring, that my writing ruined the greatness of the story, and advised that I take writing lessons and join a critique group. There was more but that is enough to send an inexperienced author into a pit of gloom. She gave me three stars. I made the mistake of going to her blog, reading her post and commenting. I thanked her for buying my book and told her I'd been writing for 30 years and was a member of a critique group with other published authors. The next day she had changed the 3 stars to 2 stars.

So...neither negative review was helpful. They both left me with the impression that the reviewer was a frustrated writer who was disappointed by their lack of success and channeled their disappointment by attacking other writers.

I have read and heard writers give this simple advice. Be kind to others. When you are kind and thoughtful, it will come back to you. Karma. I practice this. When I leave a review, I always talk about what I enjoyed in the writing. We authors struggle to bring the reader something they will enjoy. I'm not after the Pulitzer Prize, I just love writing.

Have you gotten a nasty review? Or one that thrilled you?

The question for December's post is: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

I plan to finally break through the promotion barrier and be a best seller. I will achieve this by continuing to upload books and by following the advice from other authors and from books I've read.

Now! Just in case: Your thinking I might be a lousy writer and deserved that review. So here is another review for my epic fantasy.

The Treasures of Carmelidrium.
"This is the best book of the decade." Amazon reader.

To order from click here.


Chrys Fey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nasreen said...

There are so many trolls who without even reading a book bring the ratings down by clicking on one star or give a one line review.

So sorry that this happened to you Nancy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just ignore the nasty ones. And never comment, because that does open the door for even worse. Just ignore them.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I've had one scathing review, but it's actually one of my favourites. It appeared 20 minutes after my book was published, and said something like, "I do not recommend this book to anyone for any reason." I laughed my a** off, and I think that's what you have to do.

I understand the temptation to respond to reviewers, but that makes the author look amateurish, defensive, and, at worst, stalker-ish. Best to ignore.

As for researching, I've found hiring a researcher to be one of the best things I ever did, especially when writing something historical. Saved me a ton of time!

Good luck with your goals.

N. R. Williams said...

Chrys, you are a good writer. I think sometimes it's not really the writing that people don't like but the voice.

Nasreen, you are right.

I agree Alex.

J. H. Wish I could hire help. Alas, no money.

Thank yu all for coming by.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

As for reviews, I feel like an ugly girl at the Prom -- nobody is paying attention to me these days. Now, I just write for myself -- like Emily Dickinson. :-)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Hello. I am the person who left that so called 'nasty review' on your Halloween story. I left a frank review that your book was not very good and gave it two stars. Instead of accepting a negative review. You decided to lie and pretend not only that I had initially given you three stars (which I never did) but also that you went to my blog and commented in November. I checked my blog. You have never commented there in November and if you had gone there you would have seen a portion of my posts had comment locked because I was doing Nano then got sick and was unable to finish. I will be doing a post about this untrue post you have made trying to frame me as a troll who left you a nasty review and changed my rating for spite. I have reviewed books for years and never had a writer outright lie about me to be a backstabber. I pride myself on giving frank reviews and not hold back for the sake of anyone. I don't post most of my worst reviews to my blog but I do leave my reviews on Amazon whether positive or negative. It says a lot that you would lie on someone just because you got a negative review. I will be discussing this on my blog soon because I'm so steamed and can't believe a writer would stoop low enough to lie. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Tyrean Martinson said...

There are review trolls - which is terrible, but there are.
I have been blessed with wonderful reviews at the Amazon US site, at the UK site - not so much. One of my reviews at a book blog had me in tears, so I have never advertised it and I've been thankful that it's never been published anywhere else. At the same time, I've had super sweet reviews at book blogs. I just try to focus on the good ones.

I hope you receive many awesome reviews in the future and the trolls go back to their caves.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Roland
I'm sorry that you are being ignored. Stick it out, I think your time is coming.

You have some serious issues. I didn't name you. If I was mistaken about the 3 stars than that is all it was, a mistake. I did leave a comment on your blog about LOTR.

I think the taste of the British and Americans is vastly different. Chin up.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy - good luck with your writing .. and keep on learning and getting out more books ... cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sorry about the bad reviews. You should never respond though. And I just looked - Sheena-kay is right that you didn't leave a comment on her blog. Did you leave one somewhere else?

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks Hilary.

I believe she removed the comment. I left another on her rant this morning and she removed that too.


Denise Covey said...

Hi Nancy. Apparently, people who download books for free often give a bad review and don't even read the book, so I've been told by one upset author. But if we publish, we have to take what we get, good and bad.

I always leave a comment after the review on Amazon when someone leaves me a review. I know some authors say they feel afraid of saying thank you. I feel the opposite. I'd like to know the reviews I leave are read and appreciated, but that has never happened.

But ignore the bad reviews. Your Halloween Collection 2 and Treasures were wonderful and I left reviews to that effect. :-)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Nancy, that post didn't allow comments - it's been closed to comments since she posted it.

N. R. Williams said...

I've read your reviews Denise and appreciate them all.

Well Diane, I guess that explains why she didn't see my previous post. Thanks for letting me know.


N. R. Williams said...

Dear future readers,
As I grow older I don't always remember everything. My mind is full of so many important things relating to my family and also my writing. Perhaps I was wrong about the 3 and 2 star thing, but I'm not wrong about how all of us feel about negative reviews. Chin up and keep writing.

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