All posts by NewEngland_Muse

I'm a traditionally and self published author. I write in the genre of children and YA at the moment but working my way up to adults. I'm a sports loving, photo taking gal who loves to sing/dance to my own enjoyment. I love to laugh even at myself. I am also owned by 8 birds and 2 hamsters, and yes they know it. :)

Do you have a social platform?: You should

Do you have a social platform as an author? Do you think you need one?

When I submitted one of my books in a query letter, the publisher asked, “Where are you at?” He meant did I have a platform. Did I have one?

Fortunately, I pointed him to various places. I was happy I had taken the time to create one. My author website has a drop-down menu that shows you where I am. I copy the link when anyone asks. I have even given talks about creating and maintaining a social platform.

Yet, when I talk to other writers in my area, few have taken the baton to use an author’s platform for their works. It used to get to me, for it is a topic that I believe in so strongly. But now, at this point, I nod and listen. One is unable to lead a horse to water, right? Well, you can, but easier than having an author create a platform. LOL

The thing with creating a platform is not all of them will be a right fit for you. Concentrate on what does work. But even more so, the platform is constantly changing with new forms of promoting yourself. And what used to work may not work anymore.

It can be much, but the results are worth the effort and time.

So, if you are at a point where a publisher asks, hopefully, you can say happily, “Here I am.”

Getting reviews for my books: A hard task indeed

Getting reviewed for your book is not always easy. No, no, that’s not it. Maybe pigs will be able to fly once someone leaves one?

We learn where the issues are in our manuscript when others critique our works. It is so helpful for writers. When I go online to purchase something, I tend to check the reviews to get a better view of what to expect.

But asking for a critique is no guarantee you will get one, even if you

offer them a free book. Reading and writing a review online take some time, and one should consider that when they say yes after being asked.

What hurts is Amazon will remove reviews. Anyone who reviewed my book would have to spend at least 50 bucks a year, every single year. By doing so, any review they post remains on the site. If not, down it comes.

I woke up one day excited to log in and check how many reviews I had for my first book. I was anxious, for the count was close to 50. My giddiness went down the tube when I noticed 18 removed. A few years after that, another 12. It came down to customers having to buy $50 in a given year.

I was so frustrated and angry, but it made no difference, for that was and is the policy. Any review I leave will stay on Amazon since spending that dollar amount in one year is not an issue. But after losing reviews a second time, I started looking at other sites that are more writer-friendly with reviews.

So, if a writer asks for a review, think before you say yes. I rather hear no, than offer a free book and wait and wait and wait for one that will never come.

Critiquing an author’s work: Do you say yes quickly?

When a fellow writer asks you to critique their work, do you say yes quickly? I used to, but now I pause. I tend to ask the author if they want me to be as neutral as possible or do you want me to tell them what they want to hear.

I will turn that person down to look at their work if it is the latter. It is not easy critiquing others, especially if you know them personally.

It can cause hurt feelings or negative comments back onto you, or in one case, a negative review of one of my books. Yes, she went there.

Can you tell the author a piece of work has many issues? You can lessen the blow, but it still comes down to the fact it just does not work.

A new author asked me to review his book. When I read it, it was clear they had not used an editor or beta group to help them smooth out the multiple errors. But the story had meat on the bone where it was good. Contacting the author, I told them as kind as I could my opinion. I brought up positive points in the book. That way, not all they heard was negative. The author appreciated that I took the time to tell him instead of putting up a low-grade review. I was happy too. The book was good.

Joining a critique group is helpful. There are times when members would only give out the negatives. They didn’t think about how it made the author feel and not telling the author where they got it right. I always make sure I find positivity in the section we read. I know how it feels to get negatives making me wonder at times if I got anything right in the chapter I had submitted.

Looking over a piece of writing, especially if you know the person is not easy. One has to decide for themselves if one can handle the critique one will get back. One also has to ask themselves, can they give an honest review, even when the book has little going for it? Or perhaps the question is should I review at all?