Goodreads and Reviews: A Stone Throw Away

There are so many sites writers can use for their social platforms. The last few weeks I have posted about Twitter, FB’s author page and one’s own website. It does not stop here. Goodreads and Shelfari are a book lovers dream. There you can share reviews of books you have read. It is similar to the reviews of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is a good way to let others know what your thoughts are on individual books.

Leaving a review however should not be taken lightly. A number of people will base whether they will read a book on the reviews they read. We all know that some of the good reviews will come from family and friends. That is to be expected. But a good book should have various reviews whether the member thinks it is 3 star worthy or 5. A good combination across the board will help not other the author but those interested in purchasing the book

I have been reviewing for BookSneeze for a few years now and I take it very seriously. This is not just for the author that I am reviewing but for potential readers. It is my job to honestly state what I feel about the book whether it is good or bad. This is not always easy for we don’t want to hurt one’s feelings but to tell an author empty compliments does them no favors. Even when you personally know them. One does not have to be cruel but instead use tact when the review is one that they might not like.

One thing I have learned from my writers group thankfully is how to review and critique the various books that come across my desk. I look for flow and pace. Are there any loopholes? Is it believable and even if it is fiction it has to make sense to a point. Does it have a hook? Are the characters well-developed? Does it keep my attention or am I bored by the end of chapter 1? There is so much to take into account.

There are times I have come across books and by the end of the first few chapters want to put it down to never read again. A flaw I use to have. No matter how bad the book was I would always finish it, always. Thanks to Booksneeze I no longer have that problem.  I will finish the book for them.  However when I am reading a novel primarily for pleasure if it does not hook me, down it goes.

You have to have thick skin to be a writer and equally so as a reviewer. People will not always like what you have to say even if it is in their best interest. The questions I ask myself is what I want people to ask when they are reading anything of mine. It may not always be easy to hear the negatives but it is one of the best tools for us to grow as writers. So while I may not always like what people tell me I am grateful for them First for taking the time to read my writings and second for telling me where it can be improved. One of these ways is from reviewers.

A tool that should not be ignored b y anyone who wants to make it as an author.

Advertisements

My Awesome Rejection Letter

What an awesome rejection letter, I thought as the email was read. Words I never thought I would utter in the same sentence: awesome rejection letter.

In February of this year I attended a free writers conference. There I came across a publisher from NC. Soon after I got home I submitted a query letter to him. Within two weeks he requested the first three chapters. Doing so he asked for the entire MS. I was told it would take 4-6 weeks. It took longer. My poor friend Lisa saw how the waiting was making me nuts. I finally sent him a nudge letter after conferring with some people if it was okay to do so. He recently wrote me back.

He wrote thanking me for submitting the MS to his staff. He continued by saying that declining to continue with this MS was a very difficult call for him.

Mike then said there were a number of excellent quality about the text that the staff found appealing. My characters were clearly drawn out and the action was very vivid. He said a few other nice things.  But he stated why they were turning me down at this point. He listed them.

After all was said and done the last paragraph I felt was really cool. He said if we have not completely offended you they hoped I would consider their publishing house in the future with other manuscripts I might have. Our judgment is that you have real potential as a children’s author.

Pretty freaken cool right?

I wrote him the email below.

First of all thank you for taking the time to read my MS. Instead of getting a regular rejection letter you gave me a well thought out letter. That means a lot to me. I am let down, yes, but am not offended. What I am is grateful for you gave me the points on where I can improve my MS. That is invaluable and again I thank you. I will go back to the drawing board and work on the points you laid out below and strengthen my story. Once I accomplish that will submit to publishers in hopes someone will take a chance on it.

It is nice to be encouraged to submit other projects to you. Can I be so bold and ask if it be possible for me to resubmit this MS once I work on it some more?

Thank you for the compliment at the end and the time and consideration you gave me.

He wrote they would be very glad to review Jasper again once I work on the suggestions.  Again pretty freaken cool right?

Out of the three points, two I feel I can incorporate into my story. The last one I am not to sure have to think on it.

This has been a process.

1-First the book was written

2-It was submitted to my writers groups, book reviewers, a day care and my editor

3-Worked on my synopsis and query letter

4-Started to submit to various publishers in Feb. of this year.

5- I have received a variety of letters. Some have been form letter while others were not accepting submissions at this time. Some were overwhelmed with manuscripts.

6-The next step was a publisher saying I had potential. It came from a major publishing house.

7-This rejection letter was next saying I had potential and points on how to fix my MS

8-The step I am at now, working on the points.

All projects are being pushed to the side as I work on this.

Even if it goes no further with this publisher I am still stoked.

Can you tell?

Books Books Books

When I go to a used book store the first place that is sought out is the section on writing. There is usually something that can be useful. Lately I am finding that most of the books shelved are also on my bookcase at home. I am getting a nice collection of books on writing. In fact there are so many novels that I can run my own mini library if needed. Yes you would need to sign them out thank you very much. 🙂

Topics that I have books on:

-Two high school English books

-How to get a literary agent

-How to get your book published without an agent

-How to write for children

-How to write short stories

-How to get published

-How to write query letters/cover letters

-Every edition of Writer’s Digest for the past two years

-Writer’s Market for the last two years

-Children’s Market

The list goes on. I can not be alone on this right? The ones that I gravitate to and are within easy reach are:

-Story Engineering

-Stephen King On Writing

-Hook

-The Elements of Style

-Write Where You Are: How to Use Writing to Make Sense of Your Life

-The Essential Writer’s Companion

-MLA Handbook

There are so many books that one can get overwhelmed. Especially if you are just starting out. The fact I had to get a new bookcase just for these books said it all. Hopefully among the volumes of books you come across there will be useful information that you can apply to your own writings. If there are books out there that has helped you, let me know. What’s one more book, right?