Category Archives: Books

Writing Groups


Writing groups are essential if you are a writer. I am a member of quite a few in my area. It is not easy bringing forth a piece of your writing to any group as they dissect what you present to them. A main theme from most of my group is simple. The comments are just that, comments. You can take them, use part of them or use none at all. This is your story bottom line and only you can decide what comments will work for you.

Easier said then done. Any comment that is not in line with how you see your story can be hard to hear. You have to decide with a clear mind what works for you. When I submit I will wait two to three days before I look at the comments. If I look sooner I tend to get upset from what has been written. Giving it a few days gives me a clearer mind on what I want to keep or ignore.

For the group that I formed I have requested the ladies to not use the color red when they critique my works. Something about red brings me back to school and the memories that come with it.

But without writing groups to help you see your story from an unbias viewpoint is something I couldn’t do without. Would my first book have been picked up if I had not sent it through my writers group? I am not sure.

We have to have tough skins. Being a writer is not easy, it comes with a lot of ups and down. We are placing our work for the world to see. Not everyone is going to love it but I have a better chance of people liking it if I run it through my groups. They see our books in ways we don’t see it. They could see it in the ways that potential buyers would see it. And that alone is why I will continue to attend the meetings.

If you are not involved in a writing group, I strongly suggest you look into it

Book Reviewer: Me

2014-04-28 11.52.25

I have been reviewing for Booksneeze since 2010. Since I started, I have reviewed quite a number of books. Some from BS while others from authors who have heard that I offer this service for free. That’s right, for free. I now review for three sites and on my own.

Over the years the rules on how I place a review has changed as I come across people who give me reasons to do so. The rules are very specific, and only after an author agrees to the rules, and if I have time, will I say yes.

-I had one author send me an email and it said,” Where do I send my book?” What the heck? Manners would be nice, it is truly not asking a lot to be asked I think.

-I have had a person, after I read her book, say that if the review was going to be less than a three to not place it at all. I was pissed. I had taken time to read this book and to be told this made me see red.

– I have had authors ask for me to review all their books.

-I have had authors want to see the review and when seeing it have asked for me to change it.

– Last week I had someone ask me to not only review their book but would I purchase it so it be a verified purchase on Amazon. I had to admit I was taken back. The price was under a dollar so I did the purchase. But it was the first and will be the last time I do that. I broke my own rules. I receive all books for free. But considering that a review is coming out of it, I consider that a fair exchange.

Recently I found out my site has been placed on a listing for people who review. I was not asked but I didn’t mind. That was before I received an onslaught of people asking for me to review, and some of them not wanting to play by the rules. Some of the authors got down right mean when I refused to review three of their books in a row on my site. I said I would review their books but one at a time so the other people asking would get a turn. They were not happy. But we all know we can’t make everyone happy.

People are funny. I get it. Reviews are important to writers. Their important to me as well. But there is this little thing called courtesy. Use them people. I have the right to say no when you ask me to review for you. I am a writer myself and my time is hectic like everyone else. Courtesy is repaid with courtesy.

These are my rules for how I review a book. Am I being fair? I believe so.



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.