Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yes, your words Matter

As a writer, you often hear me begging for reviews of my books. My pleas extend to all aspects of my social media. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram or have liked my Facebook page, you’ve seen me posting all sorts of pictures begging for Amazon reviews. It’s not working. My groveling has largely gone unanswered, and I’ve been a little bummed out by that. Okay, I’ve been a lot bummed out.

Something happened last week that boosted my spirit but also served as a good reminder of the importance of your reviews. Last week, I was sick as a dog (what the hell does that mean anyway?). I spent several days in bed and didn’t write or visit any of my social media sites for several days.

When I finally felt well enough to venture out of bed, I picked up my tablet and opened my Twitter account and the best thing happened. There was a series of tweets from someone who had read Taking a Gamble, my first book in the Taking on Love series. This person tweeted that she read the whole book in one day because she couldn’t put it down. She loves my stories and I never disappoint.

Wow! Can you say giant ego boost? Because, let’s be honest. I needed that at just that moment. It was the best pick me up after being sick for a week. To log back on to social media and be greeted by this glowing praise made me feel better and renewed my faith in my talent.

Okay, yes, I really wish this would have been put in an Amazon review, but this was just as good. It was someone taking the time out of her day to make me feel appreciated for what I did. Talk about one hell of a motivation to keep me going as a writer. This happened on February 9th and I saw it on February 16th and I’m still riding this high.

Writing is fun, but it’s also hard work. Your heart and soul go in to every book you write. Your books are like your children. When people like them, you feel pride. When people don’t like them, you’re like that mama bear guarding her cubs. When people don’t acknowledge them, you start to wonder if that’s their polite way of saying your child is ugly.

Would I like a flood of Amazon reviews? Yes, and I will be glad to see any review I get. Is that the only way to let me know you liked my books? Hell no! No matter how you choose to deliver them, your words matter. So, please, keep them coming.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Oh, Crap! My first book Sucked!

If you haven’t already heard, I’m currently in the process of rewriting my first novel, Letters from Linc, so that I can release the ten year anniversary edition. It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since the book was published. On the other hand, I can tell it’s been a long time since this book was published. There’s nothing like doing a rewrite of a ten year old book to make your flaws as writer so glaringly obvious that you cringe when you read it.

Before I go on, let me make one thing clear. I love Letters from Linc. The book opened a lot of doors for me in the writing world and also brought some amazing people into my life. I’ve been contacted by strangers who have told me of the positive impact it had on their lives. As much as I love Linc, the passage of time has allowed me to see where it can be improved.

The first thing jumping out at me is the heavy use of adverbs. I once had an editor tell me I was addicted to using adverbs. Until she pointed it out, I never thought much of it. I grew up reading books that used adverbs to describe dialogue so it made sense to me to use it when I was a writer. Now I know better. Instead of writing that Linc excitedly said something, I should describe Linc’s excitement. Show the readers he is excited instead of telling them.

Speaking of showing readers versus telling them, there are a number of passages in Letters from Linc in which I told the readers what happened. Looking at those passages ten years later, I recognize how I screwed up by telling the readers what happened instead of showing them.

Some scenes are either too short and the reader would benefit from seeing more of what happened while others should be cut because they don’t advance the story. There is also a point where I feel I rushed too quickly to reunite the main characters. The separation of the two was ten days long but the story didn’t expand on that and show readers what it needed to. Instead, it told readers that it happened and then a few pages later told them it was over and the story moved on.

I’m also ashamed to admit there are some editing mistakes. Words are missing or the wrong word is used; a word spell check wouldn’t alert me to because the word was spelled correctly. For example, saying lightening when I meant lightning. There are also some punctuation errors as well as too many dialogue tags in some scenes.

It’s amazing what a few years will do to your perspective on your story. Ten years ago, I probably would not have found most of this. Wait, I obviously didn’t realize it given that I moved forward with publishing the novel. Nothing like ten years to help a writer improve their craft and make her second guess her early work, but I guess I should look for that silver lining.

Okay, my first novel had some problems. Dare I say, it sucked? At least I’ve grown and learned and will be righting those wrongs.