Thursday, September 5, 2013

This Is Why Some Authors Don't Read Their Reviews

Know Thy Frienemy, the sequel to Destiny's Kiss, will release on Tuesday (9/10)!

First, please excuse me while I swallow hard, then smack myself upside the head because I have little left to do for both the e-book and the print book, so my urge to run around screaming like a chicken with her head cut off is a distinct overreaction.

But this is intimidating. It's a sequel. In a series that is fairly disturbing—the narrator, Destiny, is a Christian teenaged modern-day slave—and she's not right, emotionally, to the point that even she notices, and she's been through some terrible things.

From the early review on Goodreads, that's come through clearly, but I'm kind of chewing my nails now because that review demonstrates that a particular pertinent detail that unreliable narrator Destiny doesn't realize will be missed by at least some readers. I knew that would happen, but seeing it in a review? The very first review?

I'm not now suddenly thinking the story is terrible. It isn't. I'm more concerned that I'm still not targeting my ideal audience properly and that readers won't want to put up with further books in the series until certain details will make more sense.

But we'll see what happens. The former (a failure to properly ID audience) is far more likely than the latter. The reviewer did call Destiny "passive", when she's "reactionary"—which is, well, her, right now.

The novels' standard price is $4.99 US. I'm considering temporarily dropping the price on book 1 when book 2 releases, and I'm also considering posting book 1 on Wattpad, but I've not decided yet. In any event, if you're curious to look into them further, I've embedded the Ganxy showcases below, which should automatically update as further links and such are added.

"Destiny's Kiss" by Misti Wolanski on Ganxy
"Know Thy Frienemy" by Misti Wolanski on Ganxy

In any event that "Oh, no!" feeling is why some writers don't read their reviews. They freak out and think things are absolutely, positively terrible

I admit, I'm not immune to that particular soul-sucking feeling, but I do endeavor to tackle it and squash it with logic until it goes slinking off to bother someone else. A benefit to having a hormone disorder, I presume—I'm used to handling mood swings that happen for no reason other than my body decided to make a little extra something at an inopportune time. (Yes, it's as annoying as it sounds. I don't even like bawling with cause, but bawling for no reason whatsoever?)

And when logic isn't helping? I go read reviews of some books I enjoyed that use some unpopular techniques, like Sunshine by Robin McKinley (or anything by her, really—her stories always seem to meander through the plot in a way some readers loathe) and Hart's Hope by Orson Scott Card (which is dark fantasy in an intentionally archaic style, which has gotten lambasted for violating the "rule" "Show; Don't tell").

*rolls eyes* They're rules of thumb, not rules. ^_^ I feel better already, just remembering those.

Even when a story is precisely what it's supposed to be, folks will dislike it, complain, and make assumptions about the author's writing ability and what they were aiming for. One of my better-selling short stories at the moment received two 1-star reviews from folks bewildered by it before it got a 5-star from someone directly in the target audience.

And then there's the review on Thrice Uncharmed, which politely pointed out that it could've been expanded more on the themes and climax. That reviewer's right—it could've been—but I chose not to on purpose. Maybe that reviewer would've enjoyed it more had I expanded it, but maybe he just thinks he would've. *shrug* It is what it is.

And really, all writing "is what it is".

And Seanan McGuire just had a new book come out this week in her October Daye series! Yay! Like unreliable narrator urban fantasy? Go check it out! It's probably even at the library. ^_^

Do you have any fun reviews, comments, or new releases to share?


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