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Ask the Authors!

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a project with fellow author Wayne Lemmons. It’s an amazing and wild ride, this novel. As we near the release date (which hasn’t been set in stone yet, but it’s soon), I thought I would give you, the reader, an opportunity to be involved.

I recently asked on Facebook what readers like to find at the end of a novel. For example, interviews with the author, bonus stories, deleted scenes, etc. Many folks said they wanted to know things about the book. Like how the story came to be, where the idea came from, etc.

At the end of this novel, there will be extras, including an interview between Wayne and me. Here’s where you come in.

If you have a question that you’d like to ask us, ask us now and your question and the answer may be included in the bonus content of the new book, accompanied by your name, of course. Sound good? Let’s do this!

You can leave your question in the comments section of this post, on my Facebook page–personal or author–as a private message through Facebook, or as an email at kimberlyabettes at yahoo dot com.

 

Authors Reviewing Authors

A couple of years back, the news broke that certain authors had created fake or “sock puppet” accounts in order to a) leave fake good reviews for themselves and b) leave fake bad reviews for other authors. Deplorable, right? Shady, right? Juvenile, right? Yes, yes, and yes. I have never and will never do any such thing.

Since then, I have been in a bit of a quandary. I’d like your thoughts and opinions on the matter, so here goes.

What do you think about writers leaving reviews for other authors’ books? For example, when I read a book, I would love to leave a review. But then I remember all the hubbub over those fools who faked a bunch of reviews and I think no. I shouldn’t do that. Why not? Because people might think I did the author a favor or something by leaving a review, probably for a book I didn’t read (which I would NEVER do).

What I want to know is what you, the reader, think when you see that an author has left a review on a book. Do you think it’s honest and fair? Or do you think it’s some sneaky lie? Do you think authors should even leave reviews for books?

As a writer, I know just how important reviews are. If we were carpenters, reviews are our nails. If we were surgeons, reviews are our scalpels. If we were photographers, reviews are our cameras. Reviews are absolutely essential to what we do. Readers use them to judge whether or not the book is worth their time and money. Sometimes, when a reader is on the fence about investing so much of themselves into our work, those reviews are the deciding factor. Knowing this, it kills me to not leave reviews for fear of readers thinking it’s a fake, a lie.

It’s time to weigh in. Tell me what you think. And thank you in advance for your opinions. 🙂

 

Writerly Advice

Earlier today, I was perusing the social media and came across an author who was complaining about receiving 1- and 2-star reviews for their book. So I decided to give a little advice to any other writers feeling down about bad reviews.

Reviews aren’t there to fill the dead space on our Amazon profile pages. They serve a purpose. Well, they actually serve a couple of purposes. And though you may feel that one of those purposes is to make the author cry, you’re wrong. That’s not one of them.

Reviews are there to help readers decide whether or not to buy the book.

Reading a book is a huge investment of the reader’s time. In a world where there are so many other things competing for their time, you better make it worth their while. There are far too many good books out there waiting to be read for them to waste their time on a bad one. If they read a bad book, they get upset about it. Angry even. And understandably so. Some of those readers are willing to take a little more of their time and warn other readers to stay away from your book. It happens. You can’t keep them from having an opinion, but you can change their opinion. How? By writing better books.

Reviews are there to help the author better their writing.

If you, the author, are reading your reviews, then you should be learning from them. Did the reader find a lot of typos? Hire a proofreader and get those suckers fixed. Did the reader find a major plot hole? Fix it. Did the reader think you use a certain word too much? Stop doing that.

Now hear me out. I’m not saying do what each and every review says. Reviewers are giving their opinion, and sometimes their opinion is wrong. BUT–if several readers say the same thing, then there’s probably some truth to it.

When I first started out, I got some bad reviews. Hell, I still do sometimes. And yes, it bummed me out a little bit. No one wants to hear that the thing they created from nothing and spent long hours and possibly years working on is bad. But after looking at the reviews of some of the best in the literary world–Koontz, King, etc.–I saw that even they get bad reviews. Yes, even the giants have critics. That made me feel better. Then I remembered the old saying you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

So yes, you are going to get bad reviews from time to time. Even if your book is perfect and flawless, there will be someone who doesn’t like it. You have to learn to deal with that. Do the very best you can and let the rest happen as it will.

Compliment & Complement: There’s a Difference

I see a lot of people confusing complement and compliment. I even saw a snotty individual who thought their fecal matter smelled like a fine floral arrangement get haughty on someone who used the word complement (correctly, mind you). The person was quick to point out the ‘mistake’ and promptly informed the other person that it should be compliment, not complement. I laughed and laughed, and then I cried a little because damn it to hell, it’s sad that people don’t know their words. So I thought I’d try to help.

COMPLIMENT:

a polite expression of praise or admiration.

EXAMPLES:

He gave me a compliment, making me blush.

My compliments to the chef.

COMPLEMENT:

1) a thing that completes or brings to perfection, or 2) a number or quantity of something required to make a group complete.

EXAMPLES:

This wine really complements the fish.

The store currently has a full complement of staff.

It isn’t hard to distinguish between the two words and know when each should be used once you know that there actually is a difference. And now you know. So go forth, my friends. Go forth and spread the knowledge! Then I’ll compliment you on your job well done.

I Stand With Stephen King

So the daughter of serial killer Dennis Rader is upset over Stephen King’s story A GOOD MARRIAGE, claiming that it’s based on her father’s story and exploits her father’s victims. Here’s my take on the matter…

As a writer I know what it’s like to read/hear/see something and be inspired to write a story. I’ve based many of my stories on actual events, most of which are serial killer-related. Can you tell? No, because they’re not accounts of THAT story. They’re completely different stories, only INSPIRED by that story. Which, if the statement from King that I read is true, is what happened in this case. King read of the Rader situation, particularly the part about Rader’s wife being totally unaware of her husband’s actions, and was inspired to write a story about a wife who stumbles upon a box in her garage that contains proof of her husband’s crimes. It’s not about Rader or his victims. It’s a story about a woman who suddenly learns that her husband of over 20 years is a serial killer. While I read the story years ago when it was first released, not once did Dennis Rader’s name come to mind. In fact, I was reminded of Gary Ridgeway and his wife, who also was unaware of her husband’s murderous ways. Ridgeway killed more than 50 women and his wife never knew anything about it. He’s who came to mind while I read the story. Not Rader. This story is a reflection of ANY wife or spouse of ANY criminal who was unaware of the crimes of their significant others. For her to claim it’s based on her father and exploits his victims is nonsense and untrue.

Every story ever written comes from somewhere. Something we’ve read, something we’ve seen, something we’ve heard. That’s what inspiration is. It’s hearing/seeing/reading something and having it trigger your thoughts, sending your mind whirring at the possibilities of a story. Because believe it or not, there’s a story in EVERYTHING. A simple trip to the supermarket could erupt into a full-blown kidnapping complete with police corruption, botched ransom drops, and a happy reunion with your family at the end. A power outage in an apartment building becomes a terrifying horror story with evil monsters lurking in the darkened corners. Everything is inspiration when you’re a writer. There’s no turning it off, no stopping it.

King did nothing wrong in this case. This woman is really reaching if she wants to claim that story is based on her father and exploiting his victims. It’s a wildly ridiculous claim and makes me wonder if it’s not she who wants to exploit the situation. And you know what? I do believe there’s a story there…