Friday, February 1, 2008

Okay Students, Let's REVIEW

Just in case you think the critiquing stops after you get a book published! I thought this would be a good lesson to all of you who talk about judges comments pinching. I've cut some reviews off of Amazon just so you know it doesn't end when you get The Call.

My comments are in italics.
First the good ones.
I know none of these reviewers (well, almost none of them…oh, all right, I know them all) and no money has changed hands (I used electronic transfers).

1) Mary has constructed a fantastic story that seems to breach all genres - who would have thought a suspenseful historical with a strong romance thread and a hilarious chick-lit voice would have been this great? This is one book that everyone can - and will! - read and enjoy. She contacted me to interview me on her blog. I love her! She also helped me get the stripper off my MySpace page, but that's another post.

2) It's nice to find a story that you can lose yourself in, and that's what I did with this one. Two thumbs up! Yes, that’s right, Siskel and Ebert abandoned movies for a week reviewed my book. And Siskel is dead so that’s saying something.

3) From sassy cover to sassy heroine, Mary Connealy's Petticoat Ranch will delight and intrigue any reader. Sassy, that’s what I was going for.

4) Help! I'm suffering from separation anxiety! I just finished reading Petticoat Ranch and I miss the McClellan gang something fierce! Good thing I’ve sold a sequel. Calico Canyon, due out in August.

5) Petticoat Ranch is heartwarming, fast-paced and laugh out loud funny with a cast of larger-than-life characters you won't want to miss. I absolutely loved Petticoat Ranch and look forward to more books by Connealy. This was written before I started offering cash for good reviews, so…it’s sincere.

6) Men, never underestimate a woman, I don't care how macho you are. And woman, don't go judging a man by his appearances. These two make both of those mistakes, much to the enjoyment of the reader. A man wrote this one. See, my book is for everyone.

7) I absolutely loved it! From the very beginning it has you laughing, and you can't seem to stop until the last page. This is from my niece, Lauren posted on Amazon, bless her sweet heart.

In the interest of full disclosure there were a few people who were less than thrilled.

Go figure.

8) Clay...was shallow and a waste of time if you ask me...all he ever did was think of himself...i found him dumb and finicky and childish...his rules were ridiculous and Sophie didn't even put up a good defense for her own children... there were some good points however. Well, except for the hero being a waste of time and the heroine betraying her children, there were some good points, okay! Notice she forgot to capitalize the word ‘I’. Who’s going to take this review seriously?

And, my very favorite review of all time;

9) It has been a long time since I have been so angry and disgusted with a book…with each passing comment I became more and more disgusted. She went on for…oh, one thousand words or so in this vein. I tried to be a good sport about this but finally I’d had enough and I called this reviewer up and said, “Mom, if you can’t say something nice about someone, just don’t say anything at all!”


Ausjenny said...

Mary thanks for the laugh the last comment about mom if you cant say anything nice dont say anything at all i tend to have said to mum at times (only not loud enough for her to hear it,)
Its interesting how different people see things differently.
Oh by the way im putting your interview up tomorrow

Melanie Dickerson said...

At least you can have a sense of humor about it! After you told us about that last review, I went and read it on It's kind of obvious this person has had a bad experience with men ridiculing women. She didn't like the book (that's an understatement) but how can you write thinking, "Oh, someone who's been in an abusive relationship might misunderstand this part, I'd better change it"? You can't. For one thing, it isn't possible. You can't read anyone's mind or predict how people are going to take your story, at least to some extent. You have to write the story that rings true for you, the story that, to the best of your ability and perception, is what God wants you to write.

I keep telling myself this: Not everybody is going to like my story, no matter how well I write it, no matter how hard I try. A lot of people are crazy for Harry Potter. I started reading it and was bored. Plus, I'm not partial to witches and magic. But enough people loved it to make Ms. Rowling a multi-bazillionaire.

I must say, I'm a little shocked you didn't put in a snippet of my gushy review, Mary. I mean, I loved your book. (Even if I didn't know and love you, I would have raved over this book. It was hilarious.) But oh, well. Not everybody is going to like my reviews, either ....

Gina Welborn said...

Thanks, Mary, for making me smile this morning. Considering the frustrating day I had yesterday, I needed it.

Why is my word verifiction "smuck"? Oh, wait. I'm dyslexic. :-)

Mary Connealy said...

Here's something from Melanie's review:
you'll always remember reading in black and white what you've been thinking all these years but were too afraid to say out loud.

I once had a friend read the opening to a book I was working on where a woman was assaulted, just shoved around, before the hero intervened, and my friend was deeply upset by it. She'd been for real assaulted and she couldn't bear to read it. Well, I really cooled the scene down out of respect for her and thinking others might feel that way, too. But ultimately I felt like I'd cut the heart out of the scene, the terror my heroine was feeling, the pain. It's tricky to write a book taking the absoultely justified sensitivity of others into consideration.
So, you're right Melanie, whoever read that book was really reacting to something else, I'm sure.

Plus my mom doesn't know how to find Amazon online. She can check email and write a letter. That's it. So, Mom, in the event you ever read this, and she won't, you are off the suspect list.

Melanie Dickerson said...

I was just kidding, Mary. You didn't have to include my review. (Sheesh, she's so sensitive.) ;-)

Tina M. Russo said...

Omigosh. We needed a spew alert with this.

Have you thought about stand up comedy?

Thanks for the Friday wake up call and laugh.

You are right. All those contests do prepare a writer for all those reviews.

And contest comments are not posted for all the world to see.

I actually used to do romance reviews and loved it. Especially the mail me free books part. But then the reviewing site changed to a number system and I opted out. I really do not like scoring with numbers.

Gina Welborn said...

Really, Tina? You used to review books?

While I find that interesting, I freely admit I'm not book-reviewer material. Just yesterday I "reviewed" on my blog an inspy I read. No title or author of the particular book were mentioned because I'm really not into making enemies of best-selling authors.

Yet as judges do their part to recognize their prejudices and keep them from their evaluation, book reviewers base their reviews on their prejudices. I know I would. Okay, I do.

Missy Tippens said...

Yes, I agree, Tina. We needed a spew alert on this one! LOL

One thing about reviews, I think they're really hard to write and do well. I admit I'm terrible at them. I have a hard time summarizing a book. So I usually just try to tell my reaction to the book--like the fact they had me laughing out loud or crying. Or the fact that I miss the characters and didn't want it to end. I can tell those kinds of things in reviews. And I guess that's actually the part I want to find out in a review. I often skip the book summary when reading the review. I want to get to the nitty gritty of what the reader thought.

So if you want a good book summary from me, I'm sorry. I'm not your woman. But I'll tell the world how much I've enjoyed something and why.


Mary Connealy said...

I used to write reviews for ...okay, considering the content of my post here I won't say who...but it's big.
I didn't last long. Mainly they sent me very odd books, small publisher, c'mon I wanna get free copies of the Good Stuff.

I remember fondly reading the very first Christian fiction novel of my experience where the heroine and hero slept together outside of marriage and where the hero, a mission pastor, dropped the occasional F Bomb (if you know what I mean).
Talk about Not you Mother's Christian Fiction.

My career ended fairly abruptly when I sent my review of a best selling author (they finally sent me a best selling author, except I'd never heard of her) and my review began:
Ms. Author answers the burning question, 'Can a book be written without a plot,' with a resounding YES!

They decided to go with someone else's review...shocker. :)
I know who that is now, and I think it's wise that they didn't use my review. :)

Gina Welborn said...

Ms. Author answers the burning question, 'Can a book be written without a plot,' with a resounding YES!


Unfortunately, that's not the only book that's review could have begun with that comment. A particular author is coming to mind. Even before I started writing, I stopped reading his/her stuff because he/she decided plot was an overused writing element.

Myra Johnson said...

Great fun, Mary! I told my hubby he really needed to read your book, and since he always takes my advice (HAHAHAHAH!!!) he did--and loved it, laughed all the way through. And this from the guy who has attempted to read every techno/adventure/spy novel ever written.

On writing reviews, I think we're all on the same page here (pardon the pun). It just isn't wise to attempt an honest review of one's peers. That's why I like CFBA. All you have to do to get your free book is post the blurb, bio, and pix. If you feel like saying something nice about the book, you're certainly welcome to. But you're not obligated to say anything at all.

Mary Connealy said...

Aren't we just having the most fun here?

I just read a blog interview by Julie Lessman, read Myra's Randomly Romantic blog for the day and managed to miss Missy's radio interview.

And yelled at Pam to get back to work.

I've had a busy day.

Mary Connealy said...

And it's not noon yet.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, I echo the spew alerts and was real glad I had nothing hot in hand when I read that post.

And I think you misquoted me, Cupcake. Didn't I say Clay was obtuse, obstinate and faintly disgusting?????

And Sophie was a weak-kneed battle-ax????

Something like that, I'm sure.

You know what?

I'm glad you're tough enough to handle whatever comes your way. (My mind flits to another Seeker, a more sensitive one, mayhap, whose gentle spirit would be crushed by such things, no names used to protect the innocent... Well, mostly to protect ME!!!!!!!)

Most people that write so vehemently or talk so vehemently (word of the day: yup, you guessed it) have serious mental health issues. For once I'm not being facetious. (Oh, wait, another word of the day. Okay, pretend it's tomorrow for that one and I'm one step ahead of the game)

But I'm so glad you guys shared this glimpse into publish-land. I still want to get there, but I'll be packin' heat.



Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, I want to be published so bad. I stand next to the fiction shelves at Family Christian and LifeWay and I almost tear up. I want my books to be there so bad.

(I'm only saying this so you will remind me I said that when I get my first nasty review.)

Mary Connealy said...

Ah, yes, perfect, Melanie.
Someone says your book is disgusting and you'll be crying and whining...
And I'll be all growl-y, "hey you wanted a book published babe!

I'm going to remember I had permission.

Julie Lessman said...

MARY, SWEETIE, I'M GONNA TICK YA OFF HERE ... You ARE the funniest person I know!!!!! A definite spew alert on that last line, girl, and I agree with Tina -- you need to do standup comedy, woman!!!

And Melanie, I sooooooooo relate to your statement of: Oh, I want to be published so bad. I stand next to the fiction shelves at Family Christian and LifeWay and I almost tear up.

Oh, man, I actually had an aversion to bookstores ... would get seriously depressed whenever I walked into a Borders or B&N -- God's truth!! I would always think, "I will never be in here." Good thing I have prayer partners with stronger faith than mine!!

I'm doing my part, Mel, (praying for you and the Seekers), and you're doing yours (writing and querying), so get some prayer partners to do their part (pray for your publication), my friend. Big, BIG payoff!!


Ausjenny said...

Mary the interview will have to go up in a few days our phone line died shortly after posting here.
and they say it will be WEdnesday before they come fix it.
i am at the library for a short time and will try and get here monday also.

Tammy said...

I have an Amazon comment for my 1st self-pubbed novel that goes something like this: a friend gave me this book..(blah blah)...worst thing I've ever read..(blah blah)..what a waste of money.

Well, you didn't buy it, did you?! So quit whining!! Actually, the person outright states "it's not my kind of book" again, quit whining already :-) Obviously I didn't take this comment to heart!

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie, I know that longing so well! It's strong enough to almost make your stomach (or heart) hurt.

Now I've got that feeling of longing for a second sale! So I guess it never ends. :)


Mary Connealy said...

Don't worry about the interview, ausjenny, whenever things are up and running will be fine.

Tammy, sorry about the mean review. Trust me i KNOW how they feel. I believe I have proved that here today.

And yes, I'm laughing about it now but you should have heard the primal scream when it first went up. Even through the computer monitor several of the seekers lost the hearing in one ear.

But I'm calm again.

Janna said...

You are a total card and not only does it come out in your books, it really comes out in your blog posts - thanks for starting my day off with a smile!

ryanx6 at msn dot com