Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Giveaway of an ARC of Make Believe!


Since today is the first Wednesday of the month, it's time to post for Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers' Support Group. To find out more about the group, or to join our growing masses, click HERE.

For this group I try to write mostly encouraging posts or ways to deal with insecurities writers might harbour. Today, however, I must confess an insecurity of my own: the dreaded review.

I've not had to worry about reviews before today. The most I've had is star ratings attached to some of my published works, and thankfully I've received good ratings, but an actual review, where strangers spell out why they liked or didn't like my stories? Nope.

Reviews are one of those things that are both exciting and terrifying at once. Exciting, because it means I’ll get honest feedback from my readers. Terrifying, because it means I’ll get honest feedback from my readers.

What if they don’t like my work? What if they find a terrible flaw in my story that I somehow missed even though it’s as big as an elephant? What if they say I should quit now and never return to writing ever again?

I know I’ll keep writing no matter what is said. I know I can’t please everyone. But the thought of someone reviewing my work sends me into a spin because it’s based on a work that has been deemed finished—no more fixes, no more tweaking, no more excuses.

However, hoping there will be many reviews written about my published works, I need to be less of a princess about it, suck it up and accept that reviews happen: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And you know what? That's part of the joy and agony of being a writer.

--
And now for the scary/exciting bit: 
The Giveaway!
I'm offering an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Make Believe (in ebook) to one of my readers in exchange for a review. My short story, Birthright, features in this anthology. Yay!

If you enjoy reading fantasy, urban fantasy and romance, and you are willing to write up a review and post it up in all the cool places before December, then please say in the comments you'd like to enter. I will announce the WINNER on Thursday 11th October.


This Giveaway is also hosted by the other wonderful authors featured in this anthology, so feel free to check them out:
J.A. Belfield
Jennifer M. Eaton
J. Keller Ford
Terri Rochenski
Kelly Said

#IWSG
#MakeBelieve
.

76 comments:

  1. Reviews terrify me lol! My first negative one was BRUTAL, but I try to brush them off and focus on the positives. :D

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    1. Yep, brushing them off is the best thing to do. For me it's more about the 'anticipation' of the review, lol.

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  2. Reviews, whether they are positive or negative, don't usually influence me to read or not read a book. But on certain occasions, a negative review might even make me curious...

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  3. Reviews are the double-edged sword.
    Lynda, as beautifully as you write, when a bad review happens, and it will, it will just mean that person wasn't part of your target audience. Your story wasn't for them. And that's all right.
    After all, the greatest book in the world is sadly still not one that's for everybody...

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  4. I like reading reviews - and like the really decent, fair and enthusiastic as well as honest ones. But I don't see the point of the plain nasty, ill-thought out, mean reviews! Booo to them!

    Take care
    x

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  5. I love seeing your name on the cover of that anthology, Lynz.

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  6. Reviews are scary! I have had one nasty one, who I am sure did not even read past the blurb, did not like the word 'stalker' and judged the entire work on that one word. But, it is still hard to take.

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  7. I can't picture you ever getting a bad review. Also, I'd love to read your ARC. Hmmm...I've got two more chapters to edit for a writer friend. Got my book going live soon. I'm thinking here...go ahead and e-mail me.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. Aw, Shelly, you are such a sweetie. I'll put your name in for the giveaway. I'll do the draw on Wednesday and let everyone know on Thursday 11th.

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  8. reviews are tricky things since, quite often, people who post them around the net, can be evil trolls who can say negative stupid things about your work and leave an eternal mark on your work and your image. I hate such people, and would love to be a vigilante who will hunt them all down :)

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    1. The world would be a different place if that were possible ;)

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  9. Do you want a review of the whole anthology or just your contribution? I can definitely find the time to read a story.

    Great post. It's a valid fear. But it's super cool you are in a position to have published work that can be reviewed. :)

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    1. The whole anthology would be awesome, but I don't mind. I'll put your name into the draw.

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  10. Reviews ARE tough to handle. There's no way one book can please everyone, in all aspects, because we're all different people. So it's very subjective!

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  11. Reviews can be scary - and as you said, you can't please everyone. I think though, it's good to take some of the constructive criticism you may receive, and learn from it so that it can improve future projects.

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    1. absolutely! If reviewers are all saying the same thing, then it's definitely worth listening.

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  12. I know how scary reviews are. And some people delight in trashing the work of others even if they liked it. I'm still waiting to receive one of those and know it will hurt like the dickens. Even though I know in my head to brush it off and go on. It's all part of being a writer. Here's wishing you all the best reviews ever :)

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  13. I just got over getting critiqued, now I have to worry about getting reviewed. I would like to think the good reviews will out weigh the bad and the feeling from the good reviews will make the bad reviews not sting as hard, but that won't happen. I am sensitive. haha. Just another step in the process.

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  14. Amen! Reviews, rejections, critiques do bring out the writers' insecurities. I try to take them all with the proverbial grain of salt. Too much ooie-gooie makes me question the sincerity of their words, while harsh judgement takes me to the fetal position. I like honest praise and constructive criticism. I'm excited to read your words in "Make Believe."

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    1. honest praise and constructive criticism are the best. Thanks, Merrie

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  15. I loved your post today. I haven't pubbed, so I don't have to worry about reviews - and yet I do. How super scary! (And I write Horror. lol) Your way of handling it is excellent. I will you all the success in the world! :-)

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  16. Writing reviews, I try to mainly focus on the positive and perhaps mention any negative as more of a "it didn't work for me but might for you." Of course, not everyone is as nice about their reviews. You can never please everyone, but I think even bad reviews have their place by telling those type of people who wouldn't like your work to steer clear from it.

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    1. I enjoy reading your reviews, Cherie. They all have that wonderful balance and have been the most helpful.

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    2. Aww, thanks! And I also have MAKE BELIEVE on my read and review list, so I'm looking forward to reading your story within the collection.

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  17. I've never had to worry about reviews yet as I haven't been published yet but I can understand your fear. Hope it goes well.

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  18. Up front and center, not everyone is going to like our writing or stories. We take the reviews in and let them go. Cherish the good ones - they far outweigh the bad.

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  19. I guess some negative reviews should be expected as ones readership widens. A negative review could be a good sign so long as you have a greater amount of positive reviews to offset the negative.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Oh I totally agree that some bad reviews is a good thing because I'm always suspicious when a book only gets good reviews.

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  20. I read reviews by other readers. I write reviews.. but when a book is really bad, like one I read recently, I pass on the review. Most of the time I try to find the best thing I can about a book that I need to review. This time the best I could do is say that the cover was beautiful! It was by a writer local to me, and the only review was, of course a 5 star. While I felt that it was wrong not to temper that with an unbiased review...like I would want someone to do for me.. I just passed. And I feel guilty. And speaking as a reader/ not writer. Sometimes it is a negative review that will sell me on a book. Not everyone has the same taste. Try not to let negative reviews make you crazy... they can be good, too. I would rather see a mix of reviews, as all glowing fives make me suspicious..... One last thing, I appreciate writers. Even if I read a book that I don't feel is very good, someone put themselves out there and wrote it. So, thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much for your input, Kathleen. You are so right. It's good to have a balance of reviews. When reading reviews I tend to skip the top rating reviews and make my judgement on the mid and low rating reviews. They seem more honest.

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  21. As a reviewer, I would say that reviews are important for a book. But authors should choose which reviewer to send her books to. Someone who reads in the genre. Actually what I've seen is a reader who doesn't read in that particular genre would give a bad review to it.

    And I've also seen one reviewer said on Amazon that his wife didn't like this book- what? So why are YOU saying that?

    So this is the basis for bad reviews. If legitimate readers who read the genre reviews a book, then that review should be respected. Otherwise just ignored! Just my two cents, Lynda!

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  22. Joy and agony are right. The bad ones do hurt, but the important thing for me is to remember that not everybody will like or 'get' what I write and bad reviews come with the territory.

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  23. I agree, the bad ones do hurt. But there's also the opportunity to make fans. That's the silver lining, and you will make some. Luckily the bad and ugly aren't the norm. And I highly doubt they'll be a norm for you.

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  24. What a great idea. I'm sharing this on Facebook.

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  25. I don't have anything published, but having reviews coming in must be a stressful experience!

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  26. I don't write bad reviews. If I like a book I write a positive review. If I love a book, I write a glowing review. Then I tweet, facebook, goodreads, and amazon my pov.

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  27. See, that isn't right either, only posting a good review... I think that a "bad" review has value, if it is an actual review. Not something like "The cover is pink and the one I ordered looked purple. " For people who depend on reviews to decide where to spend their book bucks, it is only fair to be honest. But to explain why you didn't like the book. Also, on my Amazon profile I post my star ratings. I consider three to be a good solid read. Three is dead center of the star system. If a book was enjoyable, and I am glad I read it, three it is. Now, if it had aspects that make it stand out, it gets a 4. I save 5 stars for really wonderful, I will read again books. Just liking a book doesn't give it 5 stars. Now, two stars, I am kind of sorry I spent 3 hours on this... 1 star is just not enjoyable at all. But some books aren't. I want to be able to trust reviews, but I do discount some fives and some ones and work out of the middle. This is why I feel guilty for not reviewing the Bad, terrible, so not good book that I mentioned above. I did review it on LibraryThing.. but that is so much more closed, I was pretty sure it wouldn't be slamming a door in the authors face.. it would however warn my friends.

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    1. I like your system of rating, but I don't see myself as a 'reviewer' so when I don't enjoy a book, I tend not to spend any more time on it. However I do think it's great that reviewers, like yourself, will take the time to work out what it was about a book they didn't like (without going into attack mode) and at the same time consider the author. That takes a special talent.

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  28. I have stopped reading my reviews. The bad reviews don't bother me but I don't want anything to keep me from my writing and I fear reading too many bad reviews will do that. I think you're a good writer though and wont get many bad reviews, if any.

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  29. Haven't had to deal with that of course. Don't know how I'd handle a bad review. Probably make a voodoo doll of them or something. Ha! Kidding. I think it's best to just accept that it will happen and move on. There's no pleasing everyone, and, yes, some people are just jerks and like to say mean things. Let it roll off, if you can. :)

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  30. It's funny I posted about reviews last IWSG, and then I got my third bad review, this one with a one star designation. It did not faze me. I was able to let it role off my back. I realized that when books are offered for free through Amazon Kindle that folks grab them up, whether they would ever pick them up if they had to pay for them, doubtful. Then when they can't get through a genre they wouldn't have normally bought, they don't finish it, but feel obliged to write a review on a book they don't bother to finish and probably would never have bought. I can't let my life be disrupted by that kind of thinking. You'll get there too, but the first one or two will hit you like a lead brick. We'll maybe not, that's just me. :)
    Good post! Thanks for dropping by my blog.

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  31. Reviews are a scary thing, for sure. Haven't had to deal with that yet, but you don't want them to discourage you from writing.

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  32. After reading the excerpt you posted Lynda, I'm sure your reviews will be glowing.

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  33. Reviews can send a writer on a roller coaster of emotions with both the good and the bad. I thought my skin was thick because of rejections. Now it's thicker because of reviews.

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  34. I totally understand the fear! It's stopped me from moving forward a few times. Getting over it though :) I can't wait to read your story!! :)

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  35. Reviews are a strange and wonderful thing, I agree! An author I know told me how she came to grips with bad reviews. She said that she realized one day that her work would not be everyone's cup of tea. Not that you don't take reviews, she said, and look for the constructive, of course. But just like we don't care for every style or genre, so others may not either. For her, accepting this is a bit hard, but makes it easier overall.

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  36. When considering a review of your work, you have to consider the source. Not all reviewers are created equal, and the opinion of another writer, or a well-read reader should carry much more weight than that of someone who rarely reads, and only read your particular work because it was offered for free, which, unfortunately, you are sometimes going to encounter. That being said, no matter who pens a vicious review, it's gonna hurt. That's why I refuse to write them. If I can't, in all honesty, write something positive about a book, I'd rather not say anything at all.

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  37. They say you need to be sensitive to write from the heart. Which means you have to open your heart. We writers are such a wonderfully strange bunch. Why do we do this to ourselves? I think it's because while a bad review may sting, that's not why we write. We write because that's who we are. "Better to have written and lost than to never have written at all." Yes, a small twist on an old phrase. Thanks for the reminder, Lynda.

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  38. Hi, Lynda,

    Don't worry so much about reviews. You know if your work is good or not. Of course we all think this. BUt for the published authors, like yourself, obviously you are doing something right.

    As for the unpublished, like myself, it's an uphill struggle. But again, the bottom line if you believe in your work, that's all that matters. Reviews are subjective as we ALL know.

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  39. Oh,

    Please enter me in for the arc. Love fantasy, romance, etc,

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  40. Thanks for sharing, Lynda. We put so much energy into what we write, it's almost as if the thought of a bad review strikes at the core of who we are. Of course, that isn't true. Reviews are as subjective as anything can get. When I taught school, I had a student who's father was a baker. The father volunteered several goodies for the school's bake sale. The son later said his father was up all night, afraid no one would buy what he donated. (But they did!)

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    1. Ah, the things we put ourselves through...

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  41. Reviews totally make my stomach turn into a massive knot and I doubt that will ever change! It certainly is a good motivator to work hard for the best possible finished product :) (I'd love to read the arc, and give you an awesome review, too!)

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    1. Thanks so much, Meradeth. Your name has been entered for the giveaway. Good luck!! :)

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  42. I've told myself I won't read my reaviews. We'll see what happens when the book comes out. :-)

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    1. hehe, I'm sooo going to read them. At least to begin with. I won't be able to stand the curiosity!

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  43. Oh! No need to enter me in the giveaway, Antho-buddy. I know one of the authors :-) [wink]

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  44. as long as the good ones outweigh the bad ones, i hope i will be okay...
    still adore that cover! happy giveaway!

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  45. I feel the same way about reviews. Will they love it? Hate it? Not care? :) I'd enter, but my TBR is out of control and I don't think I'd get a review done in a timely manner. Good luck!

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  46. Reviews scare me. If the review is too harsh then I feel bad for the writer. I avoid being extra critical in my reviews.

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  47. I'm dreading the day I get a negative review. I guess until you experience it and learn how to deal with it, it will always be a fear.

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  48. Reviews are pretty darn scary, and it's amazing how just one negative review can stand out like a flashing light amidst all the positives! I have a Pinterest board where I pin all the reviews that make me feel warm and fuzzy and happy inside, and when I feel down about my writing I go there for a pick-me-up :-)

    And YES, I want to enter! I pinned that MAKE BELIEVE cover onto my Covers I Love board the very first time I came across it. I still think it's really magical :)

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    1. aw, hugs.
      Thanks so much. Your name has been entered. :)

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  49. Reviews are nerve-wracking. I got a few bad reviews. Okay, not bad, but just not glowing, and it felt like a sock to the gut. Yet I ate some chocolate and went right back to writing.

    Please enter me in the giveaway! Gorgeous cover.

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    1. Chocolate solves most problems ;)
      Thanks, your name has been entered :)

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  50. I enjoyed reading this post. Reviews can be apprehension inducing. Real friends will tell you the truth about your work. In the negative reviews look to see if there is any constructive criticism that you can profit from. If not, forget about it. I think if you read a whole bunch of reviews you can process the lot into one general review and derive what the majority feeling is. We all know of some great artist (writers or whatever) who were bad-mouthed yet went on to great popularity. Don't fear a bad review, it is like an unsuccessful sales call - once that is out of the way you are closer to a successful closing, if you know what I mean.
    Keep at it Miss Lyn, you certainly have what it takes.

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  51. I'd love to read and review your work.
    It is scary, and yet, so exciting.
    Mary
    Play off the Page

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  52. Oh man! THE REVIEW! I think everyone dreads it! I don't even have a book published yet, and I still can't think about the dreaded review. I would totally love to review this for you if I had time, but I better wait for now and just enjoy it later. My schedule is packed and I hate keeping people waiting! GOOD LUCK & believe in yourself!!!

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  53. Thank you so much to everyone for the wonderfully encouraging words. They have really put a smile on my face this weekend. You are all awesome!!!

    Mary, your name is adfded to the entrants

    Leigh, I know that feeling of a packed schedule. I'm looking at Nov and Dec and I'm thinking, Eek!

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  54. That applies to anyone doing anything creative. There will always be naysayers or people who don't like your work. But it's no reason to be discouraged, keep doing what you do and only listen to them if they actually have something constructive to say.

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  55. Congrats, Lynda!!

    I heard someone say once to never read the bad reviews. Makes sense, but then you may never grow either. Way I see it, you can never please everyone, and there are many books/films out there I don't care for. As artists, we just have to know who it is we're creating for, and focus on them. Just as someone will always dislike, someone will always like/love.

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.