Monday, January 11, 2021

YOUR OPINION MATTERS By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

 

As an author, I try to always keep my reader in mind as I work.  Will they like this character?  Will the storyline live up to the reader’s expectations and deliver the kind of feels they are looking for? 

In a romance that’s the warm, fuzzy Awww!  In a mystery, it’s the mind puzzle. In a thriller it’s the heart-pounding, edge of the seat, nerve-jangling suspense and excitement. 

Authors care about readers and their opinions.  What worked in this story?  What didn’t work?  What would you like to see more of? 

That’s why it’s so important to leave a review of the books you enjoyed on either Amazon, Goodreads or Bookbub.  It doesn’t need to be a book report, and please don’t include spoilers or give away the ending.  A simple, ‘I really loved these characters and their story’ warms the author’s heart on those cold, lonely days when the words don’t flow and we wonder why we are even bothering.

The other reason reviews matter pertains to advertising.  Too few reviews, or a low ranking with reviews, can curtail an author’s bid for coveted advertising spots.  You might think advertisers will take any author’s advertising dollars, but that’s not always the case.  The platforms that deliver a good return on an author’s investment are really choosy about what they advertise to their followers.  There are far more authors clamoring to be seen than spots available. 

Think about that, also, when you post your next review.  Did the book really deserve 1 star?  It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve been given 1 star because the reviewer didn’t like the subject matter or heat level, which is really unfair.  That one bad review drags down my average and well could prevent me from reaching readers who will enjoy the story.

A story that is poorly written, unreadable and full of typing and grammar mistakes might warrant 1 star, but I would opt to skip reviewing it all together.  I recently judged a contest of unpublished stories and most were really good, but there was one that I found problematic and difficult to follow.  I tried to be constructive and explain my reason for the lower scores.  To my surprise, the story obviously resonated with the other judges because it went on to the final round.  And I was glad.  Just because it wasn’t for me didn’t make it a bad story.  After all, judging, just like reviewing, is totally objective. 

As many of us heard growing up, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  It’s so easy to be negative.  But a few kind words about an author’s work really do go a long way.

 To chase away the winter gloom, I’ll be releasing a new series of sweet contemporary romances soon, starting with ONE CINDERELLA SPRING.

      Cindy clambered up the ladder, stretched up on tiptoe to replace the shoe box on the very top shelf, then inched her way back down and reached the floor with a semi graceful hop.

When she looked up, Prince Charming stood before her. She hadn’t heard him enter the shop over the drone of the electric fan that was doing its halfhearted best to stir the muggy air. He stood watching her, an admiring half smile on his face. He’d probably been looking up her skirt. Good thing she had her bike shorts underneath.

“Can I help you?” She glanced at the clock on the far wall. Why did people wait until five minutes before closing to wander in?

“If you can’t help me, then I am in big trouble,” he said with a disarming smile.

He could save the charm for someone who appreciated it. Someone who’d swoon at the lethal combination of linebacker shoulders, tousled dark hair, chiseled cheekbones and a killer smile. Rather than swoon, Cindy ran a hand through her haphazard tangle of wavy blond hair, which she kept short in hopes it would stay tidy.

“I’m on the hunt for a pair of shoes. For my sister,” he added.

“Anything in particular?” She noted that the sister line had been tagged in quickly. Lingerie shops or women’s shoes. Men didn’t seem to realize that Cindy didn’t much care if he was planning to wear the purchase himself, or if it really was for his sweetheart. The sister, though. That was a new twist.

He pulled a scrap of paper from his pocket. “She wants a pair of red leather pumps. Size eight, narrow. Do you have any?”

Cindy gave him a long, searching look before she spun around, so quickly she could feel her skirt flutter across her thighs. “Over here.”

There’d been a surge of interest in red pumps ever since she’d posted on the Madronna Beach Local Facebook page that she’d lost a shoe of the same description. Despite the flood of comments on the Cinderella’s dilemma post, the missing shoe had yet to surface.

And here’s a snippet from Madison’s story in ONE STOLEN SUMMER:

As Madison started down the rutted driveway toward the main residence, she noticed a swath of light through the front window. Must be the Hardy Boys. As she sauntered past the house, trying not to stare but hoping to catch a glimpse of the new residents, she let out a startled cry and fell headlong over something lying on the ground.

The porch light winked on seconds later, revealing that she had been tripped up by a miniature mountain bike lying in the middle of the driveway. A short, shadowy figure on the porch was staring in her direction as she clambered to her feet.

“Dad, someone’s trying to steal my bike.”

Madison dusted off her hands and knees and took a tentative step forward to make sure her limbs were in full working order. A much taller figure appeared behind the short one.

“I wasn’t stealing it,” Madison said. “But that’s a dumb spot to park it.”

“The lady’s right, son. Come and make sure she’s all right.” The man descended the three steps to ground level but even then, she had to crane her head to meet his gaze. Madison was five-foot-four, a fact she was reminded of by the man before her, who stood nearly a foot taller.

“I’m fine,” she said. “You’ve probably already figured out that I’m Coach’s daughter, Madison.”

“That was my first guess.” Her hand was swallowed up in a firm, masculine grip. “Greg Hardy. We were going to mosey over tomorrow and say hello. Contrary to appearances, my son knows better than to leave his bike lying around, don’t you, Ty?”

“Aw, Dad.”

“Move it or lose it,” Greg said. He had a nice voice, Madison noticed. Deep and sexy.

“I work nights at the pub down the road.”

“So Coach told me.”

Madison laughed, trying to cover up how suddenly awkward she felt. “He kept referring to you as the Hardy Boys. After my favorite teenage detective books,” she added.

“I know who the Hardy Boys are.” His voice was dry. They could have been discussing the weather. Because the light was behind him, she couldn’t tell much about his looks beyond his height. Dark hair. Broad shoulders. Great voice. Hunky Hardy.

“Sorry about my bike, ma’am.” Hunky’s son stooped to pick up his bike. When he turned sideways, the light fell across his face and Madison felt her insides give a lurch. The little boy from the party today was living here. The one who wished his father wasn’t so sad.

 I spend a lot of time in the Wild West writing about cowboys, so it's always fun to mix things up a little.  Do you read across a variety of genres or mostly stick to one time period and setting?  

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13 comments:

  1. A great post, Kathleen. I love the concept--and the excerpts!

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  2. These are great covers! Great excerpts and I totally agree with the idea that readers’ words matter!

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  3. I like that title! And thanks so much for explaining about reviews. I love and dislike them at the same time but they are necessary. Great blog.

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    1. I hate feeling like I'm bugging my readers, but so many people don't know how truly important reviews are.

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  4. Agree about reviews. They are a necessary evil. And there are so many people who seem to make it their life's work to one star anything with swears or sex. I'm not sure why they would be reading the book in the first place! Good luck with the new series. The covers are beautiful and calming!!

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  5. Sadly, there will always be some people who try to build themselves up by tearing others down. There are books out there to suit every reader's tastes.

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  6. Those covers jump out at you and I loved the excerpts. Really bugs me when you see the same reviewer leaves the same comment on every book. Makes you wonder what the true intent is.

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    1. There is a reviewer who copied the same negative review on every book in a series.why did she read them all if she hated them?

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  7. Excellent post. Really enjoyed the excerpts. Great covers especially the eye-catching ONE STOLEN SUMMER.

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  8. This is great--a new series! Lovely covers. And good point about the reviews.

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