Friday, April 4, 2014

Do you play it safe?

As an Author I accept that there is a one or two star review just around the corner, you just can't please everybody no matter how good your book is - and that is a fact that every author needs to acknowledge. We have mentioned various steps that an author should take to ensure the work they publish is to the highest standard, the absolute best they can produce. I honestly believe that this is a basic requirement and that, as an author, we owe this to our readership. To knowingly chuck out sub standard writing, a piece that has not been polished at all and expect people to pay good money for, is wrong. Make no mistake this happens. In the forums these 'authors' are referred to as 'Uploaders' and despised by readers, reviewers and other authors alike. They are opportunists taking advantage of the Amazon Self Publishing tool with the sole intention of relieving the unsuspecting reader of cash - they exist in all walks of life.

Anyway, I digress. My point is that no matter how hard you try there will be readers that just don't like your work and authors need to be thick skinned enough to accept this. 

Probably on a subconscious level I gave advanced review copies (ARC's) of Russian Redemption out to those people that would be honest, but nicely honest. As I have said before I was outside of my comfort zone with this whole writing thing so the process was new to me, and in hindsight I expected to get caned. As the reviews started to come in I got a little more adventurous, I found myself almost challenging people to not like it, hence I targeted the Amazon Top Reviewers.

Fated Encounters is now live on Amazon. I have explained previously how the story came to fruition and my own struggles with it. For those that haven't read the appropriate posts, it is genre opposite to Russian Redemption - it is a love story. As I openly admit in the first few pages of the book I really wasn't sure if this was a story I wanted in the public domain, I wasn't confident that it would be a story that would be of interest to others or even if it was good enough. So I went back to those that had read the ARC's of Russian Redemption and asked them. The response and encouragement was very positive, but for me it wasn't enough. I knew these people would be honest, I knew they would encourage me as they did with Russian Redemption, but for me I was just playing 'safe'. It is at this point that I made the conscious decision to engage some of the most vocal readers and reviewers from the Amazon forums, those that had no problem at all telling it like it is and enjoyed the prospect of devouring a newbie author and hanging that scalp above the wood fire. I walked into the lions mouth carrying a steak. Some would definitely accuse me of being stupid or even suicidal to adopt this approach but I figured that if I published the book and any of them read it I would get the same treatment anyway so I may as well get it over and done with. Fortunately for me there were three or four of these people that volunteered to read Fated Encounters. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous over the following few days as I awaited the responses. Again fortunately, it transpires that I had nothing to worry about. To be honest I was astounded at the positive feedback I received, including suggestions of minor changes and reasoning behind those suggestions. What does this mean to me? To put it in perspective it's like getting complimented by Simon Cowell; it reinforces my own growing belief in me and those Beta readers that work so hard with me.

What does it mean in the bigger picture? Probably nothing, I'm sure there is still a one star or two star review just around the corner for every book I write, but at least I know that as far as Fated Encounters is concerned, it has been scrutinised by some pretty knowledgeable and fussy people and has passed the test - that's a big tick!

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