Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review of Reviews

Okay, let me start out by saying I am a strong believer in everyone being entitled to their own opinion. This blog post is not bashing anyone that has left a bad review for an author; it’s about the reviews that leave us asking “WTF?” …On that note, let’s begin.

It doesn’t bother me if someone doesn’t like my book. Sure, in a strange world everyone would love my work and dub me the best writer ever. But we live in a very diverse world and that would never happen. We all come from different backgrounds, have varying circumstances, and have particular likes and dislikes. Therefore, it is expected that there will always be good and bad reviews on a book.

But here’s where I have a problem with reviews in general:

*When a reader basically summarizes the book. Hello, there is already a synopsis about the book available. If you need to add a couple more points because you feel it is valuable to your review, go right ahead. But to outline the entire story? It’s not necessary. We would rather know how you FEEL about the story, not give a bullet point presentation on it.
*When 90% of the review is quotes from the book. Okay, a short quote or two from the story is pretty cool to add, but please don’t fill your entire review with them. Again, we want to know how you FEEL about the book; what do you like about the quote or the character that’s saying it? When I read reviews like this, I honestly feel that the reader didn’t read the book at all and just grabbed quotes to fill a review. That’s truly what it looks like to me and I actually know people that do this because they skim-read books.
*The infamous DNF review WITH A RATING! Okay, so you couldn’t finish the book for whatever reason. No big deal. I’ve read plenty of books I didn’t care for. But to give an author a ONE STAR rating…. I just don’t understand it. First of all, I can’t rate a book I never finished. It was my choice to put it down for whatever reason, but I have no clue as to what the entire book is like BECAUSE I DIDN’T READ IT!!! So how can readers give one-star reviews on books they didn’t read? I’m sure there are people that disagree with me, and maybe you can send me a message to give me the other side of this debate, but I absolutely disagree with a reader rating a book they didn’t finish. When you read ten percent of a book and mark it DNF, please do not rate it. I don’t care whose book it is, you have no reason to do that. I realize some people believe if they couldn’t even finish the book it deserves a shitty rating, but if you’re gonna grade someone on their work, you at least need to have read it.
*Complaints that could have been avoided if you’d READ THE SAMPLE FIRST!!! You get a free sample of most ebooks, right? SO READ IT! I’m tired of reading reviews of books that say, “I just didn’t like reading first person.” WELL GUESS WHAT? You can figure that out from reading the sample. And you can usually figure out if the writing is good, too. Also in this category, people who complain about how long or short a book is. I’m pretty sure the information is right there when you purchase the book.
*Reviews that attack other readers or the author. I just CANNOT stand reviews that say “I have no idea why there are so many 5-star reviews for this book.” Or, my personal favorite, “All the rave reviews must be from the author’s friends and family.” … Okay, let me just say this. When I published my first story, NOT A SINGLE FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER OF MINE KNEW I PUBLISHED A BOOK.  This was my choice. I wanted authentic reviews from readers that did not know me. I got A LOT of fabulous reviews for that book and I still do. However, at some point, there were actually a couple of reviewers that literally berated other readers for giving it 5 stars, and they even claimed that I “obviously” had my friends and family leave great reviews. Okay first of all, FUCK YOU. I didn’t know a single person on there that left a review. And second of all, don’t ever leave that in any book review. It’s rude, immature, and it’s not relevant. It’s fine if you don’t understand why other readers liked a story, but realize that your preference is just different. If you don’t trust a review, then only get recommendations from your friends. Don’t ever attack other readers for the stories they like, that’s just ridiculous. Be respectful, for shit’s sake.

In closing, I realize that not everyone cares how they review a book, and to be honest, a review is a review and we’re grateful you took the time to leave one. But if you want to be a productive participant in the reader/author community, there are a few basics that can make this interaction successful. And when you anonymously leave a review, it doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole. I understand that sometimes tact is a waste of time these days, but consider the Golden Rule now and then and see if Karma rewards you somehow. You may find a random happy little morsel in your life when you least expect it =) 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pretty Much Whatever Comes to Me...

Don't read this if you don't have an open mind. The people that will value this post are the ones that are objective and willing to consider someone's view other than their own. I don't utilize my blogsite like I could, but...there are a few that care and those are the people who matter to me. If you follow me on social media you kinda know what I'm up to now and then, but I really don't share too much on there. I don't post daily selfies and I don't post every stop at the gym, or even better, a selfie for every stop at the gym. I have NOW AND THEN. But mostly I post about book stuff, kid stuff, or random humor that I find necessary to post. I'm generally pretty positive and love making my "thought" collages. But I don't really get into the heated debates that go on. I stick to my business, might occasionally comment on or like someone else's, but I don't like to be dragged into drama or give anyone my opinions without them asking. I stay in the background, thank you very much.

There is, in fact, a lot on my mind though. Always. It's usually easier to not say anything at all when it comes to my opinion on a lot of the dramatic subjects that sometimes overtake social media. Sometimes I'm just not willing to get into it; other times I feel there is no need to add to it. My voice realizes that there is more than just two sides to every story, so I choose not to take one. Most things in this life are not simply black or white.

But...if you really want my thoughts on some things, here ya go! I may offend someone or you may agree with all or some. It's not my intention to do either; this is just ME standing in my own shoes.

Facebook and other social forums:
It seems like social media has become a staple necessity in everyone's lives these days. I'm seriously debating taking it off my phone. I personally enjoy it to a degree, but there are some things about it that are not healthy in the least bit, like being addicted to it or using it to compare yourself to others, or for people to feel tough while they sit behind a computer and bash other people. I love being able to keep in contact with the friends I meet at book signings, or even the people that I've never even met but they are fabulous to interact with. On a social level it's okay, and there's a variety. You have the "poor me" posters, the "let's everybody smile and give virtual hugs" posters, there are people who only share links or other people's statuses, and you've got the "I hate everything in this world" posters. Facebook is an outlet to share, positive or negative, but it is indeed an outlet. Oh and don't forget all the fake profiles that are just there to enter contests. Yeah, I won't even go there. But it brings me to my next point, Facebook for authors. Well, it's become a joke. If you have a business page on there, you can guarantee barely any of your readers see what you post. I wish I had an answer to this, but the fact is there are too many pages on facebook vying for attention. If you want to see your favorite pages, make sure you click 'get notifications' on their page so you don't miss any posts. And boosting a post on facebook does absolutely jack shit for you. I've never believed in it and after seeing the actual facts about it, I will never pay facebook for a damn thing.

I used to give stuff away all the time--I still do--but it has become completely obvious that there is a sea of contest enterers out there that have made careers out of it. I even gifted a Kindle Fire last year, and upon getting confirmation from Amazon that the lady received it, I got absolutely zero acknowledgement from her personally. Nothing. Not even "I got it". In fact, she wasn't even one of my readers. I'm not going to let that deter me from giveaways, but it has changed the way I do things. I would much rather give a member of my street team whatever it is I'm giving away ANY DAY. Those are the readers I want to reward for sticking with me. I do appreciate new interest on my page IF IT'S GENUINE. Hello. Welcome. LOVE having you. But I don't give a shit about how many likes I have on my page; you will never see me posting for likes. What I want is ACTUAL READERS, even if they haven't read something of mine. That's okay, maybe they will eventually. And I will gladly gift you a paperback or ebook if you're genuinely interested in reading it. If you're going to enter a contest for an ebook and are only interested in returning it for the credit...well I just don't have very nice things to say about that so let's move on.

The world of authors and publishing:
Okay, this is kind of a tricky subject. Sorry if the truth hurts.
I believe I self-pubbed at the very tail end of the "things are pretty good in the Indie world" era. I did surprisingly well, and three of my books even made it into Amazon's top 100. One of them was even #9 in romance. I don't even publicize that. A few of my closest friends know this, but it's just not something I announce. Why? Well for one, the book that hit #9 was listed for 99¢. Now some authors would say, who cares you made it!! Well, sure. But for wasn't an accomplishment. I had listed it for that price to entice new readers--and it worked--but it was by pure chance it hit traffic just the right way to get sales. I did nothing to help it get there, I had no part in that.
These days I couldn't even get in the top 100 if I tried. The market is just way too full. The thing with me? I bust my ass to write my stories, edit, format, and do the covers. Those things are important to me. Quality. When it comes to marketing them...that is where I don't spend my time. I'm generally too busy writing another book so I can put food on the table a few months later. Yes I advertise, yes I make teasers, yes I post things to generate attention...but it sometimes feels useless. At this point in time with the book world, there are just too many things changing. Bloggers are turning into authors and it seems like half the readers that friend me are too. Now, there's nothing wrong with writing a book--and I've certainly helped plenty of newbies find their way, I have no problem helping someone that asks me a question--but understand that it's not going to be easy money for you. ESPECIALLY NOT NOW. Please understand that even New York Times bestsellers are taking a hit right now. They may not be 'struggling' but they've noticed a difference. The industry is so saturated with new writers, you really need to have your best game--BETTER than your best game-- if you want to make a dent. Come in with a goal, but make sure you're realistic about it. Never give up if you believe you're good enough, but take into account that the market has drastically changed lately. I consider myself to be fairly successful AS A PERSON in my writing career, but I could actually be making money if I were to get a different job. Yeah, I said it. There's no way I can make a living off writing alone right now with how the industry has shifted. A lot of us are looking for other jobs, so if you have one right now, don't quit to write full time unless you have another source of income in your household. And Kindle Unlimited? ...I don't even know what to say about that. It was suggested by several authors that I try it, so I put one book on there and I absolutely regret it. Now most of us feel the same about it: it's killing us right now.

Book Events, Photographers and Models:
A couple years ago I thought, I really want a custom photo on my book that's different than anything anyone has seen. I contacted a guy that had the exact look of what I wanted and he agreed to be on my cover. I used a photographer he wanted to use, and bam you have the cover of Tame This. Maybe I was oblivious to anything similar to that going on, but I know for sure it wasn't a big thing like it is now. Now it seems like my feed on facebook is a constant photographer/model fest. I don't even have to have liked those pages for them to show up in my feed, they just do through other people. And instead of an occasional model showing up at a book event to sign covers of a book that s/he is actually on, every event seems to have turned into a photographer/model convention. I do like having cover models there WITH their authors to sign books, but I'll be honest when I say the debate has gotten out of hand. Some authors feel that the models and photographers have become more important than the books at these "book" events. My thoughts? Well I believe the cross promotion and networking helps everyone as a whole, but looking at it from a business standpoint, the money spent at these events is being spread very thinly now that readers have photos and calendars to purchase. It's kind of like a small town gaining a new fast food restaurant or store for the current businesses to have to compete with. No, nobody wants their business to take a hit, so there has to be an increase in customers to make up for it. Just like at a book event, if the attendance numbers are low, authors suffer. I don't have a problem with events including cover models because there are so many variables involved in making a book signing successful already. Who's to say if it's an added benefit or not. My most successful signings were: 1) an event where there were only 12 authors and NO models or huge after party, and 2) a huge event where the models definitely seemed to be the focal point of the entire thing. So...yeah, who the hell knows anymore, but I feel that there is a BETTER way it can be done. Yep, I said it. There's a right way and a wrong way to have models and photographers attending a book event. I also feel like they should only be there attending with the author whose cover they are gracing. Sure any are welcome to show up, buy a ticket, buy a book, mingle at the parties. There are many opportunities for networking. It's becoming a frenzy, though; which photographer and which models are going to be where and such, and I do feel it takes away from the actual purpose of a book signing. But with every fad, you have to learn to roll with it and adjust. Find how it works for YOU and focus on that. If it doesn't, there are also signings that are author-only signings and those may be a better fit for some. What may work for you may not be what works for someone else, so maybe there isn't a right or wrong answer as to which type of event is "best", but there are some basic guidelines that make them run smoother nonetheless. However, the bottom line is that the number of attendees needs to at a fair ratio for it to be successful either way.

The Infamous 99¢ debate:
Okay, so some people won't purchase an ebook if it's over a dollar. Seems a little extreme to me, but I guess if maybe you read 10 books a week or something, yeah, you gotta penny pinch. But with every hobby, there is money involved. Sucks as a reader to actually have to pay for books to read, but anything to make it easier, right? Yes, I'm being sarcastic. But I understand that the economy stinks right now. And trust me, I'd rather you wait for 99¢ sales than go on pirating sites to steal our work. So who am I to complain? (And for those of you that do steal from authors this way, SHAME ON YOU. I don't care if you can't afford a book, you don't walk into a store and steal it. Purchasing a book, reading it and then returning it is ALSO stealing.) Anyway, it's because of this trend that many indie authors are getting frustrated. Sell a book that took four months to write for less than a buck??? Yeah, sounds ridiculous because it is. Yes I do have an occasional sale for my books, usually when the next one in a series is coming out, but I don't particularly care for the 99¢ thingy. My books are 350-400 pages long. Selling them for pennies is insane. It does give me a chance with new readers, though, so that is the only reason I will do it now and then. However--and this is where I'm going to piss someone off--selling a new release for 99¢ just to make a bestseller list isn't cool. Like I said previously, I can't claim a 99¢ book as a bestseller for myself. That's just my personal choice. But this saturated industry of new releases and 99¢ books is becoming a mess. I love my readers and all that they've done to support me, but things are changing. We as authors need to respect our work and stop feeding some of those changes. Again: FADS. I realize we are all struggling and trying to find success for ourselves, but we're also hurting a standard that should be kept a little higher. I am in no way bashing people's tactics, but just disagreeing with them. We all want some type of cutting edge advantage in this packed industry, but I wish we could agree on a few things collectively and not weaken our value. But even if an author chooses to place his/her book for a dollar for their readers, let's get something straight. For those that don't, 3 and 4 dollars is NOT too much for a good book. It is fair and reasonable, and for authors to get messages from readers saying their books are priced way too high at that amount...I shake my head at you. You absolutely do not understand how cheap that actually is.

Use better judgment:
So this whole facebook thing... I've seen so much on there that I'm almost in awe. From people begging for money so they can fund writing a book or traveling, to certain individuals who think they are absolutely God's gift to EVERYONE. I wish someone would fund my traveling because then I might actually be ahead in life. But nope, I don't even break even financially when I go to book events--I usually end up in the hole--but I'm sure happy to see all of you! That's the only thing that makes it worth it. And the posers on social media...the truly sad part about life is that people tend to go into "worship" mode when it comes to these people. I really hate to say it but there are so many fakes it's not even funny. If I could give any advice on this subject it's this: if it looks like shit, smells like shit, then it probably is shit. I generally get along with everyone. Even if you've wronged me somehow, I'm still polite no matter what. I forgive, I move on, I'm still polite, but I don't kiss ass. Do you know how many people I have met that are complete assholes in real life? Gahhhhhh I wish I could name some names. But there are some individuals that absolutely THRIVE on people's adoration of them. I recently came across one of them in person (already thinking he was a d-bag but figured I'd give him a chance face to face) and guess what I discovered? IF IT SMELLS LIKE SHIT.... Yeah, not much of a surprise but it's nice to know my instincts are pretty spot on. I've had years of practice so I'm thankful for that gift of discernment. Pretty faces don't mean pretty hearts. Please don't feed the egos of these people. Someone that is constantly putting down other people and generally acting douchey on social media... IT'S NOT CUTE. Nor is it funny. Gain some class and use your status/position for something positive. On a better note, I have met some public figures that have EXCEEDED my expectations. I'm not easily impressed, but when it comes to someone that stands out from the norm...I like that. These are the people that I want to associate with. These are the ones I'm glad to call friends. I love people that don't constantly seek after their own gain, or make it seem like they are "helping" someone out but it's really in their own favor. Do something for someone because you WANT to; because you like to give rather than receive. Thank you to those that break away from that kind of garbage. Vanity and selfishness are not becoming on ANYONE, but humility and sincerity go a LONG ways. I'm grateful to those that realize this.

Me in a nutshell:
Haha just kidding, I don't really fit in a nutshell. But I will say this:
1) Treat others like you would like to be treated. Sounds so simple, I know, but for some it is really hard.
2) Don't say something about another person unless you would say it to their face. Because, silly rabbit, that is called GOSSIPING. It's one thing to vent to your friends, people that have your back and are there for you to talk to, but to constantly bad mouth other people in public forums or spread rumors in general isn't cool. Just think, how would you like it done to you? If it's not your business, stay out of it.
3) Lying just to bring someone down. Number 2 doesn't include telling flat out lies. Gossip and lying are two different things. Whereas gossip has sort of a gray area, deliberately lying about another person for whatever reason is downright unacceptable. You should never intentionally trash someone's reputation for any reason. If they have wronged you in some way, let Karma deal with it. I know it sucks to have people think ill of you because of someone else's lies. It is definitely a blow to my integrity and that is a hard thing for me to deal with. You can try to right what has been wronged, but other than that, people that stir the shit pot will eventually have to eat it.
4) I've never had fans and I never will. I have readers, I have friends, I have peers... I do not consider them "fans." I'm a people person and love to meet all of you, talk to you, discuss real life, whatever it is you'd talk to your friends about. I am a confident person, am fairly intelligent, and have a lot of interests that keep me busy, but I'm definitely not super great at any one thing that would put me above anyone else. I'm very independent and self-taught in almost everything, but I am also the type of person that learns from being around others. I love having differences with other people because I learn a lot more from that. If we were all the same, how boring would that be? Embrace what is special about YOU. Be proud of the qualities that are your strengths but don't hold back from working on your weaknesses too. We all have them, and that is why I would never hold myself higher than anyone else and why I would never hold anyone else higher than myself. I've often been misjudged as "intimidating," even since high school. Sometimes I'm baffled by this because I feel like I'm a pretty friendly person, I forgive quickly, I'm very compassionate because of the things I've been through in my life, and I genuinely love other people. But I've realized why others think of me as intimidating, or want to judge me a certain way. I'm okay with it, but it still hurts because I always want people to feel accepted or comfortable around me and I try my best to make them feel that way. The sad truth is, sometimes you can't change a person's perception of you no matter how misguided you think they are. You can only push along and work on your own weaknesses instead.

I'm way beyond my sharing limits right now, but I'll leave you with this:
LEARN TO FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH WHO YOU ARE. I know how important that is, and even though I love who I am, I'll still be working on my weaknesses for the rest of my life. I'm okay with that because I know everyone else is on that level right along with me. Or at least they SHOULD be concerned with their own faults and not everyone else's =)


Friday, November 7, 2014

Sample excerpt from "Maybe This"!

(Here's a short section from the story where Jay McCallan--who is very protective of his sister--confronts a guy he thinks is dating his little sister. Too bad Kellie actually lied to her brother about it! You'll have to wait for the whole story to find out why!)

Tate was about to go through the list of care and maintenance, dos and don’ts, but Liz came into the room and the look on her face was…confusing.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
She blinked a couple of times before shaking her head. “Um, nothing, I guess. There’s just someone here to see you. Someone…important,” she emphasized.
He had no one “important” in his life that would visit him at work, so Tate didn’t know who the hell she was talking about.
“I’ll finish up here,” Liz said, and she literally shoved him toward the door.
“What the fuck—?”
He left the room, shaking his head, but made his way to the lobby. The only person in there was a dude he didn’t know, standing near the door and leaning against the wall. Tate’s first impression was that he didn’t look too happy, and then his second thought was what the hell trouble did he get himself into to have some chick’s boyfriend come after him.
“You’re Tate?” the guy asked.
For some reason he looked familiar, and Tate had to scramble to figure out why. But he just nodded his head and answered, “Yeah, I’m Tate. And you are…?”
The guy came across the room and stood in front of him. They were about the same height and build and he looked badass as fuck, so if there was going to be some kind of altercation here, Tate could only assume it was going to be a messy one.
“I’m Jay, Kellie’s brother,” he answered.
Jay. Kellie. He had to take a few seconds to make the connection after he finally recognized who this guy was. He’d never caught what Kellie’s last name was--Rayne had never said--but he had no idea she was…a McCallan?
Fine. Whatever.
“Uh, okay. Nice to meet you,” Tate finally said. “Can I help you with something?”
Jay shook his head. “Nah, just thought I could help you out with something, man.”
Tate studied him for a second, sensing some kind of threat barely hiding underneath his tone.
“Well, okay, and what’s that?” he asked, going along with it for now.
“Just wanted to introduce myself, if you know what I mean. She’s the only sister I have and she means the world to me. Got it?”
Tate assessed the situation for a moment. He was so confused, but if Jay McCallan was coming here to threaten him, he was also completely intrigued. He never saw this coming, but he was totally game.
“That’s cool,” he replied. “Do you approve her tattoo artists for her? Take her to the dentist? Screen potential hairstylists? Gynecologists? Make her dates fill out resumés?”
A sarcastic smile spread on Jay’s face. “Ah, a funny guy,” he nodded. “You haven’t slipped through the approval process, trust me.”
“Approval process? And what am I being approved for? She hasn’t even come back in here, so I don’t know why you’re up my ass. I’ve seen her once, and that was over a month ago. I figured she found someone else to do her ink.”
The smile disappeared from Jay’s face. “What do you mean? You mean you two…?” He shook his head and scoffed as he stared across the room, but then he smiled again like he’d realized something crucial. He rubbed a hand over his face and said, “Okay, message received.”
“Hey, I’m not sending any sort of message, I’m just—”
“No, not you, my sister,” Jay cut in. He sighed and turned for the exit. “Sorry to waste your time.”
Tate felt the weight of indecision as he watched him reach for the door. Maybe this was a spoon-fed opportunity that he didn’t know he needed.

Copyight © 2014 Hadley Quinn
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Want to know what's coming after Kiss This and Tame This???? Well, you'll get Tyse's story next in Book Three, ONLY THIS. Here's a yummy little teaser for you: