Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Amazon Reviews: A Joke or Not?

There's been a lot of news lately on author blogs about Amazon's latest clearing out process of reviews that don't "fit their guidelines."

I don't review books on Amazon since as both an author and a publisher, they don't allow it. Plus they might look more closely at my own books and start eliminating positive reviews. And leave the one-star reviews like "worst book I ever read."

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Amazon's review policy, it's always fun to discuss. Here's a few on WiDo books that have made me chuckle.

"I honestly can't remember this book at all even though I know I've read it. Here, Amazon, here's your review. Now you can stop asking me." (Predator Girl by S. B. Roozenboom)

"Hi I am going to the store with my family and my dog we need lots of dog food." (Arizona Guy by Raymond Spitzer)

"Maybe more stars if I were in my teens and I was a girl. Good story though." (Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner)

"and one good looking author. I look forward to seeing more of your books, so keep it going. and I be reading." (Predator Girl by S. B. Roozenboom)

And another one clearly annoyed by Amazon's repeated requests to submit a review:

"Cannot give any good rating on this book as I didn,t finish reading because I thought it was boring." (Red-tailed Rescue by John Irby)

So on one hand you have Amazon begging people who have downloaded books to please, please, please, for the 40th time will you tell us how you liked it. And on the other hand Amazon takes off reviews from serious readers.

A thoughtful review comes down while a comment about going to buy dogfood stays up. I don't know about you, but regardless of where the discussion takes us, I'm amused by all this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tweaking a Book After Publication

My novel Lighting Candles in the Snow (WiDo Publishing, 2012) never sold as well as my other books, an understatement since it never did well AT ALL. Ever. It's the only one that dropped below a million ranking on Amazon Kindle and stayed there.

Finally, it came time to do a bit of tweaking. The ebook has a new cover, and the summary has been tweaked also.

Newly divorced Karoline London needs to heal and find her normal again, as older sister Suzie keeps reminding her. But what does Suzie, married to the ideal husband, know about the shattering effect of living with someone tormented by addictions? 

When Karoline meets a handsome new man, things just might be looking up. Until the day she learns about a tragic event in ex-husband Jeremy's childhood. 

Faced with the horrifying experience that shaped the man she used to love, Karoline reconsiders what she thought was real. In the process, she comes to know the true meaning of love and forgiveness.

My husband said, "As long as we're making changes, how about you take out some of the swearing?" He and I do not swear in real life. However, this book isn't about us. It's about a divorced couple, the divorce driven by a troubled man and what happened to make him who he is. There are characters in this book who do swear, although not that much since I toned it down. But in the world represented by my story, yes, there would be swearing.

Seriously, I don't believe that's what affected sales of this novel. I write different genres and each of my books has its own audience. The audience for Farm Girl will be different than the one for Lighting Candles in the Snow. And generally, those who read Candles gave positive reviews. My favorite is from an unknown reader: "my life is played out in her story. I'wonder how this woman can know enough about addiction? seems so very real. o hell it is real."

As I've stated on this blog, I write what I want and don't concern myself with genre. It may hurt book sales overall, but I don't worry about that. When a story idea comes to me, I go with it and let it come to life with the characters that show up. I don't turn any of them away, even if they swear.

I'd like to see this book get more attention. What do you think about the new cover? And any feedback on the summary? I'd love to know what you think. It's gone to WiDo's summary expert for review so may change again when he gets back to me, but please share your insights!