I’m a softy though. I never went to a prom. Oh, it wasn’t because I didn’t have a date. My school didn’t have one. I dion't know if any school around me did, deep Bible belt thirty years ago. Think Footloose. Here though I also realize the town I live in is unforgiving (notice I didn’t call it my town even though I have lived here for seven years). I wouldn’t say the town is diverse nor does it welcome diversity. An old money town. I feel I live in a country club where I’m not a member.So when work called and asked if I wanted to work extra I agreed. I didn’t want to. I was tired and have so much to do, but it alleviated my guilt about spending the money on tanning (even though my daughter swears she’s going to pay me back). While I was working, though, I was thinking about my writing.
I have been a medical technologist for over twenty-eight years. Medical…what? I know. I know. I do have my college degree and a year of internship. Come to think of it I’m not sure that some doctors even know what I do. I work in the laboratory. At my present job I work in Chemistry, but for fifteen years I was a generalist working in chemistry, blood bank and hematology. Think microscopes, pints of blood, and expensive instrumentation. I also work overnights. It allows me flexibility and the traffic isn’t bad when I come and go out of Boston.
When I began my quest to write a best seller, my drive to write had nothing to do with my professional job. I like my job. I like the people. I don’t know if I can put into words the reason why I write other than I love to create stories. I started writing over ten years ago. A learning process if ever there was one. I have taken every bit of criticism and tried to learn from it, but there comes a time when I have to wonder what I’ve gotten myself into.
Honestly... the majority of authors, publishers, and editors I have met have been the most gracious, kind individuals. But at times I feel like I do in the town I live in. I’m on the outside looking in. At first I thought it was because I wasn’t published. Then after I became published, I thought maybe it was because they are only ebooks…
Naïve as I am I thought as soon as my book was published people would read it. I kinda compare it to the thought when I first moved up here twenty-six years ago. How hard could it be to pick 6 numbers to win the lottery? I know what ya’ thinking…a dumb little country girl trying to make it in the midst of big city folk and all. Honestly...I am.
I’ll give you a little background on me as a person. I would do anything for anybody. True. Maybe it’s my Southern blood running through my veins or maybe my ignorance. If I can help someone I will. I may joke about being envious, but I’m not. I admire people that accomplish what I haven’t done yet. I dream…I don’t dream about being rich, comfortable is just fine. I want only happiness. Within that happiness I strive to write. Writing makes me happy. I believe in fate and destiny. I believe that everyone has a purpose in their life. And I do believe that God does not give you anything that you can’t handle.
Saying all this, I have to add I may be not be smart, but I’m not stupid either. Oh, did I say I’m stubborn? You need to know that. I'm stubborn as a bull.
Now if you have reached this far, you might be asking where the **** is she going with this blog.It's just this. I have a list of complaints about being an author.
1) You can't question or correct an assumption!
That's hard for me, you know. Almost impossible. Frustrating. Now I ask you in any profession where can you not ask a question? But you can't being an author. It makes you seems unprofessional I'm told. I understand to a certain extend, but there are times when a question needs to be answered or an assumption corrected.
What brought all this on? A contest....okay, it's just a little contest, my first contest, but it was just enough added to my building frustration to make me question. Oh, not to the person, but to anyone that reads my blog. It is just this-
First- A couple of months ago, I couldn't find a contest to fit my needs. I figured a contest would be a good way to get my work evaluated by the 'professionals.' The problem- I can't enter a contest for unpublished authors and for published authors they want a hardcopy to read in other words- no ebooks. Finally I found one that would accept my submission only I couldn't place in a category I've been published in. A problem since paranomal and historical are what I write.
Second- The lady running the contest was kind enough to help me figure out another category to enter my submission. Stretching it a tad, but it did fit, if loosely. Friday I recieved the news that I didn't make the finals. The evaluation said I was in the wrong category! Made her wonder why I entered this category. Although she did say the submission showed potential. I think you have promise. Please decide where you want to place this and write to the market. I know...I know its not her fault, but I would have loved to have entered it where it should have been.
Third- You know what I need. I need someone to tell me, no show me what to do the right way. I need to be shown- led to the watering hole so to speak.
2) No one will tell me how to get a review and where!
Everyone, my publisher, my editor, other authors, have been so vague about where to go. What is the key to a review by the right reviewer? Would it help if my publisher ask for the review? Honestly, the more good reviews the better it is to promote your book. But how can you do that if no one reviews it?
My frustration- Most reviews I tend to agree with, but there are times!!!!
Example- Picked a book up a the bookstore glowing with reviews. Went home and wondered who the author knows to get published and more over how she got the reviews. I choked on the words she used in a historical
These are exact quotes(remember this is a historical set during the early 1800's)-
"God, Amy, you had me so worried. The thought of him touching you..."
"Didn't much appeal to me either." (who would say that in the early 1800's)
"That was wonderful," sighed Amy happily. (Now if I had space I would write the setting of the scene where the hero and heroine went at it on board a boat and the hero had just been reprimanded by the boatman who had only just said "Go on. Act like I'm not here. Treat my boat like a brothel. Don't matter what I think, do it?") So the heroine is oblivious to the fact that the boatman heard everything! He can hear them, but she can't hear him complain? Oh...it gets worse.
During lovemaking, the hero says, "This...might...hurt."
Oh, this book is just too easy to attack as an example. I'm not an editor, just a writer, but there are too many questions about this writing. One the author writes as if the conversation occurs in modern day. Some of the 'don'ts' that have been embedded in my brain by editors such as the use of 'as' a million times. And the style of writing... oh, like I said this book is too easy to attack. But this is the frustrating part- this book was published by a major publisher. This book was highly reviewed by sites that this publisher advertises on. Does anyone else believe that this might be a conflict of interest? Or is it wrong to question that it might? Would a better question be does a major publisher ever get a bad review on these sites? Or perhaps I'm just envious because I can't get a review on these sites?
That book wasn't the only one I have found myself differing with reviews. Another book, a fantasy, I picked up had thirty-two glowing reviews at the beginning of the book. Seven pages of 'couldn't put the book down.' Maybe it was just me, but I couldn't get into the book. Confusing, jumping from one scene to another, characters had weren't developed that just appeared (this wasn't a book from a series)...again another major publisher.
3) I'm not suppose to call attention to a miscarriage of justice!
Yes, I'm still upset with that review from a New Zealand book blogger. Oh, I know its just one review and you guys wouldn't have known a thing about it if I hadn't told you. I've decided not only to tell you about it but show you.
Why you ask? For several reasons. Shouldn't reviewers be held accountable for their reviews? If I know anything, I know this was an unfair review and for anyone that read it, it gives a false representation of my book. It is obivious she never read my book. But you tell me what you think? Should I have not said anything here?
My thoughts- The review hurts my book. The review is wrong on several counts. My book isn't a Regency. It isn't erotica. And I'm not suppose to say anything? When I received the review, I emailed her back, thanked her for her time, but pointed out that my book wasn't a regency or erotica. She didn't correct either.
For anyone that doesn't know my book, Patriot Secrets, I'll give you a short synopsis. My book is historical fiction set during the American Revolution (think John Jakes). It follows the lives of two siblings, Jonathan, who is a physician in the Contential Army, and Hannah, who by fate is spying on the British in New York. The story is not a lighthearted romance, nor was it ever suppose to be. There are battle scenes, a brutal raid scene where Hannah losses her stepmother, etc... And I do realize it does not follow the romance formula. It is historical fiction keeping true to the times of the American Revolution. The book is filled with suspense, intrigue, and love...it is also the first in a series. So saying all that here is the review I have issue with-
I Love regency themed novels , all the dressing up , the balls and the courtship - oh not to live in that actual age again as women weren't given the same amount of rights as they do today but to have their manners etc brought forth into today's society.
So what do you think? Should I be upset? Or should I have accepted it without a problem? I should accept that the reviewer reviewed my book fairly and it is the way she sees it? Given the fact that she doesn't say anything bad about the book. And if the review sounds a little familiar she used some of my blurb in her review.
I guess the real question is- does this happen to other writers? I mean if she panned my books for grammatical errors, the plot, the characters, it would hurt but I couldn't argue her opinion, but to give it a 3 P without reason and then call it a Regency and erotica?
So there's my list and my frustration. I guess the bottom line is you need a thick-skin to be a writer. It is so so competitive and subjective. My skin is getting thicker. I haven't lost focus of my goal. I keep on trying new things and see where it takes me. I will continue on my quest to become a better writer. I have no desire to get on the bad side of anyone. Truly, I don't and hope I haven't. My point in this blog is to say that all isn't rosy in this business especially when you're on the outside looking in.