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Feedback, and a blog update

January 17, 2012

I’m still in the learning stages of this whole writing thing. I’ve been writing for years, but I only started publishing in August of 2010. It’s going well, but I’m painfully aware that I have a lot left to learn. [Insert people rolling their eyes and nodding here.]

One of the things I have learned a little about is feedback from readers and others who follow my work, however peripherally.

  1. This is for the new writers: don’t expect much feedback, at least not at first. When you go buy one of Konrath’s books, or one of Locke’s Donovan Creed stories, it’s easy to get a little discouraged about a lack of feedback when you sell your own. What I’ve learned is, most people won’t give you feedback. I don’t know what the percentages are, but they’re darn low. Please understand that I’m not complaining; it’s just how things are. Don’t expect a huge amount of public feedback, including comments, Likes, reviews, or stars.
  2. Don’t worry too much about the reviews you do get. Even Stephen King talks about this (in his amazing book On Writing): ties go to the writer. If someone hates it, and someone loves it, then it’s a tie and you’re fine. Don’t get upset with your bad reviews, and treat good reviews like the little bits of candy that they are: they’re very pleasant for a moment, but it’s not why you write. I’ve had both good and bad reviews, and I don’t let them slow me down.
  3. Well, okay, worry a little bit. If you get consistent bad reviews on a book and they’re all saying something like, “Please get rid of the kid,” or “The blurb has nothing to do with the story,” then you might take that into account. You certainly don’t have to, but it might help your sales.
  4. Most of the feedback you get isn’t going to be public, but that doesn’t make it useless. Sure, an emailed, private review doesn’t improve your book’s ranking on Amazon, but if it includes a piece of advice that makes your writing better, I’d argue that the reviewer has done you a much greater service than leaving a three-star review.
  5. Some people will review without reading. I’ve had some bad reviews from people who hadn’t read the blurb at all, and I’m still scratching my head a little about the nice review from the person who admitted that they hadn’t yet read the story. People are really fun.

I gleaned a lot of that from my writer friends, and hard experience has taught me the truth of it.

In other news, there’s now a tab on my blog up there called My Books. This page has a complete listing of all my stories and bundled collections, along with prices, blurbs, and links to where they are available. I feel that it’s a pretty major update, mostly ’cause it took a couple days to get everything laid out. I hope that my visitors enjoy the new page.

Checking my work:

Nearly done with my Valentine story. I haven’t come up with a title yet, and it’s gonna be a long one, but the next couple of days should see the rough draft finished.

I’ve started serious work on the unicorn story, including beefing up the ending a bit. I suck at endings, and by the time I was done with that sucker I was ready to just see the back of it. Therefore, I didn’t have much of an ending besides a glorified “They all lived happily ever after go home now.” I’m planning on having it end up being a fairly long story, which will be fantasy with a strong erotic and transgender focus.

The New Year’s resolution of 2,000+ words a day (except on Sundays if I feel like it) is ticking along just fine. It’s amazing how quickly it goes sometimes; I’ve been done before 9AM several days, and I usually get up at 7. Some professional writers would mock my schedule, and they’re more than welcome to do so. After all, I welcome all feedback. Cheers!

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