Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fickle Feedback

Halo Fine Friends! And welcome to the Insecure Writers Support Group!!!

I’ve seen a couple posts this week by writers I respect and enjoy… friends… about negative review and how to take something positive away. For the source of my inspiration aside from my own experiences, which I will share, are here:

Elizabeth Spann Craig
Jessica Bell

These ladies do a great job of finding the bright side and offer a good example of what to do when feedback is mixed.

But what about when feedback is absent? Not entirely, but proportionately.

I’ve given away more than 600 copies of A Flock of Ill Omens. I’ve gotten 10 reviews. And I worry to some degree I got THOSE because I promised the next free in exchange.

Now I am TOTALLY guilty of downloading the free book and not getting there for a while, so that is VERY possible. In fact I have ALSO frequently downloaded free and NEVER read… It’s not my intention. I just have a long reading list and priorities change.

But, but, but… being on the RECEIVING end of that…

*note to self to read all these books I’ve downloaded and leave reviews*

I haven’t gotten horrible reviews… I’ve had some two star ratings with no explanation (one one star rating of the same sort) but the actual REVIEWS start with three-stars… but I don’t have NEARLY as many as a lot of people…

I’m not popular… I don't say that to be pouty... I'm saying it from a numbers perspective... I'm not well-known... Or maybe more likely, assumed to be a bad fit... People see my shenanigans and think... not my flavor...

You know this is like high school… people who got to know me mostly liked me… even people who didn’t THINK they’d like me (because I hung out with snobs or got good grades or whatever other attribution they’d used to make their assumptions)… But I never stood out enough on my own to give a TRY, or stood out too MUCH for reasons that didn't FIT.

For real. Jellyfish Icecream
Anymore I’m not so much concerned that I don’t stand out (hello, naked chick here…) but am possibly projecting something along the lines of this jellyfish icecream… I mean YEAH, it’s INTERESTING--it GLOWS in the DARK for Pete's sake, but are you sure you want to TRY IT? It’s just so… OUT THERE.

I also feel at a serious TIME, ATTENTION, and ORGANIZATIONAL disadvantage. I work full time, so I don’t have the time to make up for the fact that these OTHER two things are part of my personality. You have no clue how much I identify with the absent-minded professor. I get these amazing promotional schedules from people and I am BAFFLED at all the work it had to take… at how many connections they’ve made… at how well they have set it up.

So how does a time-deprived, absent-minded girl build a true following?


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Oh, I know what you mean! When you figure out the answer to that question, let me know!

Have you looked at Story Cartel and Wattpad, Hart? I hear excellent things about both of them and Wattpad, since you're writing a serial, seems especially suited?

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm kind of new to all of this, too, Hart, so I don't have answers for you. I'm learning though that some of it is out of our control and we just have to ride it all out and see where the journey takes us. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Charity Bradford said...

Absent-minded professors unite! I feel that way a lot too, but I've found I really enjoy organizing things. So much so that it's easy to do that instead of write the next book.

I think that's the key. You can't do both at the same time. My brain is either in writer mode or promotional mode. Having said all that, I don't know that I'm any more well known than you, so the question may be moot. *sigh*

I think Alex has the right idea though. He is always promoting others instead of himself, and we'd all follow him into space any day of the week.

Note to self: work on that clone machine in the back of the closet...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It is a challenge! I'm guilty of downloading far more books than I can read. I try to do reviews on Goodreads, but I'm just too slow.
And Charity - thank you! I try.

Karen Walker said...

Oh, I feel your pain. I do think Charity is right about following Alex's lead. But not all of have the time he devotes to following and promoting others. You just have to find the tools you feel comfortable with and hope for the best. Good luck.

Diane Burton said...

Building a following happens slowly--very slowly. Do what you can.

Liz Blocker said...

I wish I knew what to tell you. I'm doing the follow and promote others route in the hopes that it'll help, but it's time-consuming. All I can say is hang in there, and keep trying!! My guess is that this sort of thing takes time, and work, and probably quite a few publications. And Lord knows I'm guilty of downloading things I never read! (Makes mental note to download and READ your books ASAP!)

Anonymous said...

Most of my books have zero reviews on them, so when I get even one review I'm over the moon! I have zero time to book promo though, so that probably has something to do with it. Oh well!

Chrys Fey said...

I have the same worries and my debut isn't even out yet, but I'm even more unknown than you are, so I'm really afraid that my eBook won't get any attention. All I know is that it takes a LONG time to build a following. I don't even have one yet, but the bit that I do have has already taken what feels like a million years. lol

I wouldn't want to try Jellyfish icecream, but I do want to read your book! :D

Lexa Cain said...

Well, I'm the wrong person to ask about building a following as I have no idea how to do it. My guess is you write the very best book you can, and try to be honest yet kind on the net. I really don't know what else to do... Good luck. :-)

Andrew Leon said...

10 is not a bad number of reviews for 600 downloads in my experience. I have no idea how many downloads of "The Tunnel" I gave away (well over 1000, but it may have been over 2000 (I should go back and count those up some time)), and I only had 12 reviews before I swapped it out for the first Spinner collection. Getting reviews is hard. Seriously hard. I hate it. I always feel like I'm begging, and I don't like that, either.

At any rate, I do, now, have your Flock and will get to it as soon as I can.

Lara Lacombe said...

If you figure out how to successfully connect with readers while juggling life, please share! :)

Helena said...

I am one of the guilty people who has not yet read A Flock even though I've downloaded it, but that's only because I've been so freakishly busy. I genuinely enjoyed your two cozy mysteries and I know I'll love your serial and will happily review it. However, I'm the last person on earth who could tell you how to build a following.

The fact is too, publishing (both traditional and indie) has changed so much that too much is now expected of us writers. We're expected not only to write our novels and edit and polish them and have blogs about them and so on, we're also expected to promote them as if we were P.R. pros and have all the time in the world. That's nuts.

So don't stress. You're already wildly productive and very likely have a following of fans (like me), and pretty soon you'll get more reviews -- and may they all be glowing.

Michelle Wallace said...

It sounds like writing the actual story is the easiest part of this entire venture!
The reality hits hard when it's time to get the story out there and get reader reviews... the self-promo thinggie is hard work... there is so much required of the writer... a frightening prospect...
I suppose it's a case of chin up, shoulders back, forward march... onwards and upwards!!
(Easier said than done...)

Arlee Bird said...

I kind of know the feeling though I can't relate it to books having published nothing myself. It's sad when the people who know how much reviews can mean to an author don't leave reviews. Especially if one has received a book for free, a review left in return is not a big price to pay.

I try to leave a review for all of the books I read, especially for those authors who can most benefit from having reviews left. I haven't read any of your books yet, but when I do I'll leave a review.

Now if I could only speed up my reading so I could leave more reviews!

Special report today on the "Story Sprouts" book launch in L.A.
Lot's of pictures in this one!

Tossing It Out