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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some mild swearing:

In an earlier thread that got locked -- probably for the best -- I'd complained about how some writers behave, but I didn't type the word "some." I thought it was implied, I thought people knew me well enough to know that, but it was sloppy of me not to phrase it better. I'm am wearied by the antagonism between reviewers and writers, and the last thing I want to do is add to it.

What I would like to do is say I love reviewing, and I love reviewing indies in particular. Which would have been news to me a little over a year ago. ;D I feel like I'm helping people find books and perhaps take a leap to try someone new. And, while I don't review for writers, I love that sometimes I can say really nice things and help someone out. When that happens it's icing on the cake, and I get to see them around and get that warm feeling remembering the enjoyment I had in reading their books.

In the short time I've been reviewing for Red Adept, I've accumulated a list of writers I'd rate with the names everyone knows. Among them, Grady Hendricks, James Everington, Jeff Menapace, and Barry Napier. Although my list is a bit of a "sausage party." (I'd include Courtney Milan, but I've been a fan since back when she worked for "The Man," if the people who bring you Harlequin romances can be called "The Man.") The list is also really horror-centric! Oh, Mary Anna Evans, which wasn't a discovery through Red Adept, but through Kindle Boards.

And, let me discuss my greatest act of charity. I believe it was in April last year that I offered a month of reviewing indies and did a struggling young author a huge favor by reading her little vampire story. I don't know where this Amanda Hocking kid is today, but whatever little success she might have found is probably due in no small part to my review. (There aren't enough winky emoticons in the world.)

My wish for this thread is that people talk about the interesting or helpful, the new authors they've discovered through reviewing or reading reviews -- or just because a cover looked great -- the shared community. I'd be giddy if a writer shared how they read a critical review and knew it was right -- but that might be a pipe dream. :D
 
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Especially since we're ok with mild swearing here. Let's revisit this classic sung to the tune of those old Budweiser commercials. Please forgive the gender specific first line. I couldn't come up with a more neutral phrase. Credit for the back-up vocals goes to Sean Sweeney.

Bud Light Presents: Real Men of Genius (Reaaaaal Men of Geniusssss)

Today we salute you, Badass Book Blogger. (Bad-ass Book Blooogger)

86% of the country is literate enough to read a book, but only 1% has the cojones to spout off about it on the internet. (Typing 40 words per minute!) Neglecting your job, your family, and your social life, you tirelessly type away at your computer about the values of Romance and the fun of Fantasy. (Did someone say Harry Potter?)

Literature degree? You don't need no stinking literature degree. Your words come straight from the heart...and a caffeine-induced buzz. (Not spillin' java on my Kindle!)

So crack open an ice-cold Bud Light, Badass Book Blogger, because when it comes to your blog, you're the real hero. (Bad-ass Book Bloooggerrr)

(Anheuser Busch, St Louis Missouri)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought it said "snout off" instead of "spout off," but I was just lamenting a thigh dimple that was NOT there yesterday,  so I was susceptible to seeing that.

Thank you.  ;)
 

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There is a sausage-free horror author waiting for a Red Adept review, but I am constrained not to mention a name or title here.

I salute all reviewers of indie books, especially after Lynn posted about the weirdness of authors and fans.
 

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Michelle:  I love what you said and the way you said it.  As for "Aha" moments when reading some of my reviews:  The insightful reviews for "One Hundred Open Houses" have helped me have helped me to understand my own book.  Also there have been reviews of Nothing To Lose that are remarkable in their unique insights into the characters.  

One of the writers on these boards said something so wise:  once the book is out in the world, it is no longer the book you wrote but the book the reader reads.  And finally, the negative reviews have been interesting, too, in that the passion with which people respond to something is instructive.

Thanks for the post.  Consuelo
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
R. Reed said:
There is a sausage-free horror author waiting for a Red Adept review, but I am constrained not to mention a name or title here.
Mama mia!

Consuelo Saah Baehr said:
Michelle: I love what you said and the way you said it. As for "Aha" moments when reading some of my reviews: The insightful reviews for "One Hundred Open Houses" have helped me have helped me to understand my own book. Also there have been reviews of Nothing To Lose that are remarkable in their unique insights into the characters.

One of the writers on these boards said something so wise: once the book is out in the world, it is no longer the book you wrote but the book the reader reads. And finally, the negative reviews have been interesting, too, in that the passion with which people respond to something is instructive.

Thanks for the post. Consuelo
I think of the books I'm even passionately irritated by and realize that usually the passion comes from having really liked something about it, and having that kernel get buried. Often when I read critical reviews I recognize that same dynamic. While some reviewers are clearly jerks, I see an implied compliment in at least some of the rants. I'd rather get a "what the hell were you thinking?" over an "the whole thing was dull." I'd also rather READ a "what the hell" book.

I don't talk about myself as a writer much, because I haven't done a lot of it recently, and I don't share my pen name, but I will say that I find pleasure in feeling a reader understood me. Even when they complain about something that I struggled with while writing. "Yeah, see, I knew that was going to be an issue!" We had the recent "should writers thank reviewers" thread and I said that I didn't mind, but that other reviewers might be bugged. I have to confess though that a writer once gave me the best thank you email, and I treasure it.

I just read the review you posted on Amazon.com of my book, and I wanted to write to you and say how much I appreciated it. Thank you so much! It was thoughtful and well-written (which always impresses me--book reviews are so hard! I hate writing them) and insightful and you completely got my book. I wanted the book to be sad and funny and sometimes both at the same time and I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see that you picked all of that up. And you clearly spent time and put thought into the review, which was wonderful. Also, I love Mad Men, so thanks for the comparison!

Anyway, I just wanted to send you a quick note, because those reviews can really do a lot for a book, and it made my day to see such a lovely and thorough write up.

Thanks again, and if there's anything I can ever do for you, let me know!


I might propose should we get same sex marriage in Minnesota. She'd have to move here though.
 

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Thanks for this thread. Can't speak as an author yet, but as a reader, reviewers are how I find books. I owe them quite a lot.

Now I'm off to compile a list of authors to share...
 

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MichelleR said:
I'd be giddy if a writer shared how they read a critical review and knew it was right -- but that might be a pipe dream. :D
Since you asked.

This is a mail, dated April 13th, to a reviewer:

Hi,

I don't mean to spam you, but as you provide your email-address, I'm going to suppose you welcome reactions. Speaking of which, I try to abstain from public reactions, unless when asked a direct question. When you write stuff the dangers are too great for being misunderstood.

Thank you for a very thorough and balanced review. I am glad, and I feel honored, that you thought my book was worth investing so much time in writing this. I'm more pleased with this four-star review than with some five-star reviews. (I like them as well, I hasten to add. :D)

It is so gratifying when a reader 'gets', to several decimal points, what you tried to convey with a narrative.

- I was a little (okay, a lot) upset that the story contains pretty graphic descriptions of several meaningless sexual escapades but then fades to black when the narrator is finally with the one boy who matters to him.

You're not the only one. I was not very happy with this 'solution' myself, but this was the first story ever I wrote, and at the time I didn't feel I would be able to convey all the love and tenderness between the two characters in a sexual context. So, I copped out. Ah, well... what can I say? Anyway, you put the finger exactly on one of the several weak points.

- The epilogue--which is lengthy--is written by a character other than the narrator, and he uses the characters' last names. Because of this, it was a little slow going for me because I had to keep pausing and pairing up last names with the first names that had been used up to that point.

This I wasn't aware of, I mean, the fact that it gave you some difficulties. I'm taking note, and maybe in a later edition I can repair this by having the narrator of the epilogue use their full names. It would both make it easier for the reader to know who's who, and preserve the 'distance' the historian has to his subject.

- It took a while for the overall structure of the story to become apparent to me. The first several chapters detail occurrences from the narrator's childhood, and the connections between them all are tenuous. I wondered more than once where the story was going. (The events ARE connected; we just don't find out HOW until later in the book.)

This, I'm afraid, was a matter of choice. I actually wanted to bamboozle you into thinking this was just another, albeit somewhat grittier, coming-out story. Mileage seems to vary. :)

a story that I'm still thinking about, almost a week after having finished it.

This I'm actually very, very pleased with.

Thank you again. Your review was not only very enjoyable and flattering, it was - rare occurrence - also useful.

Andrew
This is the text, copied from an Amazon readers board I found by accident, while looking for something else entirely, some time later:

I got such a nice email this morning from Andrew Ashling, the author of A Dish Served Cold. He thanked me not for the NICE things I said about the book in my review, but...wait for it...for the CRITICISM!

Such a nice change from the authors who go around berating reviewers for their "negativity."


Just to refresh your memory, I sent you the link to this reaction, last month, in a DM:

Andrew Ashling said:
Actually, I don't write that kind of reactions.
Only when the reviewer provides an email address I will - sometimes - write them.

I found this, by accident, long after the facts:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/m%20m%20romance/ref=cm_cd_et_md_pl?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx3IBPE2ME27JZ8&cdMsgNo=5786&cdPage=232&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxIVJJR7V2XCD0&cdMsgID=Mx1OP4Z4C4LU0KX#Mx1OP4Z4C4LU0KX
Will this do? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Andrew Ashling said:
Just to refresh your memory, I sent you the link to this reaction, last month, in a DM.
A gentleman doesn't point out a lady's encroaching senility. ;D
 

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MichelleR said:
I'd be giddy if a writer shared how they read a critical review and knew it was right -- but that might be a pipe dream. :D
This one is easy!

In response to this review by StaceyHH at Goodreads, I added over 4,000 words to Spiderwork.

And in response to a private message from a reader/reviewer popular on the Kindleboards (I won't out you, BT, but feel free to speak up!) I decided to merge Blue Amber with Bleeder.

I have been lucky to be reviewed by some wonderfully critical (in the best sense of the word) readers.
 

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LKRigel said:
This one is easy!
And in response to a private message from a reader/reviewer popular on the Kindleboards (I won't out you, BT, but feel free to speak up!) I decided to merge Blue Amber with Bleeder.
I have been lucky to be reviewed by some wonderfully critical (in the best sense of the word) readers.
You also expanded and filled in information to make some parts clearer after we pm'd back and forth. But those weren't reviews per se.. just private feedback.
 

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BTackitt said:
You also expanded and filled in information to make some parts clearer after we pm'd back and forth. But those weren't reviews per se.. just private feedback.
And it was so kind of you to share your thoughts with me that way. (I'd point out to everyone that this was before you became a reviewer proper.)

I love this brave new world where authors and readers speak with each other. Yes, there are times when the crazy pops out, but mostly we're all people who love a good story and want the stories to be the best they can be.
 

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Oh, Michelle, how can I thank you enough for the "Be Nice" video?  ;D ;D ;D
Cidney

PS I have a "Jeeves" alarm clock that is filled with 6 months of Stephen Fry saying Jeeves-y things to get my lazy butt out of bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
cidneyswanson said:
PS I have a "Jeeves" alarm clock that is filled with 6 months of Stephen Fry saying Jeeves-y things to get my lazy butt out of bed.
I've not-so-secretly always wanted that clock.

 
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