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Promoting and Reviewing

Sarah Hoyt and I met at LibertyCon 25 last year.

Sarah Hoyt and I met at LibertyCon 25 last year.

This is going to be a short post. I really ought to be writing – well, ok, writing fiction, not blog posts. My day so far has been filled with writing, but for school, and work. I did a little reading, too, in breaks from the writing. One thing I read was Sarah Hoyt’s blog post, where she talked about cons, and publishing, and getting little recognition after years of being published. Well, I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, and not just because I think she is a great writer. She is also one of my writing mentors, along with Dave Freer. The two of them have believed in me for longer than I have believed in me.

Sarah has a new novel out, A Few Good Men, and I highly recommend it. Whether you are a reader of character, prefer great plots, or seamless world-building, I can assure you all three are present in this story.

The thing is, Sarah is one of those rare, very approachable writers. Not only is she a really nifty person, but she writes stories that suck you in, thrill you with action and a bit of romance, and leave you thinking long after you put the book down. Over her career she has written in several genres, under several pen-names, and I am looking forward to reading her recent re-release of high fantasy novels collected as an omnibus.

If I have interested you, click on a cover, and buy a book from one of my favorite authors.

The other reading I did today I will not provide a link to. It led to a lively discussion of when and what to do with a review, if you really hated the story. I had bought and read a short story by a relatively unknown author, with the intention of leaving a review. I like to do this, because, well, it’s like leaving a good tip. My other business, a good tip for me is a great perk, so I practice tip karma. I want to get reviews, so I write them. Anyway… I hated the story.

It wasn’t about the writing, which was workmanlike, if a little stilted (too much tell, versus showing). The ending of the story squicked me out. I am not squeamish, but this story got me on pretty much the only button I have (No, I’m not telling what it is!) and it upset me. I left a knee-jerk review within minutes of finishing it. Later, on reconsideration, I altered it. But it got me to thinking…

Why do we review? It’s not the same as a critique in a private writing group. I’m not trying to help a writer improve his or her craft. I’m a consumer, a reader, and I just bought a product. If I feel I didn’t get value… well, then I am justified in leaving a bad review. But to get scathing just because I didn’t like the subject isn’t the same thing. Now, I do think the author needs to somehow let the reader know what is coming. Hm – comes back to my old nemesis, foreshadowing. Also, something I am still feeling through, writing blurbs.

Well, this went longer than I had planned. I guess it comes down to – Sarah’s books are really good, well worth the read. And if you read something and like it, leave a review! Especially when you are reading a new author. Sarah has a great fan base (I’m told we are called Hoyt’s Huns. It’s pretty entertaining, really.) but everyone had to start somewhere.

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3 thoughts on “Promoting and Reviewing

    • And there is nothing wrong with leaving a bad review. I just decided that a one-star review simply because the ending grossed me out and hirrified me was unfair. But I did mention that in my final review, so future readers would know about the issue. I also hate leaving spoilers in my reviews, so this was a no-win situation.

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