Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Review!

Work is actually busy today, but I had to pop in to share this. As far as I know, this represents the first comprehensive review I've gotten from a book blog/place of reviewing. (i.e. - I don't really count the quickies on Amazon, B&N, or Goodreads... not that they're not hugely appreciated, just that they're not "comprehensive reviews.")

The Brazen Broads bashed my book! Well, I wouldn't call it a bashing, but it's definitely a legit review. I believe my author-friend Nadja Notariani clued them into my book (thank you!), and Moira Naveen (the reviewer) did the rest.  I wouldn't have even noticed if Nadja hadn't left a clever little comment that sent me flying off to read.  (Or, alternatively, when my Google Alert pops up this weekend.)

Whenever I know of a review (good or bad), I'm going to try and highlight it here.  I'm swiftly becoming a fan of book bloggers (as I'm just now discovering them).  I think it's a great idea.  I consider myself an avid reader, but there are a ton of people out there that put me to shame.  Some of these people want to share and summarize for others so that they can hone in on the books that speak to them.  Seems like a whole boatload of win in my mind.  In any case, I want to link these sites not just so you can see about my book, but also because if you liked my books, you may like a lot of the other books they burn through as well.

If I'm being quite honest, what excited me the most about the review wasn't the praise.  I mean, it's a great confidence booster.  I'm elated to know that a lot of what I intended, worked.  I'm especially tickled to know that could flip-flop a bias.  And I keep hearing about what a hunk Matthias is, which just makes me giggle.  I didn't set out to write an alluring character there, but now that I've been clued in, I can see where these ladies are coming from.  He was a ton of fun to write too, so I'll have to make sure to do him justice in future books.

No, what excited me the most - what really drives me back to the keyboard - is actually the criticism!  I've talked about it before on here, but my whole aim with this venture is to learn on the job (hence the blog name!).  I'm not afraid to admit it: I'm an inexperienced author.  I've been writing for a long time, but these are my first commercial attempts.

Moira leveled some completely fair and well-explained criticism my way (deftly, without sting, I might add).  This gives me some very concrete things to improve on in the next book in the series.  They are things that I didn't really notice, but when pointed out I think: Yeah, I could have done that better.  Some of it is just the nature of the beast (there is only so much book to explain things in), but I love having things to focus on.

Incidentally, this is a large part of what excites me about this whole process of independent publishing.  I work really hard to put out quality work, but there is always going to be room for improvement.  The speed to market means that I can start getting valuable feedback right away - even before starting on the very next book!  I'll stay true to my vision, of course, but I'll also be able to give nods to things that readers have really liked and improve upon what may not have been so great.  How cool is that?

It's also one of the reasons I'm flipping back and forth between two series.  I want to give the books time to get out there so I can have that feedback.  I know it's going to be frustrating to wait, but I think I'll be able to learn more and write a better book because of it.  Also, there's the whole day job thing in my way.

Anyway, thanks to Nadja for the referral.  Thanks to Moira for the wonderfully written review.  And thanks to all the readers out there that have given me feedback.  Know that I'm always taking the good with the bad and trying to get better.  To me, that's all part of the fun of writing.


Anonymous said...

Congrats! I thought that was a great review!

Matt said...

Thanks. It was extremely thoughtful and well-written, which is really the best you can hope for.

Nadja Notariani said...

Now if that review can inspire sales.... lol. I don't know how you're doing in that dept; I hope well. I hit almost 50 books in the first month...although it's been a quiet week. I sure do hope that I have another 50 book month! Like I had posted earlier, I'm still learning about this self-promotion thing, and I guess I will be for awhile.
As for reviews....I have mixed feelings about them. Naturally, I love seeing all those stars! I did get a three star review...which is still an encouraging review...but I wish I had the input to know what were the things that 'didn't work' for that particular reader. You know? But...I'm a brand-new-writer, like you. I have so much to learn about the craft. I'll keep plugging away. ~ Nadja

Matt said...

Yep. Those are great numbers. I'll have to check in on the September numbers sometime this week. I try to only do it at the end of each month, and otherwise ignore the numbers, focusing on writing more. Like I've said before, writing more is the best promotion I can do right now. As far as I see it, any thoughtful review helps... no matter what the stars. I mean, you're never going to be able to write something that absolutely everyone likes.

Nadja Notariani said...

Agreed, but I simply got the stars on that actual review. Probsbly greedy of me to want one...but I still ~ Nadja

Matt said...

Yeah, stars are hard to decipher sometimes. Obviously, you want the most, but it differs from person to person what they mean. It's nice to actually hear the thoughts when someone takes the time to write it out.

On the flip side, reviews that just say like "this sucks bye" are not helpful to anyone. I don't have a problem with bad reviews, but even then they should say why so that other readers can judge appropriately. It's not about my ego, it's about being helpful to others.

Nadja Notariani said...

Exactly. If you're going to give a bad review...explain why you didn't like my book! lol. I'm bracing for a bad one... It's my first book...and it's no Tolstoy...ha ha. ~ Nadja

Matt said...


There was a time before Mark Twain was Mark Twain. In fact, he was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. What this tells me is that... I need a catchy riverboat name.

Or maybe a geeky sci-fi one: Indicate Parsec.

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