Monday, September 8, 2008

The Strange Magic of Books Reviews

NOTE ~ Pic is just for fun. Ain't that a whole lotta Bull?
Love ‘em or hate ‘em...or love ‘em and leave ‘em. But, nope, it’s not as though you can totally divorce yourself from those reviews which are less than flattering to your latest greatest effort at writing that spectacular novel, which you hope a lot of readers will love. Especially, once as an author, you've read the review.
Well, at least, I can’t. But I’ve never claimed to have elephant-hide psyche.
Reviews of your book are obviously a double-edged sword, at best. Even if you garner that prized TOP PICK in Romantic Times magazine, that in and of itself does not guarantee wonderful sales. On more than one occasion I’ve been told by authors that their other books actually sold better with a lesser review.
Yes, a good review will draw some readers. On the other hand, there are readers who live to rebel and intentionally choose books which have poor reviews. And then, there are the readers who have been burned before, and they aren’t going to ‘buy’ that good review.
Actually, from what I can determine, knowing myself and reading the experienced wisdom of other authors, the meat or story outline provided by the reviewer is often what determines whether or not a reader will buy that specific book, or try out a new author. If it’s a story which appeals or hooks them, then it goes in the cart, whether shopping or e-buy.
No question, the more your book(s) are reviewed, no matter the rating, the more name recognition you will gain as an author, and that is usually a good thing. It’s the ole’ idea that any publicity is good publicity.
As an author, of course, I tingly-happy love a five, and that top notch review. It’s a high. And feels like a reward. But, will it actually sell more of my precious baby novel?
Heck, I’ve had a couple of reviews...and actually I don’t have that many reviews yet...where the criticism of the reviewer would have caused me to purchase the book. Thus, one reason I named this blog ~ The Strange Magic of Book Reviews.
Another reason: Hey, there are just too many books for the limited number of reviewers out there in booklandia, which means, of course, your book might not get a review, or it might not be a timely one. Just last week on the Liquid Silver forum there were three new reviews for books two and three years old.
And another reason: Also last week, on the Passionate Ink forum a new author was worried about her *4* review from Fallen Angels Reviews, for a novella which hasn’t even been released yet. Well, of course, we all reassured her, and explained how good that was. And I pointed out no one at Fallen Angels wants to review my novels...yet. And Fallen Angels is not the only review site, nor am I the only author experiencing *the great review lack*. So there ya go.
Then! If your heart-prized and soul-driven novel is reviewed...well, does the reviewer *get* your story? If not, well perhaps, you would have been better off not receiving that particular review. It’s a matter of damned if you do get a review, and damned if you don’t. Often.
So, how do you make lemonade out of that not-so-good review? Okay, if you’re me, one thing you do is write this blog outlining your thus-far learned experience as a new author. And hope it provides insights for those newer authors.
And the real fun, as many authors confess, they turn those reviewers into villains, and perform all sorts of horrific ‘endings’ on them. Me? No, not villains yet, but, hey a minor character role, why not?
The specific review which inspired today’s blog? Read below. However, a comment first. For the sake of honesty, yes, I figured this would be the reaction/feelings of some people, which I totally respect and understand.

When A Good Angel Falls
Winter Solstice 2012
Savanna Kougar
Bookstrand, 2008
ISBN: 1606010611
Reviewed by Anne Boling for, 08/08
3 Stars
Sedona was a 63-year-old angel living in North America Union, 2012. She had witnessed many changes in her life. When she had car trouble, a mysterious person arrives offering her assistance. He had been sent in answer to her prayers for protection.
Volcano knew she was the answer to defeating the evil that possessed the Earth. For an angel, she seemed to have a very active libido. This is an unusual story. I'm not truly comfortable with the idea of a horny angel; I'm definitely not comfortable with the word goddess being used repeatedly. Savanna Kougar is a talented author. Whether you like the subject manner or not, you must recognize her active imagination.
What was my first response after reading this review? Below is what I said in the return e-mail, which was not sent from the reviewer.
~ Ah, those naughty libidinous angels, just can't keep 'em in heaven and away from Earth. ~
Not a bad line for Book II in the Winter 2012 series, methinks.

Wow, when it rains, and it is raining as I add this latest 3 Cup review from Coffee Time ~ it pours another review.

ISBN: 1-60601-061-1
August 2008
BookStrand, Inc.
168 Pages
Erotic Futuristic Paranormal Romance
Rating: 3 Cups
Sedona Khali is a survivor. Using her psychic abilities, she stays one-step ahead of the military trying to destroy all good beings on planet earth. Constantly traveling, Sedona has no hope left and is ready to give up the fight for her life when a fellow rebel steps in her path.
Zerr Dann, better known as Volcano, came from another dimension with one goal in mind. He is there to protect Sedona from The Dark Masters killing off angelic ones. Volcano must use his seductive touch to bring her powers forth. But he is not expecting her to be afraid of intimacy.
As their travels continue through the wastelands of earth, Sedona continues to fight the attraction she feels for Volcano. Meanwhile, he is using all of his carnal knowledge to seduce this angelic one. And the war of good versus evil continues as The Dark Masters try to eliminate these two rebels forever.
Ms. Kougar has a vivid imagination. If you mix the movie Waterworld and the movie Mad Max, you will get a picture of what earth is described as in this book. The overwhelming conflicts and hurtles the two main characters must face have an edge of your seat feel until the very end. The erotic love scenes are both sensual and romantic, bringing reality into the description. Sedona grows throughout the story, aided by a strong-willed Volcano. For me, though, this tale was just all right. Some of the storyline was lost in translation as I did not understand much of the futuristic dialogue used.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Ah, dear Danielle, was not happy having to read my futuristic dialogue novel. Of course, given it is in the future one might assume that language has done some amount of changing, as it’s always done throughout history.
In truth, I feel sad that she read a book she obviously did not enjoy. Too bad for her and too bad for me. Since some of her outline of the story is incorrect. But, there ya go, that’s the way the ole’ review ball bounces.
Isn’t that what we face as authors, though? Those readers who don’t purchase because of a review, but would have loved the book.
On the opposite end ~ what about the reader who does purchase because of a review, then doesn’t care for your book?
The bottom line, consider all the opportunities lost out there in Readers’ Realm. The readers who would have loved a book, but didn’t read it. And, the readers who could have read a book they enjoyed, but instead utilized their time reading one they didn’t like. All based on reviews.
To the contrary, of course ~ what about all the readers who discovered that special ‘keeper’ book because of a review? That author who is now on their auto-buy list?
My curiosity demands I wonder from a cosmic perspective how it all balances out? Even though, I have no way of knowing that.
Of course, since this is a Coffee Time review, I could change the title of the blog to: The Strange Magic Brew of Book Reviews.

PLEASE NOTE: The above reviews are for educational purposes only. Not for the purpose of promo-ing my book.

Now this is a review...
WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~ link to Lindsay Townsend’s review


Evonne Wareham said...

Interesting to see all the different views Savanna. It just goes to prove it's all a matter of taste.

Savanna Kougar said...

Evonne, true. I've been told by those wiser about reviews to find those reviewers who like my books, and stick with them -- and that, often, it takes awhile for that to happen, but it usually does.
So, we'll see.
Looking forward to the big announcement!

A.M.BRown said...

Every possible thought I could have ever had on reviews, you just nailed them square on the head. As an author, I didn't so much agree witht what was said on either of my reviews, but the fact both were 3's I've held my head high and will continue to do so. A review is just an opinuon of the book someone read. Not everyone will feel that way about the opinion. Yoiu're so right, chick. So right. And love the pic on there, haha. Goes to show a sense of humor

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi A.M., thanks for your comments. Hold your head and your book high!

Lexie O'Neill said...

Welcome, A. M.!
Not having had a review (or a published book for that matter), I would guess bad reviews are like rejections--eat chocolate, try to learn something and move on. Right?
Thanks for blogging with us,

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Lexie, did you mean commenting? Since I wrote the blog?