Monday, September 23, 2013

Saving Toby has a New Look!

A New Cover

New version to come soon

I have been working with an artist on a new cover for both the eBook and print versions of my novel. This one still has the designer's watermark on it.

Designing a cover has been quite an learning experience. Trying to get someone else to envision what I had in mind was, at times, difficult. (Worse through email) But I believe the final product is very nice.

What do you think?

Current version on Amazon

New cover by Steph's Cover Design

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Writing a Book Isn't Easy

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. 
~ Ernest Heming

Everyone is a critic. Authors must grow a thick skin.

I am both an author and a critic. I'm not proud to say I have been unkind at times, but being an author has made me more aware of criticism and how hurtful it can be. I've read some harsh and nasty public reviews of other author's novels online.

I found these reviews on Amazon:
Sorry but I think this author needs to find another profession. Could not go on after the 3rd chapter! Reads like a child wrote it.
 And another, after a paragraph of why the book didn't work for her, she ended with:
I won't recommend this book to my friends.
I won't buy a book from this author again. 
I am grateful these reviews were not aimed at me or my book, but I feel for these authors. The naysayer in me is resistant to believe these reviewers understand that out there, in the intangible world of the Internet, authors (especially us new ones) are reading these mean-spirited reviews.  

But hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion. 

And frankly, I want to hear them. I want to know what people like or don't like about my story.  But you don't need to degrade and humiliate someone and their work to get your point across.

Barbs like the ones above are meant to tear skin.

Writing a book is hard! No one goes into it thinking, I'll spend years writing a terrible book! (at least not that I know of…) Imagine devoting years of your life to a project only to have someone take two minutes to leave a review like either of the two above?

It's a difficult task to put together a believable plot, dream up interesting characters and weave everything into a flowing story line. Don't forget details and imagery. And one must not forget to be on top of spelling, proper grammar and punctuation! If you do it right, you'll pay a professional editor to work through the manuscript with you. Then, you get it published, right? Um, no. Even after writing and emailing out dozens of query letters to any literary agent who might be interested in our genre, most of us new authors get familiar with rejection letters.

But in this new age of publishing, we do have another option -- Independent publishing! Here, though, we're on our own. There's formatting, marketing, building an audience ... blah blah blah — a whole slew of elements to consider that the public doesn't see. For the first time author, it's like walking blindfold through a field of landmines. And that's all before the general public gets a shot at critiquing our book!

Despite setbacks and some unflattering comments, we writers forge ahead. It's our passion for the written word that keeps us going. Sometimes bruises even help us write better. For a writer like myself who enjoys well-crafted and intense emotional scenes, such bruises can be turned into words and fed through my characters' voices. If I am doing my job well enough, you will be able to feel them, too.

In closing, don't be afraid to be honest. Just don't be mean. No one benefits from being torn down.


Image: ‘Once upon a time’ isolated on blue — Stock Photo © Yukchong Kwan #3321691

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

If You Want Sweet and Gentle, Don't Read My Book

"Into each life some rain must fall" 

 ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Got my first 2 star review.

As much as I want everyone to LOVE my story, it is implausible. Tastes and attitudes vary so greatly from one person to another … and I know this.

The reviewer said she read the beginning and didn't care for the language or characters, and therefore did not finish the book. I take no offense to this review. It sounds like she wanted something gentler than what "Saving Toby" offers. 

If you want sweet and gentle, please don't read this story.

I put a 'Graphic Content' warning within the book's description on Amazon because I wanted to warn potential readers:


Saving Toby isn't gentle

I wrote it to evoke strong emotions. There are scenes that are sweet and a few that may make you laugh, but it is often harsh, and, at times, sexual but then, so is life and love. I tried to write an honest portrayal of a contemporary love affair. 

That said, the good reviews I have gotten, are frankly FANTASTIC! People I know who have read my story want to talk to me about it… It's an amazing feeling to be able to touch people in such a way.

I hope "2 Star" gets lonely. 

Image: Book — Stock Photo © Zsolt Bicz√≥ #19498213

Monday, September 9, 2013

Great Weekend!

Downloads were plentiful!

Over the weekend, Saving Toby was downloaded almost 1,700 times! It hit #1 in ranking for Romance and Love genre and #11 in New Adult/College genre downloads on both Friday and Saturday.

I also received an additional 5 star review from a reader! (someone I don't actually know! lol)

What also filled my heart with joy, was the phone call I received yesterday from my sister-in-law, a woman's whose opinion I value, not only because she is a wonderful person, but because she is well-educated, and a librarian, to boot. 

I was immensely pleased with her feedback, and I hope she won't mind me quoting her, but she said, "It is so much more than a love story."

She is suggesting Saving Toby to her husband and friends to read.

So if you took advantage of the free download over the weekend, please don't just leave it hanging about on your eReader. READ it! I think you'll enjoy it. And, of course, don't forget to give feedback!

Because of all the buzz with Saving Toby, I am very inspired to really dig into the sequel, Keeping Claudia. Working diligently to get it finished.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Free Downloads of Saving Toby

Get my book for Free!

If you haven't already gotten it, Amazon is featuring FREE, yes FREE downloads of my novel, Saving Toby, Friday and Saturday, September 6 and 7. Click the link below and get a copy. Be sure to leave a review when you finish reading. All reviews welcomed and needed - that's how we writer's grow!

Amazon Website link to Saving Toby