Thursday, September 22, 2011

When A Review Means Something

Hi all! Good to be back here again today. I've been trying to post since around 4am this morning, but my wireless signal strength is about as effective as dial-up. It evidently felt Blogger stretched it's capabilities today. Apologies.

I must say, I’ve returned from Hawaii and find that life is chaos. It seems no matter how much I accomplish in one day, my head’s still in the sand, my lungs are full of salty-air, and my to-do list triples daily.

But before I left, I mentioned Misunderstanding Mason was coming out on the 31st. It released. Unfortunately, that day, I was swimming in the cove to the left. So I missed a lot of promotion pushes.

It did, however, garner interest and the first two reviews that I’ve received have both been 5-Star reviews. I found though, that while both were beautiful reviews, both were professional, and both significantly pleased me, one seems to have given me a tad more ‘warm-fuzzy’ than the other. So I started thinking about why… and I’ve learned something about myself.

Reviews are part of the process. Good, bad, indifferent – an author recognizes he/she cannot please everyone and there’s a level of expectation about that “terrible review”. Occasionally there’s one that really impacts us, or that we remember.

For me, the review by someone who’s not read me before, and finds my work pleasing, is the review that impacts me the most.

“Claire Ashgrove is a new author to me, but you can better believe I am going to get better acquainted with more of her work real soon!” ~ The Romance Reviews (I cannot computer generate the reviewer’s name with special characters)

That statement is why I write. Not because that’s a compliment to me, though I certainly appreciate it. But because one person has been impacted by my writing, who had not read me before.

I remember strictly as a reader, discovering a new author and that thrill of “Oh wow!” There’s a special feeling about that discovery that even overrides the comfort of reading a book by a favorite author. It’s exciting. It’s fulfilling. Kinda like romance, itself, and falling in love with another person.

I write romance. I want readers to fall in love with the heroes and heroines that I create and the trials that they must overcome. If I can generate a reaction like the above, I have done that, and I have fulfilled my responsibility as a writer. My chore is to then continue to meet that readers expectations with each and every book I produce.

I keep remarks like that in the forefront of my mind when I write. I am conscious of my reader, not just the story I want to tell. That’s my job… for without readers… I’m writing into outer space.

So what about you? What’s it like to discover a new author? What’s it like for you authors to hear remarks like that? For reviewers – are you aware that mentioning something similar can totally make an author’s day?

Curious to your thoughts.

If you’d like to hear more about Misunderstanding Mason, I’m going to be posting a new excerpt on my website over the weekend, replacing the short excerpt with a longer, first-chapter cut. Stop on by and check it out!



Jannine Gallant said...

You may have missed a little promotion, but I'd say that cove makes up for it! LOL

I take to heart your words about a reader's expectations once she's read our work and liked it. Is it the five star review for the first book from a reviewer I remember, or the 3 1/4 star review for the second because she didn't think it was as good as the first? We all hate to disappoint. However, that same book received other 5 star reviews. When it comes down to it, authors have to remember that all reviewers are people with individual tastes. You can't please everyone all the time. We can only produce our best work and move on.

Barbara Edwards said...

All reviews are subjective. I tell myself that every time I get one. the good ones still make me bound and the poor ones make me droop. just human nature I guess.

Laura Breck said...

Congratulations on the 5-star review, Claire! Very exciting, and wonderful words to warm your heart. I'm jealous of your Hawaii vacation! What a great way to celebrate your release day ;-)

Jerri Hines/Carrie James-Haynes said...

Great reviews! Good luck with your release. Interesting you brought up reviews. I do believe that reviews help gardner attention to you especially when they are as good as yours. Congratulations.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Just to get a review is exciting. So many books get passed over. I really love your cover. It rocks.

Alison H. said...

Reviews can be such a mixed bag, but the ones that mean the most to me are the ones where the reviewer understood and enjoyed what I was trying to do as a writer. I've received 5 star reviews that were so incoherent I couldn't find a single line to quote and 4 star reviews where the reviewer thoughtfully expressed her feelings about several aspects of the book. Congratulations on your terrific reviews--a great review can really make your day (as well as help you push through some of the tougher times)!

Claire Ashgrove said...

Thanks all! I agree, they are wholly subjective, and that's key for an author to agree. And yes... getting one at all is wonderful. The market is so full it's getting harder and harder.

Interesting thing here... all the things that folks seem to love, like the cover, the heroine, the "real" conflict, are all things that my SO can't stand about the book. Just goes to show that men so don't "get" what women enjoy reading :P

Claire Ashgrove said...

Oh, and... I wouldn't feel right, since so many remarks have been made about the cover, without giving credit. Rae Monet did the cover. She's done the vast majority of mine, and she's astounding!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Claire,
Great blog. I love your cover too.Rae Monet is so talented. She has designed a couple of my covers as well and she did my website,too. It is lovely to get a nice review, but sometimes, even the worst ones aren't as bad as they first appear. You can always garnish something from them.



Vonnie Davis said...

I love your cover! I, too, had the fortune to have Rae design mine for "Storm's Interlude." She's fab.

Congrats on the five-star reviews and for landing a new fan. I'm sure that reviewer won't be the last. Wishing you great sales.