Sunday, April 11, 2010

busy as a bee

I love these bees and all that lovely-smelling lavender! If you're ever inclined to visit here, we have a lavender festival in July and you can wander around in purple fields and just get dizzy from the fragrance. They even make lavender candy though I've never tried any.

Anyway, I'm busy as a bee here with one book about to release and another due. I should have those bookmarks and bookcards for Courting Morrow Little soon but think I'll wait till June to send them out. So if you're wondering where yours are I haven't forgotten you. I've just learned a thing or two since the release of TFD. That's what this writing biz is all about - learning what works and what doesn't and adjusting. I look back at all the uninterrupted time I had before TFD came out. I was so antsy for something to happen. Well, things are happening now and no two days are alike:)

Recently I finished up two endorsements for upcoming historical fiction releases, one an Amish-type novel and another that takes place in the roaring 20's. Both soon to be in your hands:) I also handed in discussion questions for CML and am working on a timeline for The Colonel's Lady. In the meantime I'm contemplating another book project. Prayers appreciated as I seek God's direction for the story of His heart and mine. Lots of ideas spinning around in this head of mine. Lately I don't want to sleep!

Soon the reviews for Courting Morrow Little will start rolling in from those who received advanced reader copies of the book. This is always such a bittersweet time for an author. I can't quite describe what it's like to get a five star review or a not so good one. It really is kind of like someone complimenting your child - or criticizing them:) Books really are your babies! I know authors who never read reveiws of their work and others who read every one.

What is your take on book reviews? How should an author handle them? How would you handle them as an author?


  1. Laura, how exciting that CML is already in the hands of your advance readers. I anticipate a deluge of glowing reviews.

  2. I find this a very interesting subject. It was on the loop recently on ACFW if you get that. :)

    One lady said it is good to read them, and use them (with a grain of salt) if anything that was said is true of their work and can it be approved upon next time?

    As for me, I really can't say what I will do someday when I am finally published. :) Probably a conservative portion of both, so as not to become conceited and to not be down because it seems no one likes my work.

    Another book?? I can't wait to see what comes of it!

  3. Keli, I sure appreciate your support. Since my first review for TFD was from Romantic Times magazine (they were so gracious), I'm looking for that any day now. Also Library Journal. For my influencers (like you!), the book should arrive in your mailbox prior to the release date. I'm guessing early June. Bless you for chiming in and spreading some Keli JOY:)!

  4. Casey, I'm beginning to think I'm really missing out on this loop business as you all discuss some really interesting things! You are so right - you can get puffed up by great reviews and in the pitts from bad ones. I like what my author friend, Ann Gabhart, said - a review is only one person's opinion. She's always on the bestseller lists and has sold lots of books so she knows! I also think there's a lot of merit to the lady who said to use it as a tool of improvement. If we're hearing the same things over and over in reviews about what worked and didn't, then it's probably a good idea to contemplate your work and see how you can grow as a writer.

    No book is perfect, that's for sure:) I'm so glad you're writing and active in the ACFW loops. They're a great bunch!

  5. I think Ann has it right. You have to write the story God has given you to the best of your ability and not everyone is going to like it. It sort of seems like baking sometimes - you come up with a fabulous chocolate cake but the vanilla lovers just turn up their noses and sniff at it!

  6. Carrie, Love your cake analogy! So true! My mom is a chocolate shunner while I love it. She also reads very different books than I do:) But she did read mine!

    I am going to remember your words - "You have to write the story God has given you to the best of your ability..." Truly, what more can be said?

  7. Ah....lavender. I bet that festival is lovely!
    And what an exciting time! I can just imagine how nervous and anxious you feel! Especially having someone critique something you've worked so hard on. I personally think its harder to share writing than painting, at least for me. Perhaps its because my professional writing critiques came in the form of: a mistake gets you a dozen phone calls, a great story gets you complete silence. Ah, what a fickle public! I still toy with the idea of writing, but I'm a little scarred from that experience. Til then, I'll paint and enjoy awesome books like yours. I am so anxious myself to meet Morrow.
    Best of luck!~

  8. Heather, I almost forgot your writing background! You've already been baptized by fire:) I laughed out loud at "a great story gets you complete silence." So true oftentimes! Sigh. I always chuckle, too, when I read library books and some reader before me has underlined the mistakes and corrected them and left their own footnotes!! I read a lot of library books.

    Can't wait for you to meet Morrow. She is such an interesting creature:) I sometimes wonder what Lael would think of her!

  9. I'm not so sure I would even look at reviews, but I guess it depends on if I was looking for opinions or not. I've heard a lot of authors like advice on how their book was so they can grow and then some I know don't look at reviews at all.

  10. Wow! Your days are definitely busy! It's so exciting to know that there are people who have already read the story of Morrow Little!

    Reviews? I think if I were a published writer I would read ALL my reviews in the beginning of my career---and allow myself to get really mad and have my feelings hurt over the negative ones. Then I think (hope) that I would mature and learn to take the reviews with a grain of salt. I don't think I could ever get over the desire to hear positives and praise, though!

    Remind me---is The Colonel's Lady the book that I have been thinking of as Roxana's Locket?

  11. That is such a lovely picture! It's a great way to start the week.

    Praying for your new book project.

    I'm not that great about posting reviews, but I am trying to get better at it. I think what I would say is no two readers are alike. I have a very good friend who loves the Amish fiction. I enjoy some of it too, but she and differ greatly on authors. The one she likes, I don't care for at all, and she doesn't care for the one I enjoy the most.

    My mother was a cashier in a grocery store while I was growing up, and she always said for every bad customer she would have 9 good ones. I'm not an author, but I think I would see the reviews in the same way.

    I am definitely looking forward to the release of Courting Morrow Little, and cannot wait to read it.

  12. Me, too, Adge. I've seen authors do both and understand their reasons for going either way. I will say that it is terribly tempting to NOT look at reviews of your work. I admire those who decide to pass. I'm not there yet and wonder if I'll ever be. Thanks for your thoughts here.

  13. Mary, What you've said about reviews I've pretty much done in the few months since TFD was released. I've read all I can find and they've helped me grow. They still sting at times but maybe not so much since the good ones, thankfully, outweigh the bad ones. You really do need rhino hide. My editor said it takes 3 positive reviews to make up for 1 negative review. She's been the in the business a long time and is published herself.

    I like the fact you mentioned maturing through this. That is really what it's all about. I don't think the Lord wants us to take rejection (or adulation) too seriously, especially since it's all about Him, or should be.

    And yes, The Locket or Roxanna's Locket is now (The Colonel's Lady unofficially still). But I've been hearing from my publisher that they really like the title. Maybe they'll keep it!

  14. Excuse my typos above. Can anyone tell I only got 3 hours sleep last night?!

  15. Michelle, So glad you like the picture. It makes me hungry for summer! Isn't it amazing that in every walk of life, like grocery clerks/cashiers, that you have negative and positives? That is certainly interesting to think about. I can't think of a single profession/job where you are exempt from people's opinions. I am sure your mom met some doozys!

    I'm always amazed at how subjective readers are - some just read only Amish books and others like me tend to just stay with historicals and rarely read contemporary, etc.

    Am so thrilled you want to read Morrow's story! I'll be giving away some copies in June/July so you might get one here:)

  16. I love the chocolate cake analogy, Carrie. And as an avid chocolate lover, I have no doubt I'll love CML. :)

    As to the subject of reviews, well, writers have to have tough skin and their feet firmly planted on the ground if we're going to read them. Too much good stuff and it goes your head and too much criticism and it stings. I pray for God to guard me against both and to use them to become a better writer.

  17. Well said, Lorna! I especially like the part about asking God to guard you against both. I often pray that the Lord will guard my heart. Guess that applies to both pride and being wounded by reviews.

    We'll have a heaping helping of chocolate cake together in Indy - or Monterey:)

  18. Lavender -- blissful sigh. If you can find it in chocolate it's divine!!! Lavender dark chocolate. Mmmmmmmmmm! I'd stockpile it and munch while you read your reviews. If they're good, you can savour the review and the chocolate. If they're bad, you need the chocolate to comfort you. It's a win/win situation but you might want to up your walk to 4 miles!

    I'm sure CML will have fabulous reviews!!!!!

  19. Oh Kav, So you've had some chocolate lavender, have you? Like your win/win situation! And I'm already needing to up my walking. This has been a looooooonnnnnnngggg winter! Thanks so much for your vote of confidence about CML. It should be an interesting ride! I'm glad I have you to weather it with me:)

  20. As an avid reader, I do frequently read reviews, but typically only those that get less than 4 stars. Reason being, often the reviews with lesser stars are more specific in their comments.

    As a writer, I figure one of the reasons pre-published writers get so many rejections is to prepare us for the negative comments once we're published. Hopefully, I'll learn to glean as much from them then as I do now.

  21. Brenda, I never thought of the link between pre-rejection and post-reviews but I think it's very valid. I also read poor reviews as they are more insightful, even if my own:)

    You seem so well grounded I think you will weather the publishing road very well!

  22. I am sure the reviews will be wonderful, the book looks great. Wish I could read it earlier!

  23. Rebecca, You have a special place in my heart as you are such an encourager and create those wonderful Amazon lists! Thanks for supporting my books and having such a great, book-centered blog. You sure bless me.