It’s time to get back into the saddle again with regular blogging. Easier said then done—but I’ll try as I can.
I’m still trying to get my head around ‘authors behaving badly’ or ‘authors being crazy’ type blog entries from fans and critics. Once upon a time, the only reviews an author got were from ‘critics’ actually working as ‘critics’. Newspapers and magazines hired people with college degrees to read books and review them for their readership. Then Amazon.com happened-
—which allowed plain old readers to ‘review’ in comments. How can you ‘review’ a work of fiction like it’s a product you bought? You’re a reader, naturally you’re going to review a book based on how YOU are and what this work meant to you. As undisciplined ‘reviewers’, the average reader reviews with their own thoughts on the plot, the story, and yes—even the author. I came up as a writer in this sort of fan-dominated atmosphere; and watched as successful mainstream writers like Ann Rice, crashed and burned when faced with the onslaught of ‘the average reader review style’. This style is now the norm at blogs, groups, forums, and online stores.
Just over ten years ago, a writers work was reviewed by ‘vocational’ reviewers that adhered to a guideline of what WAS considered a thorough, publishable, and acceptable review. I’m not suggesting that all reader reviews are some sort of lower life form. Some are ‘articulate and polished’ and those are the ones that many readers tend to go by. However, when shopping for a book on Amazon, everyone looks at ‘reader comments’ and wow—some are harsh. I’ve even encountered a few on my own, placed by netizens I’ve had issues with elsewhere, critiquing me under the pretense of reviewing my book. I could call them out on it and produce links that prove grudgery on their part—but I don’t. Why? Because it would invalidate every other review critical of my work, which has nothing to do with any prior incident. For those readers thinking the book lacks plot, lacks characterization, hates the ending… [this one comes up often—even in what I consider ‘good reviews’] I certainly won’t discredit those by suggesting that another of them might be a grudge-review. I could say I’m not that emotionally invested—but that’s a lie. Of course I care what people think of my work, I’m a writer—I write to entertain and live for feedback. Yet if I’ve got six reviews from complete strangers that praise the work, and two that don’t—then I feel pretty good about what I’ve written. If an overwhelming majority of readers call it a stinker, then damn it—I wrote a stinker. =_=; It happens. Not everything we produce is our best.
I think a primary factor behind ‘authors behaving badly’ is that there are those not close enough to ‘fandom’ and ‘readership’ to be able to glance over the ‘personality of a review’ and realize it’s NOT a polished pieced of commissioned criticism – it’s a reader telling you what they think. I use Ann Rice as an example because her career was made in a time when ‘reader reviews’ did not dominate the landscape of popular fiction, and when confronted with them—she reacted as one fan might react to another. Sadly—she’s not allowed to be a fan of her own work and defend it, none of us are.
Some artwork came in on the re-draw of Sacrifice [Polish GN I did a few years ago]. I think the Kasia is doing a wonderful job at retouching; I’ve noticed that some of the images are being toned in a manga program [?], and it looks like she’s getting the hang of it. I’m jealous. I’ve been trying to learn screen toning on Comicworks and I’m no where near as good as she’s become. She’s an artist and I’m not—so I have a handicap. ((^_-)) Kasia’s also adding some scenes and asking to ‘edit’ others. I have no issue with this, I’m glad she’s grown enough as an artist to want to take a more active role in ‘plot’ and character development of the book. I have faith that she’ll finish.
As for other projects, Lynsley plans on completing inks on volume two of Games With Me in the spring, which gives me ample time to tone and letter it—hoping I get my shit together with Comicworks. If not, I’ll be hiring a tone monkey. (^_^) The digital release of Volume 2 should be early summer, and the print edition Omnibus [collecting volumes 1 and 2] is due to the printers by the end of July. *crossing fingers* hopefully they’ll be no hiccups.
Speaking of digital releases, I had so little faith in the Nook. My first two months [October and November] I sold a total of six downloads. Then December came, and everyone bought someone they know—a Nook. 0_0 My sales tripled the last two weeks of December, and January is off to a terrific start. I managed to convert my horror novel ‘Gadarene’ to ePub and it looks great. My KINDLE sales are still steady, and I finally got a new KINDLE for the holidays. I like my DX, but I use that one for ‘testing’, and because most books aren’t optimized for the DX even though they say they are [Yen Press—yeah you.] >_< many comics are hard to read on the DX. My new device has awakened the ‘reader’ in me again. I’ve been reading novels lately—mostly trashy stories about witches and zombies. I also like that I can access Wikipedia no matter where I am—this is extremely useful for an info-junkie.
Another thought connected to digital formats…am I the only one finding it mildly amusing that once upon a time ‘self-publishing’ via digital [or any format] was considered loser-ville by a certain author that loves beating on POD-heads. Once upon a time he seemed unable to distinguish between those of us publishing our own work because we owned rights to it AFTER publication or that our pubs went out business or didn’t publish stateside so we published it on our own—from those writers publishing themselves because they couldn’t get a published anywhere else? Did he ever make the distinction between an author self-pubbing works printed prior, and the unpalatable publishing themselves? Perhaps he did and I missed it. When I read his blog now I see that he gets it, doesn’t he? Producing your own backlist and handling its digital distribution is a gateway drug to just DIYing your new work. You have it edited privately, and produce it yourself digitally—without a middle man dolling you out a paltry percentage. Epiphanies are more entertaining when they happen to Scrooges.
This weekend is my birthday, and I planned to spend it at a new hotel that just opened up in Austin, called the “W”. Sadly, I’ve heard some bad reports about the rooms, the service, and the staff. While I’m normally inclined to say ‘different strokes’, I think for $358 a night, everyone human being on the planet should LOVE this hotel. I’ve opted instead for the Omni again—we spent my last birthday weekend there and I adored the place. I’ll update my flickr account when I can.
It’s time for me to hit the shower and get ready for another exciting day at the bank. >_< There’s been a up tick in bank robberies lately in Austin; lucky for me I work smack dab in the middle of a retirement community and we never have much cash in the branch. We know when to have cash [property tax time, the weeks prior to cruise season, and when CDs are maturing] but no one else knows when these things take place—ergo, they never know when our branch is going to be loaded up with cash. It’s a crapshoot with branches in retirement communities; gone are the days when branches with six figure accounts actually kept the money in the branches—back when trains roamed the earth and men with pointy points, cool nicknames, and do-rags on their faces made their bones cleaning popular banks out. The most a robber can hope to get these days is the minimum that tellers have to keep in their drawers on the teller-line, and it’s not enough to go to jail for.