Goodreads says I’ve written 191 reviews since joining Goodreads on June 29th, 2010. Apparently this puts me in the Top 1% of reviewers. Surprising! But kind of cool.
Last week saw the release of DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY. What – you didn’t know “paranormal noir” was a thing?
IT IS NOW!
I finally got a chance to read the stories by my sister contributors and it’s really a cool collection of stories. We really had only those two elements in common – something paranormal and noir shading – but the overall feel is remarkably consistent. At any rate, there’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for it, if you’d like to win a copy. But it’s only .99 cents, so quite the bargain if you choose to buy.
We continued our tour of New Mexico – and David’s ongoing quest for a good fishing spot – with a visit to Santa Rosa on Sunday. I, naturally, make an ideal fishing companion since all you have to do is park me in a chair and let me read. No fish were caught, but I did finish reading a book and started another.
I call it a win. 🙂
Today I’m over at Word Whores (yeah, the schedule got messed up), talking about my most successful planned and serendipitous promo pushes. I’m also at Books and Tales, where I talk about Graham Joyce, his recent passing and how much I liked him – both as a person and an author.
On a happier note, I’m also at Paranormal Romantics, following a reader suggestion and analyzing the number and variety of descriptors that Rogue uses for Gwynn in the Covenant of Thorns books. Like this one:Also – very fun! – there’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for The Tears of the Rose! This book, the second in my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy, comes out November 25, but you can get it early via this giveaway!
So, there’s a giveaway on Goodreads for the second book in THE TWELVE KINGDOMS, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE. Open until October 30!
I posted this to the feeds yesterday, but had to share here, too. Jackson loves to play in the bathroom with me in the morning while I get ready. It’s all part of his joyful lead-up to breakfast, his equivalent of the Snoopy supper dance. The game evolves daily, usually involving stalker me from behind the shower curtain, bunching up the throw rug and mutilating Q-tips. Sometimes he hides behind the curtain, snags the Q-tips with a sneaky paw, and drags them to their doom.
Their doom being to be soggily swept down the drain when I shower.
Lately he’s figured out that he can jump up on the towel and bring it down on top of him, making an impromptu blanket fort, from which to stalk me and the Q-tips.
I imagine you can detect the theme here.
Yesterday, the towel-jumping morphed into a full leap onto the towel rack. It’s a narrow bar, mind you, but he managed to drape himself there nevertheless. The best part, I think, is that the picture above and to the right of him is a tuxedo cat, too. Okay, it’s an anthropomorphic tuxedo cat, getting off the trolley in New Orleans with a bag of Krauss Donuts. A Streetcat Named Desire is the title.
I may be a bit giddily full of Friday today…
So, Goodreads has been morphing a bit lately. No surprise there with their acquisition by Amazon. Thus far it’s been fairly gentle (since the wholesale removal of some reviewers, that is). Recently Goodreads has started nudging me as an author – mostly via these monthly emailed “author newsletters.” Overall I like the tone and the suggestions seem reasonable. After all, I like Goodreads. I enjoy tracking my books there and seeing what other people are reading. Goodreads readers and reviewers have embraced my books and done a great deal to chat them up. Much more so than on, say, Amazon.
One thing that I hear people like on Goodreads is book giveaways. I’ve even entered them myself – and gotten the books! In fact, I recently discovered (no one told me, alas) that my publisher set up a giveaway for THE MARK OF THE TALA, which goes through April 30. When I looked just now to grab the link, 359 people had signed up! Pretty cool, I think.
And food for thought.
Yesterday I got the cover concept for GOING UNDER, the first book in FALLING UNDER, my new series of full-length erotic romances. And Goodreads, in the March Author Newsletter, had suggested ideas for cover reveals on their site. I spent a bit of time reading up, followed their instructions and set up my Cover Reveal Event.
Then I balked.
Because the next step is to invite people. The newsletter even suggested that I add a bribe (they didn’t call it that – I think they used the word “incentive”) that the first 100 people to add it to their “To Read” shelf will get a special excerpt or some such.
Now, I receive Goodreads invites pretty regularly. Usually from people I don’t know and don’t care about. Sometimes people I’m not even friends with, which I can’t figure out. I delete them all. In fact, I kind of hate getting those invites. And now they want me to send them? Ugh!
I asked this question on Twitter and Facebook, how people feel about getting these invites. The writers say they get a lot and auto-delete – my tribe, clearly – but other folks suggested that maybe readers like it better.
So, I’m torn. What do you all think?
Here’s the cover for the sixth and final episode of my Master of the Opera e-Serial. The first one comes out January 2 and the series finishes with this one, on March 20. What’s cool to me about this cover is the opal ring. It’s EXACTLY how I described it in the story, which is just way cool to see. You can see about all of them here.
So, this is Ask the Readers week in the bordello – where we ask you all those questions we *really* wonder about. Imagine yourselves up on the panel at the front of the room and we’re sitting in those crowded-too-close conference chairs.
Here’s Jackson figuring out how to walk on the treadmill. Such a smart kitty. This was last week and today he was jumping on and walking beside me as I typed this.
This cat invented monkey-see, monkey-do.
I’ve been thinking about reviews lately. Now that the release date for Platinum is drawing nigh, the number of reviews and Goodreads rankings is going up. I’ve really had to stop reading all of them, because I’ve found that I’m aware of all these readers’ eyes as I’m writing, and not in a good way. I write more slowly than I want to and find myself second-guessing whether someone will pick on this or that. Or if this thing will be a dealbreaker for that reader who hated this other thing. It’s kind of like trying to write in a coffee shop full of people talking loudly about your other books. Even the good chatter is distracting.
Occasionally I’ll read one, so I can retweet it or send it to my website people to post. But I only do that if I know the person gave it 4 or 5 stars.
I know. I’m the pansy my stepfather always exhorted me to not be.
The thing is, the 3-star and and lower reviews stick with you, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. The meanness that can be behind those sentiments (not always, sometimes it’s just a fair “not for me”) works like a poison. Here’s an example of how that works.
I get a lot of spam comments on this blog – like upwards of 30/day. It’s not too bad, because they all go to the spam filter, which is amazingly efficient. I just have to empty it every once in a while. Kind of like purging the septic tank. I used to read through, in case real comments went to spam, but that’s only happened once. (I’m looking at you La Tessa – what HAVE you been up to, girl??) Mostly it’s not worth it. Sometimes I look through a few, just for grins.
There’s one brand that’s really nasty. The intent is clearly to garner attention by standing out. Now that I want to find one, there weren’t any. But they go along the lines of “Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe if you were less sloppy, lazy and stupid, I would have come back to this blog.” What will be funny is that it will be on a post saying, oh, that I signed with my agent or something. I *know* that it has nothing to do with what I wrote, or with anything at all, and it WILL STILL BOTHER ME ANYWAY.
Never ceases to amaze me. So works the human psyche, I suppose.
At any rate, this is the other thing I’m trying to remember – a lower star rating doesn’t mean someone didn’t like the book.
No, really. Because I did this recently. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. (Actually I listened to it on Audible, for what it’s worth.) There were some things that bothered me here and there – I thought some of the plot was over-contrived, some of the prose struck me as trying too hard. And I really hated the ending. If you’ve read it, I’ll discuss privately, but I won’t spoiler it. When I went to rank it on Goodreads, I nearly gave it 3 stars, but the ending bothered me so much. (For the record, it was not because I wanted a Happy-Ever-After.) But then I thought about how the story had captured me and how truly original and interesting the premise is, so I reluctantly bumped it up to 4 stars.
I’ll tell you what: I’ve recommended that book to more people in the last several months than any book in recent years.
See? My star rating, 3 or 4 or whatever, seems to have nothing to do with my personal word of mouth. Because, even if I think you might not like how it ends, I think you’ll still love reading it.
Chalk one up to experience.
One of my Twitter friends mentioned how worked up she is about her new release. She asked if authors get used to it and how long the excitement lasts after release for more-established authors. A week? Two?
I replied to her and we had an interesting conversation about it. Then, yesterday, I saw on Goodreads that – overnight – over a hundred people had added Platinum to their “To Read” lists. This is a really fun thing to wake up and see. I Tweeted about it, wondering why the sudden surge. Several people suggested possibilities – very likely that it was cited on some high-traffic list – but I haven’t figured it out yet.
Then I went back to work on the Phantom book.
And this, I think, it what makes all the difference between authors of one books and authors of multiple books. The more books you have out there, the more books you’re writing, the less ability you have to obsess over one.
For example, with Goodreads, when I log on – and it’s one of my default pages for when I open Firefox – I have a sidebar that shows my stuff. At the top is my Author Dashboard, which shows my most recent publication. That’s Platinum right now, which is why I immediately notice the numbers. It shows me the cover, how many people have added it, how many rankings and how many reviews. To see more detail than that, or my other books, I have to click and go to the page. I rarely do this, because I think it’s putting my attention on the wrong things. (The main reason I have Goodreads on default is to remind me to update my status on whatever I’m currently reading – also in the sidebar.)
Now that Platinum pops up on that home page, I don’t see the Rogue’s Pawn ranking and review numbers anymore. It makes me move on, regardless of how well a book is performing.
The other thing I notice, now that I have seven fiction publications out there, is that different readers like different stories. We all go into this *knowing* that, but it’s difficult to keep in mind when a reader doesn’t like YOUR book. The perspective gets infinitely better when they don’t like this one, but do like that one.
So, all those times industry folks say the best thing you can do is write more stories? This is yet another reason why.