Too True To Be Good, reviews

Too True To Be GoodYou guys make me smile every single day. Seriously. You know I don’t read reviews, but I like to share one about each of my new books. I get really nervous when I go looking because I’m always afraid I’m going to find something that says my book is horrible. But then I find beautiful words like this from Hershey…

This was such a good story. I was rooting for each character to get everything they wanted and more. If you haven’t started this series already, now is the time to start.

I mean, really? Is there a better endorsement? Thank you. All of you who’ve left reviews. All of you who’ve told a friend. All of you who’ve shared my books. It means a lot to me. After 36 books published, it means a lot. It’ll always mean a lot to me, so believe me when I say thank you.

Do what Hershey said and start the series now!

Too True To Be Good Ebook on Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords

Ample & Alluring, reviews

Ample & AlluringAll I can say is thank you. Maybe wow, also. Holy shit, you guys! The reviews on Ample & Alluring are so amazing! Thank you for sticking with me through this series. It’s been so much fun to write, but we’ll talk about that more next week!

If you haven’t grabbed it yet, read this review from Stephanie. Maybe she can convince you to check it out!

The last of its series, yet did not disappoint. Peyton and Wyatt have jobs that are high demanding. Mayor Wyatt though extremely busy, makes time for the Christmas holiday. Dr. Peyton never saw the joy of Christmas. Baffled by Peyton feelings of Christmas, Wyatt is on a mission to get Peyton to fall in love with Christmas. What they thought was a full proof plan, turns into something else completely. These two together have me laughing and crying in happiness. It’s hard to find romance that tugs at your heart strings and gives you butterflies in your stomach. Mary E. Thompson has done it again and you won’t be dissappinted when reading this book. This last book was bitter sweet. I loved this series and I am sad to see it ending. But Mary E. Thompson has a spin off to this series coming soon. I can’t wait!!!

Are you ready to read it? Go grab your copy now!

Ebook on Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords

Print on Createspace | Amazon | B&N | Books A Million

Q&A Sunday: Reviews, part three

I’m back again for my third of three parts on reviews! Click to check out parts one and two!

This week we’re talking about how I feel about bad reviews. Lupita asked…

Do you take bad reviews personally and let it affect you or do you simply take it with a grain of salt?

I think it’s hard not to take bad reviews personally. Many authors don’t read their reviews and early advice to authors is not to read them. I learned quickly that i can’t handle reading a review that destroys my book.

I mean, really, how many jobs allow anyone in the world to openly criticize what you do and have zero consequence?

As I said before, bullying in accepted when it’s disguised as a review. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think anyone should think it’s fair. But it happens.

If a review is bad because the book is bad, it hurts. It bothers me to read that my books have editing errors (funnily enough, I misspelled both those words!). Editing errors I can, and have, fixed. If the fundamental storyline is just boring, I can’t necessarily fix it, but it’s good to know. If the characters are frustrating, again, good to know.

But when a review goes on to say nasty things about me and assumes to know who I am, that’s going to just make me mad. I’ve read reviews (thankfully not on my books) that have attacked the author for one thing or another. I don’t know if these people know the author, or if they just think they know something, or saw something online, but I don’t think a book review is the place for that. A book review should be a review of the book, not the person who wrote the book.

Let’s face it, if we were evaluating the person, horror books would be blasted on a regular occasion. I mean, really, if you thought everything Stephen King put in his book was his true desire, he’d be locked up somewhere. Books are stories, not reflections of the author. 

But it’s still hard to walk away from a bad review without being upset by it. I want people to like my books. There are times I put things in my books knowing people won’t like it, but I know that’s the way the story has to be. Those things don’t bother me as much. Those I can take with a grain of salt.

The ones I can fix, like errors of any sort, I will correct and put the book back out.

A really bad review will ruin my day. It’ll make me question everything I write in the next book. It’ll make me question if I should be writing at all.

I love my job, but my job is dependent on finding readers. If readers hate what I write, I shouldn’t be writing.

Thankfully, my reviews overall are more positive than negative. I have emails from readers who’ve reached out to me because they loved my books so much. When I read a review that upsets me, I go through the emails I’ve save and read those. It makes me feel better, and gives me that spark to keep going.

And somehow, whenever I read a review that’s not that great, I always seem to get a new email from a reader who says she loved my book and can’t wait for the next one. That makes me forget about that bad review. And I love it!

Thanks so much, Lupita, for all your questions! It was a lot of fun to really think about reviews. No, I didn’t read any new ones of mine over the last few weeks, but it made me think about reviews, and I needed that!

If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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Q&A Sunday: Reviews, part two

Welcome back! If you missed my post about reviews last week, you can check it out here. We’re talking about them again today!

Lupita asked…

How do you feel about unjust reviews on your work? (I know we all have an opinion and don’t enjoy the same reading material, but I’m wondering about unjust reviews where you know it shouldn’t have even been posted. You know those reviews where they are just blowing smoke and clearly didn’t give the work a chance.)

Wow! This sure hits the nail on the head of a lot of my issues!

First, let me say, unjust reviews can be both good and bad reviews. Unjust reviews, in my opinion, are not only bad. Most of the time that’s what we thinking, but there are unjust good reviews also.

Confused? Let me explain.

Author X has a new book ready to come out. She gets in touch with all her friends and family and says, “Hey, my book is coming out tomorrow! When it’s live, go buy a copy and leave me a good review. I don’t care if you actually read it, just leave me a good review.”

Is that fair? 

Um, no.

Does it happen? 

Unfortunately, yes.

Lupita did a great job of detailing an unjust bad review so I won’t go into that one. In either case though, they’re frustrating, to say the least.

I think the best thing is to tell you when I, personally, think a review should be written.

  1. When you finish reading the book.
  2. When you read a book in a genre you enjoy.
  3. When you feel you can write it without being emotional.

How many of you are questioning number one right now? Be honest! You can write a review on a book that you hated because it was so bad you didn’t want to keep reading, right?

Here’s my opinion on that… it’s never going to be your favorite book ever. It’s very possibly going to be a book you’re frustrated for wasting your time on. But is it fair to leave a review on a book that you never even read most of?

Let me ask you this… Did you ever see Fight Club or The Sixth Sense or Collateral Beauty or Sliding Doors? I’m not going to give away any spoilers here, but did you love the movie even more after you saw the ending? Maybe it started out okay, but you hung in there. It’s only a couple hours. It was a good story and the longer you watched, the more you became invested. The more you were curious. The more you wanted to know how it was all going to be resolved.

Then the end comes, and the big reveal, and BAM! It shocked the shit out of you. You never saw it coming (or maybe that was just me). Every single one of those movies was made better because they did such an amazing job concealing the truth behind the entire thing. You didn’t know the whole point of the story until the end. You didn’t see it.

What if that book you stopped reading that you gave a one star review to was the same? You could have missed out on something life changing.

Maybe you still hated it, but I have a hard time saying you should leave a review if you haven’t read the whole thing. If you read the whole thing and still hated it, then let’s go to my second criteria.

Is it a genre you enjoy?

My husband is big into fantasy books. He’s actually read The Lord Of The Rings – long before they were movies. He read Game Of Thrones years before HBO made them into what they are now. He enjoys stories with lots of characters and fictional worlds with magic and mythical creatures and intricately woven storylines.

I can’t stand it.

I’ve watched Game Of Thrones and The Lord Of The Rings. I enjoyed both. But to read the books would be torture for me.

But that doesn’t mean they’re bad. They’re just not for me.

There’s too much going on in those books. Too many characters that I can’t keep track of. Too many storylines.

But that doesn’t mean they’re bad. They’re just not for me.

Do you get it yet?

If you read a book in a genre you don’t typically read, you don’t always know the ‘rules’ of that genre. If you’re judging a book based on something you don’t like about the genre, that’s not fair to that book.

I had a content warning on one of my earliest books. It clearly stated in the description that there was vulgar language and sex in the book. I got a scathing review that there was too much sex in the book. Honestly, I laughed, but it still hurts my rankings. Someone didn’t like my book because they didn’t read the description and didn’t know the rules of contemporary romance. Many of them have open door sex. The ones that don’t, I’d say, are in the minority. But I don’t feel it’s fair to leave a bad review when that’s one of the expectations of the genre.

We’ve covered the first two. If you finished the book and enjoy the genre, then let’s move on.

Can you write a review without being emotional?

I get it. You read a book and that little thing pops up at the end asking you to leave a review. It’s easy, and tempting, to blast the book for all the things you hated. There was too much sex. And the heroine was too stupid to live. And the hero was an alpha asshole. And you hate small town romance.

And your dog just died, and there was a dog that died in the story.

And your boyfriend broke up with you because he found someone new.

And the hero has the same name as the one that got away in college.

And any number of things.

Are you thinking clearly? Are you upset because of things that happened in the book and you made parallels to your own life?

Does that mean the book sucks, or that the author is an amazing storyteller who has the ability to evoke emotion in you, even if it’s emotion you don’t like?

When we’re emotional, we can’t see things clearly. So while I get that you’re crying and the story really upset you, was it the story, or something else, that bothered you?

Take a day or two and see if you’re still as upset with a little distance. If you still feel the story is that bad, you’ll still want to write a bad review (or a good one). Go back in and write it. Yeah, I’d love to see only good reviews on my books, but I know they don’t resonate with every single person. I just ask that you don’t blast me, or anyone else, for something we can’t control.

Lupita has one more question about reviews for next week. Come back by then and check it out!

If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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Q&A Sunday: Reviews, part one

Well, welcome back to Q&A Sunday! A few questions landed in my inbox this week so I’m going to break them up over a couple weeks so I can really dive into them. Are you ready?

Lupita asked…

Do you read your reviews? If so, how do you deal with bad reviews? How do you deal with good reviews?

Sometimes I think reviews are the bane of my existence! Good ones always seem to carry less weight than bad ones, but reviews are so important for an author that we have to have them.

A little background… When a reader leaves a review on Amazon, or another retailer or site like Goodreads, it affects the ranking for that book. A good review will move the book up and it will become a little more visible to other potential readers. A bad review, obviously, does the opposite. Enough bad reviews and a book is essentially invisible.

In addition to that, if you want to offer a deal on a book, and want to list it on sites like BookBub, they will check out reviews. They want to know if reviews are overall good or bad. If you have 100 mediocre reviews and another book has 100 good reviews, the other book is going to get the listing.

Obviously authors want good reviews, but if you’ve ever read reviews, you know no one can please everyone!

So my reviews… For the most part, no, I don’t read them. I write my books the way I feel they need to be written, irritating characters and all. I know my characters aren’t perfect, but neither are any of us, and that’s what I’m always after – authenticity.

It’s hard to write, and read, a character that you want to shake and tell to do something different, but there’s a reason all the horror flicks show people running into the basement to hide from the killer. It’s instinct to hide. It’s instinct to be somewhere you think you can predict what’s going to happen. You might know the killer is coming, but you can see him coming instead of wondering if he’s going to catch up to you if you’re running through the woods. When you’re the third party looking in, it’s easy to see that it’s not a good decision, but when you’re that person, instinct and fear and, in the case of my books, other sometimes irrational emotions take over and control you. You do things that don’t always make sense. We all do it!

But readers don’t always like those decisions. So they leave reviews that say they didn’t like a character or something about the book.

Because of that, I frequently don’t read my reviews.

When I do, I do it in small doses. Maybe I’ll check in on one book and only read a couple reviews. I know myself enough to know that if the reviews are negative, it’ll bother me, so I usually only read reviews when I know they’re going to be positive.

But how do I deal with them?

The good ones make me feel really good. They make me smile and keep me going. Knowing readers like my stories keeps me writing more of them. Reading a good review from someone I don’t know always makes me so happy.

The bad reviews are tougher to deal with. I’m the kind of person who only likes to put positive things into the world. I definitely grew up with my mother saying if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. A lot of people never got that lesson! But that’s for them to live with. Bullying is accepted when it’s done in the form of a book review, which is sad. I can’t imagine saying some of the things I’ve read on reviews (mostly others since I rarely read mine). I accept and understand that not everyone will have good things to say, but a constructive bad review is much better than an emotional one that tears the author apart. I don’t see any reason for those.

I’ve judged a lot of contests. In a way, it’s reviewing the work of someone else. I also have a critique partner that I work with and friends who’ve asked me to review their work. In all those situations, my criticism is strictly about the work. In many judging situations, I’ve read stories in genres I don’t frequently read, but I removed my personal opinion from it and evaluated the story based on the story. I know reviews are opinions, but I would love to see people being kinder. You don’t have to only leave good reviews, but make sure your reviews are about the actual story and not the author, or you the reader.

I’m sure this answer will make some people angry. You’re absolutely entitled to leave scathing reviews. If you feel that strongly about something, I’m not going to stop you. Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, that’s all I ask.

Come back next week for another question from Lupita about reviews!

If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!