Tag Archive | reviews

All Reviews Need to Be Taken With a Grain of Salt

reviewsI’ve been disturbed recently reading reviews on the internet across a myriad of topics. The three biggest offenders for me are reviews on books, reviews on over the counter products and reviews on recipes. These reviews are put up on the web where the anonymity of the internet allows consumers to post how they feel about a product, whether or not that person is even credible. Many times they are not.

One Star Book Reviews: Most of the time if you see someone post a one star review they are either a troll (a person out to simply be vindictive to that author, or they just want to make a nasty statement to hurt someone). Why do I say this? Because if you READ the review, you’ll realize the reader many times NEVER even read the book, didn’t go more than two pages, reviews another book and mixed them up, or is upset that they thought they bought a romance and got a thriller. I kid you not. I’ve seen people give one star reviews because they bought a book in the wrong genre and are blaming the author. I saw another person give a book a one star review because they bought Book #5 or #6 in an epic series and were upset they didn’t know the history of the series because they never purchased the other previous novels.

Now, I’m not saying people aren’t entitled to say they hated a book, but make sure the review is solid. Is it poorly written? Filled with grammatical errors? Did they not like the plot or heroine? If there is a solid reason for that one star, okay, if not move on.

One Star on OTC (over the counter products like aspirin, laxatives, allergy meds, etc): I saw this yesterday all over amazon. People giving reviews for medications. The big thing I noticed is that most people claiming one star reviews over-medicated themselves each and every time and were trashing the products for the side effects. One medication said take 1-3 pills with lots of water. (and to START with one) These people went right ahead and claimed they took three pills and were upset they got very bad side effects like their insides were about to explode. Even when the packaging said that you should start with one, but you CAN take up to three if your symptoms keep persisting. I saw one star after one star review, all of these people took too much medication and then blamed the product. Others already have problems where they shouldn’t even take this product in the first place, others didn’t drink enough water, milk, food, with the medications and blamed the product. It’s odd to me that people will feel this need to post in this fashion. Where is their own responsibility in this? People must be participatory in their own healthcare issues. Be smart.

One star recipe reviews. I’m a cook, so I read reviews on recipes all the time. I know enough about cooking to be able to look at a recipe and adjust it if I need to, but when I see a one star review for something and the person didn’t have half of the ingredients in the recipe and instead substituted and THEN writes a one star review that says “this wasn’t tasty at all,” well, I have zero sympathy. I didn’t have sugar, so I used X, and I didn’t have nuts, so I used X and I didn’t have wine so I used X. How in the world can you write a bad review of a recipe if you didn’t use the ingredients listed or follow the directions?

Some of my favorite one star comments:

The meat was tough, but I didn’t have enough time to cook it for the instructed 5-6 hours, so I just upped the temperature on the stove. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

I didn’t have tomatoes so I used bell peppers instead. (gee, are we magicians that we can turn bell peppers into a decadent tomato sauce without tomatoes?)

I know the recipe called for fennel, but it was too fennel-y for me. And I also don’t like fennel in the first place.

The thing is, think before you review something. People look at reviews, but we are starting to be smart enough to realize some of our reviewers are not credible. If you haven’t even purchased or read more than a page of a book, and slam it, well, you have no credibility. If you slam a product because you didn’t take the correct dosing and overmedicated yourself and now have side effects, that’s your problem. If you do a recipe and substitute ingredients and are upset with the end result, that is again your problem.

I think people just don’t like to follow directions. They want to beat to their own drum and get upset when things don’t go their way. Accountability folks.

The Stress of Writing Book #3 in a Series

Porter Montage (1)So, here you are. You wrote your first book in a series and put it out to the world. It’s something you’re excited about, you have a new main hero you think people will love and you have all these characters you want to bring to the world. When I wrote THE HUNT FOR XANADU, I was so nervous. I felt like this was my standout novel. Something I wanted to be smart, interesting and mainstream. I had the same self doubts like everyone else. Was it any good? Would people buy into this fantastical thriller steeped in Buddhist Spiritual mysteries or would I thoroughly embarrass myself?

Thankfully, it was well received. People liked my super smart and fearless Kelsey Porter, her cop boyfriend Desmond and wanted to see more of her brother, Ari. So when I wrote Book #2 in the series, I wanted to up the ante on all of them. But I had some doubts. Would it be as well received as book #1? Did I totally mess up the series with all my fantastical ideas? Was my premise just too crazy? With all the twists, was I trying to be too smart? I didn’t know, but I got the guts and put THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB out to the world just two months ago and people are starting to read it and react to it. Thankfully, they like it so far, (SQUEE!) reviews are coming in and fingers crossed I get more in soon.

So now I’ve started Book #3 in the series and suddenly I realize this is serious. People who have bought into Book #1 and Book #2 are people LIKE ME, who want to read the next book in the series NOW! I’ve already had multiple people ask me when the next book is being released! (gulp) I know what it means to get involved in a favorite series. I can’t get enough of them and wait with bated breath for the next one to come out.

So is this what’s happening now with my books? Can I say I’m getting fans? That is suddenly a lot of pressure and I’m stuck on chapter 5, hoping that I don’t screw this up. I have a wonderful book development editor I work with named Denise Vitola, and I throw things her way all the time. She listened to my ideas and the vague outline for the book and thought they were sound, but had a sage piece of advice that was so important it made me take a step back. You see, this Kelsey Porter series is a “thriller with fantastical aspects,” but I’m a writer who tends to “write fantasy with thriller aspects.” I need to make sure that I soundly keep this book thriller so that I don’t lose my thriller fans, while still being true to the story’s fantastical aspects. But she had another wise piece of advice to help allay my fears. You see, if I’ve gotten readers through Book #1 and Book #2, and they want to read book #3, then it’s pretty certain they’ve already bought into my premise. I just need to keep it real and deliver with the next book.

So for everyone that has read Book #1 and Book #2 of the Kelsey Porter series, thank you so much. I love hearing from you and I love seeing the reviews more than you know. Those reviews help me in so many ways, (even if they are only a line or two). They help with ads and promotions for some sites that won’t let you advertise until you have a certain amount of reviews. Not to mention, it’s great for me to actually hear from readers what they think.

So, Book #3 is 27 pages along so far. I have an idea of what I want to happen and where I want it to go, but no idea how I’m getting there yet. But I’m working on it. When I get immersed in writing a book, the story lives with me and now this one is always in the back of my mind. I may not be physically writing at times, but little scenarios constantly play in my head and I roleplay if scenes work or not. So don’t worry, I’m thinking about Kelsey all the time. I think about Ari, Josh and some other characters that will be new to the series. And yes, you’ll find out what Ari is up to… and I assure you, it’s no good. Well, I guess that depends on what you consider “no good.” 😉

On a final note, while I plow away on Book #3 I’ve also been working on other things. If you were fans of my horror tale, THE MANNEQUINS, I’ve just completed a horror anthology and it is at a beta reader right now. It’s going to be called RICKET ROW and is a collection of creepy psychological horror tales I’ve written over the years. Look for that in early June if all goes well. And lastly, I updated my web page, again. Love to hear what you think of it, so please check it out at http://www.elysesalpeter.com

I Got a 2 Star Review… and Didn’t Even Flinch.

2 starsAuthors seem to live and die by reviews. That moment you check your amazon author page and see that a new review has come in is both thrilling and terrifying. At least it WAS to me. Now… not so much.

You see, two weeks ago, out of the blue, I landed in the hospital for a full week with a severe pan colitis attack. One moment I was running around NYC without a care in the world, and the next, well, I wasn’t. The scary thing is that there is still no real diagnosis, except that I couldn’t eat or drink and the only thing keeping me going for days on end was IV fluids. It was one of the most disgusting, painful, and frankly, frightening experiences I ever endured and needless to say, there were some pretty dark times. I watched my skin dry up before my eyes, my weight plummet, and now even a full week out of the hospital, I’m not back to where I was and the doctor said it could take two to three weeks more to feel like my old self and stop holding my stomach when I walk. Sigh… (I am getting better every day though, so there is light at the end of this tunnel). But, back to the topic of this blog.

You see, right before I was admitted to the hospital, I’d just completed a Book Bub promotion for my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU. The promotion went well and I sold a nice amount of books, so I was expecting some reviews to come in for that, along with the sequel.

Well, when I got out of the hospital and finally had the energy to turn on my computer, I decided to pull up my amazon page, and, lo and behold there was a new review for The Hunt for Xanadu. A brand new spanking 2 star. Here it is if you’d like to read it: “This is one of those rare instances where they probably need to make a movie to appreciate this book more poo. Unfortunately the descriptions were hard for me to imagine and found myself glazing over certain areas of the book. This seems like a movie that turned into a book.” Yes, it actually says the word “poo.” I wish they were able to edit themselves so I actually could find out what they really meant to say.

Now, in my previous, “un-fighting for my life author brain” I would have freaked out and been so upset by this two star review. Now? I looked at it, and still look at it, and it’s like it has absolutely no impact. I sort of shrug and say, “Meh, sorry you didn’t like it…” and move on. Truth be told, I kind of like the review – the book should be a movie and I’m still happy the person bought it and took the time to read and review it. Come on, not every book has all 5 Star reviews… it also gives my novel some sort of weird validation. Still, the hope is that people will take the time to write a review, even if it is only a few lines.

So what I want to leave you with is this. Yes, bad reviews hurt your feelings and impact your rankings, but they mean nothing. Not in the scheme of life. It’s someone else’s perception of a personalized piece of your work, just like artwork, choice of clothing, food, home decoration, anything subjective. Let it go. Read the good reviews. Relish in them. Maybe find something relevant in the bad review to take away, but don’t dwell. At the end of our days no one is going to be bringing up our two star reviews at our eulogies. They’re going to bring up all the wonderful glories we brought to the world. I promise you that.

Day #6 Fantastical Blog Hop

fantastical reads stripToday is Day #6 of the Fantastical Blog Hop and on the hot seat today is author P.L Blair for Shadow Path.

Here’s a recap:

Magic and crime. Agatha Christie meets J.R.R. Tolkien in “Shadow Path,” the first book in the new Portals series by author P.L. Blair. An Ogre murdered with a rune-inscribed sword is just the beginning as Kat Morales, a very human detective on the Corpus Christi, Texas, police force, and her Elf partner Tevis McLeod follow a blood trail that leads to Pixies, necromancy and Magic of the Blackest kind … to its climax in a stronghold Between worlds, where Tevis must duel spell for spell with a former lover who wants to see her old flame extinguished permanently.

And some really wonderful reviews:

“A well developed and written book. P.L. takes an older genre, “crime/police stories”, and twists it into a unique tale with fantasy and magic. It is an enchanting blend!”

“SHADOW PATH is a combination fantasy, suspense novel that I fell in love with from the very first line.”

Check out the great book trailer here:

Please click here to purchase the novel:http://amzn.to/1keOmgv

If you’d like join the event on Facebook, please do so here: https://www.facebook.com/events/205889079615386/

This has been a great event for me so far. If you’d like to purchase my novel, THE HUNT FOR XANADU and take advantage of the sale price of $2.99, please feel free to link to it here: http://amzn.to/MslDH3

Lastly, I’m also doing a goodreads giveaway for THE HUNT FOR XANADU. Please feel free to enter that here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20297588-the-hunt-for-xanadu?from_search=true