Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Regional words with interesting meanings

Mental floss has dug up nineteen regional terms from around America that it considers cool and useful. One of them, “mizzle” is quite well known to Australians, as the kind of dampness which isn’t exactly rain, but more an annoying lack of dryness or perhaps just one hundred percent humidity. However, they’re right in that it’s a catchy sort of word, mizzle.

Larruping made me laugh. When I was a kid a larruping was what a naughty child got after their dad discovered their misdeeds. A spanking in other words. But apparently in Oklahoma it means delicious food. I’d advise Oklahomans to be careful when using it in Australia among the older generation.

Hop over to the blog and enjoy yourself.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Requesting book reviews

Before getting overexcited and sending one hundred copies of your book to anyone even faintly likely to offer a review for it, please do your homework.

First, does the review site/blogger/whoever you’re sending it to review books in the same genre and of a similar length to yours?

Secondly, how long does it take for them to publish the review? Most well known sites get a hundred or more requests every week. Most reviewers are free to choose which books they’d like to read and review. Sometimes a book review will pop up two years after the book was published. This might not be what you’re looking for.

Sometimes books are pirated because the author scattered them willy-nilly all over the internet without checking who she was sending them to.

What to tell the reviewer: Title, author, genre, length, price, buy link, blurb, your website. Some reviewers don’t like certain lengths or certain genres. Making sure you include these details with your request makes it less likely you’ll be reviewed by someone who hates your book.

Make sure you read the website instructions and follow them. Many reviewers don’t want the book sent in immediately. If one of their reviewers requests it they’ll ask you for it.

Then wait patiently for the review. Write the next book while you’re waiting.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My book only got three stars. Waaaaaaahh!

Many of you know that I review for Love Romances and More book reviews. Despite their name, not every book they review is romance. Sometimes there’s mystery, crime or suspense, even biography. But by far the biggest group is romance novels.

Just as many parents are convinced their kid is the most beautiful, smartest and best in the entire world, so many authors are certain their novel is deserving of the #1 place on the “New York Times” bestseller list. Unfortunately only one book gets that honor at a time, although over the years thousands have made it to the top in their turn.

So it is with reviews. I’m well aware that some authors have crossed the paths of reviewers who seem not to have read the book at all from their review, and others who gave the book one star because it was short, when the blurb clearly states it’s a short story. Those are head-shaking events an author just needs to ignore.

But even a genuine reviewer, who knows what they’re talking about, is unlikely to give every book five stars. Maybe the characters didn’t grab them. Or they’d read too many plots similar to this one. Or maybe the book they just finished was so engaging anything else seems second best.

Most romance books I like are worth a three, a three and a half, maybe a four at the most. They’re good. I’m glad I read them. I’ll probably read the next book in the series, but they didn’t leave me wishing they hadn’t ended. The characters told their story, I enjoyed it, but it’s not a five.

Look at the review. Did the reviewer complain about spelling or grammatical errors? Did the reviewer say there were timeline glitches, or plot holes? Did the reviewer not mention some aspect of the book usually commented on? Those are clues for the author. If the reviewer didn’t say something complimentary about the characters, chances are she didn’t like them. Get a critical friend to read the book. Is there something about your hero or heroine it might be better not to repeat in a future book?

Otherwise just accept that a three star review isn’t bad. It means the reviewer liked your book and will probably read another one by you. That’s actually a good thing. You’ve succeeded in catching their interest.
Keep writing.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Had had

This one is too good to pass up: Ann McNattin posted this image, and Danielle O'Hallisey responded with "Had I not had to have had what I hadn't had, I would have had what I had to have had."

Some readers that that appealed to had had to read it twice through though.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.