Birthday Blog Month Jan08 – Elin Gregory

Welcome to January’s Birthday Blog, with a post – or maybe more – a day for your entertainment and fun :).

cheerToday’s guest is ELIN GREGORY. Please show your appreciation for the post if you enjoy it, and all the author’s links are below for you to take forward. Watch every day for any Rafflecopter giveaways, and don’t forget there’s ALSO a Grand Prize Draw at the end of the month for ONE lucky commenter.

Many thanks for dropping in, and have a great January!

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This is the time of year for reflection, for counting ones blessings, for looking back at the past year’s highs and lows and for looking forward to what the new year will bring. I particularly enjoy looking back at all the books I’ve read and reviewed over the past year, and that gave me the idea for this post.

All authors read, most of them voraciously. All authors are desperate to know what people think of their books. Reviewing, especially on Amazon, is the most helpful thing a reader can do for an author, and readers, now more than ever, really enjoy sharing their opinions.  Sometimes this works really well and the reviews provide the sort of validation that can boost a tired author into finishing more work, tackling new subjects and generally having a positive outlook on life. But authors are often fragile souls and sometimes the opinions expressed, often in robust language, sometimes with accompanying gifs, can be less than enthusiastic. I’ve seen no end of anguish and have often provided a sympathetic ear and a well-padded shoulder to cry on for authors hurt by reviews.

My usual advice is to remember is that, just as an author pours a lot of their own heart into a book, the reader will also be filtering their words through a lens coloured by their own preferences, enthusiasms and experience.

a-readers-lens-and-baggage-framed-copy

(Credit to Musgrove)

Reading reviews, as a potential buyer, it’s a good idea to bear the reader lens in mind. Who knows why the reader picked up the book in the first place? Maybe they read between the lines of the blurb and were expecting searing social commentary but got a light hearted romantic romp? Perhaps they were misled by the torso on the cover and expected some lovely squelchy erotica but got boring social commentary with one sex scene that nobody enjoys instead? It’s also quite possible that both readers are reviewing the same book.

As an author, why the heck are you reading the reviews? FFS step away from Goodreads right now before something horrible happens. But if you must, and you see something you don’t like, just remember that you’re in good company:

“This book is quite possibly the most insipid novel I have ever read in my life. Why this book is so highly treasured by society is beyond me. ”
 ~~Pride and Prejudice

“It feels like it was written by a teenager, and if I were his teacher I’d give it a B- and not let my daughter date the weird little kid who wrote it.”
~~Fahrenheit 451

The book is simply boring in the extreme because of Nabokov’s refusal to let the storyline move faster than a crippled snail that’s just been superglued to a dead tortoise.”
~~Lolita

“Just goes to show that you should never take book advice from someone whose IQ is more than 30 points higher than your own.”
~~One Hundred Years of Solitude

“Why isn’t it three books, like the movies?”
~~The Hobbit

“I think it’s disgusting that Tolkein should be exploiting the 9/11 tragedy for personal gain”
~~The Two Towers

And of course because this is a birthday event and because birthdays mean presents I’m offering a $5 Amazon voucher to a commenter who – er – ya know what, just comment to this post :). It’s January, it’s the wrong time of year to make you jump through hoops!

GifStarEnter the draw at the link below. All Rafflecopters drawn on Jan 31. :
 Elin Gregory Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy your reading and, if you have time, write a review. You could make an author’s day.

~~Elin Gregory~~

Picture1

Bio:

Elin reads a lot, reviews a bit, and writes a little, usually historical or contemporary comedy.
She’s proud to be part of the UK Meet organisation team.
If you want her for anything you can find her on:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/elin.gregory
Twitter – @ElinGregory
Blog – http://elingregory.wordpress.com
Email: elingregory@gmail.com

 

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Follow the month’s posts at your leisure:

Jan 01: RJ Scott on her inspiration for a new series in 2016.
Jan 01: Temple Dragon on giving for free during December.
Jan 02: Chrissy Munder on an author’s passion for paper planners.
Jan 03: Meredith Russell on inspirational cop series.
Jan 04: Becky Black on her five-year anniversary as an author.
Jan 05: Alexa Milne on characters stepping outside their comfort zone.
Jan 06: Sandra Lindsey on her dancing shoes challenge.
Jan 07: Anne Barwell on her WWII trilogy at Dreamspinner Press.

 

 

 

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About clarelondon

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters. Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind... she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home. Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here: Website: http://www.clarelondon.com E-mail: clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk Blog: www.clarelondon.com/blog Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarelondon Twitter: https://twitter.com/clare_london Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon/ Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClareLondon/posts

25 thoughts on “Birthday Blog Month Jan08 – Elin Gregory

  1. I love the post and the cartoon. You are absolutely correct in that each reader comes in with baggage and their perspective. Those things color a review of a book. There are plenty of times that I’ve read a bad review for a book and thought, “I don’t care about that issue”, I want to read it any way or “that doesn’t bother me in a book”.

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    • Oh yes. In fact I actively look for reviews that say things like ‘not enough sex scenes’ because that suggests there’s probably PLOT instead!

      I reckon that if an author has done a really convincing job there are bound to be some poor reviews. It’s a real compliment if someone is sufficiently enthused by a story to write 200 words of con crit with a 2* rating.

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  2. This is so true and so apt! as today I almost put out a rant regarding a book I’m in the middle of reading. (oh look, I’m doing said rant now!) It’s book 8 in a series. I’ve loved the series so far, but — and I admit this must be my baggage as a reader — I’m having a hard time w/this one because of the whole backstory of the main character’s daughter and her wedding plans. In a nutshell the daughter has apparently decided she must be married at x spot in the reservation which requires special permission and approval. Her husband-to-be has a large amount of family flying into Wyoming for the wedding who require a place to stay.

    Now, this gal grew up in this area. She knows the difficulties in getting the needed permissions, and she knows that the area doesn’t has the quality accommodations she wants for her more sophisticated guests. Does she care? No. This is what she wants and therefore everyone must scramble to provide rather than telling her to deal with it or choose another location.

    Frankly, it’s irritating the heck out of me and were I to leave a review it would reflect my irritation which has nothing to do with the story itself, and someone reading the review would blink and say, wow, what was her problem?

    Baggage. Yep. And Perception. They’re out there.

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    • Oh good grief, that would irritate me too because I knew that girl [for whom her whole life led up to the carriage with cream coloured ponies and THE dress and children of the appropriate levels of attractiveness as flower girls and pages and the dream church, dream flowers, dream vintage rolls royce, dream honey moon in the Sechelles and dream filing for divorce 3 months after they got home]. Maybe further into the book there’s a YAY moment where the groom mans up and says “do you want a husband or just a wedding because if it’s just the latter you can do it without me”.

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  3. Hi Elin, thanks for taking it easy on us 🙂 January is a time for easy.
    But for my two cents, I read reviews of books to help me gain some understanding, especially to learn if the book is a cliffhanger. When it comes to personal comments, I tend to ignore them or not take them into full account. Sometimes someone just has a bad day and might give a book a 2 star review that really should have been a 4 star review on a good day. I try to be nice in my reviews, even if I hated the book. Just because i give a book 2 stars doesn’t mean I have to insult the author to make a point.

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    • Those sorts of reviews can be so useful. Also I know that I’ve read books so outstandingly excellent that everything else I’ve read afterwards has seemed a bit lack lustre and three starry in comparison. Anything by Harper Fox for instance and I’ll choose some non-fiction as a palate cleanser before dipping into fiction again.

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  4. Great post.

    Adding another perspective by quoting my beloved E M Forster. “Some reviews give pain. This is regrettable, but no author has the right to whine. He was not obliged to be an author. He invited publicity, and he must take the publicity that comes along.”

    xx

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    • Yes, bad reviews, like submission rejections and having an editor make you delete bits you really think should stay in, are all part of the business. But I’m happy to sympathise with an author’s pain and let them rant to me about it – far far better that than a public melt down.

      *kisses*

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  5. As a relatively new writer, I can’t stop myself reading reviews including GR. Yesterday I felt happy getting two 5* reviews from bloggers I respect and then a 2* rating with no comment this morning made me feel terrible for a while. I’m learning to deal with it. But it is hard at times.

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    • Ouch, swings and roundabouts! That’s not a nice feeling.

      On the other hand when I was sorting through Amazon and Goodreads for a selection of tart reviews I saw several along the lines of “Great book, highly recommended” with a one star rating. I think there are quite a lot of people out there who don’t know how the star system works.

      Alternatively they maybe evil trolls screwing with authors’s minds 😀

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  6. This is such a complex issue — thanks for raising it. I’ve been pondering how a reader’s lens is part collective (I like reading romance/mystery/horror/literary) and part personal (bad copy editing drives me nuts/a character who cheats will make me put down a book and never buy from that author ever again). There’s no way an author can address the personal aspects of that lens, and he’s lucky if he can satisfy the collective aspects.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the best I can do is make my “promises” to the reader (I promise this is a romance/thriller/mystery) as clear as possible in the first couple of chapters, and then deliver on those promises. There’s nothing an author can do about “How could Tolkien exploit 9/11?” idiocy, but if I promise a mystery in chapter one and then forget to solve it the reader has every right to be angry.

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      • Heh. I don’t care about “cheating” as a presumed evil against monogamy in general. If the story calls for an extra-marital affair where monogamy has been promised, I’m not offended. I was just using that issue as a “personal lens” issue.

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    • Or solve it with a final chapter deus ex machina coincidence so the plot doesn’t intrude on the development of the relationship and all the many and various ways the protagonists express their physical affection? *nods* If the blurb promises a LAPD [or Scotland Yard] detective investigating a series of murders with the assistance of a traumatised ex-Marine [or SAS operative] they had better jolly well do some detective work.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The way I see it, books are a collaborative projects where the readers add the final touches, influenced by their own backstory and personality. And no two reader gets exactly the same experience from the same book. It’s awesome, if you think about it.

    I can rarely get worked up about bad reviews, because liking or disliking a certain book is not much different than liking or disliking peas—it happens.

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    • That’s a really good way of looking at it. I’ve read many popular books, even series, where despite quite enjoying the book I never manage to engage emotionally with the protagonists, or where despite lovely protagonists I’ve got bored because they don’t DO anything other than angst about each other.. An honest review would have to be 3* but it would be a definite ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ situation.

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  8. Great post I loved the reviews about famous books especially “I think it’s disgusting that Tolkein should be exploiting the 9/11 tragedy for personal gain” ~~The Two Towers.

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    • Thanks Shirley. 🙂 there were also some one star reviews that said things like “terrific book. I’ll definitely be buying from this author again” so I wonder if there are some users who don’t realise how the rating system works.

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  9. I do like looking at Goodreads reviews, but I try to look at a wide range of reviews to get a feel for the story. There have been stories in which I’ve really enjoyed or disliked, and the majority of the other readers/reviewers had a different opinion. Like yourself, I like a story with more plot and substance so not enough sex is not a negative to me too.

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  10. I’ve found it’s not just reviews where people look through their emotional baggage, but real life issues, too. Recently, I was in a discussion with a twenty something man, who randomly said he was unhappy in his marriage. I said I was happily single and that marriage isn’t for everyone. A middle aged white guy behind me interrupted me mid sentence with “You haven’t met the right man yet.” Normally, I’m cool and considered when highlighting everyday sexism (in this instance, that it’s a man that I’d be after, or that I’d be after anyone as an aromantic asexual, or that marriage is the only valid relationship, or that by interrupting me he thought what he had to say was more important than what I was saying, that he didn’t say to the guy unhappily married that ‘he hadn’t met the right woman’). But in that moment, I’d accumulated enough sexism to throw sexism back in their face, by saying I can do tasks that are usually considered gender binary (daily cooking for women, changing plugs for men) so I don’t need a man as I have a full set of independent life skills. I recounted this tale on social media, and the comments were mostly about women having a full set of independent skills, but they said it in a way that they were offended that I’d suggested that they weren’t capable. It’s as if they only read the part where I said sexist things and jumped to their defence, when the context was that I’d said the sexist things to illustrate that I am independent and don’t need anyone. If they had read it fully, they could have said, “I’m independent too. Let’s continue to remove sexist attitudes from society.” But it seems like we were all having a bad day with sexism.

    I think the lesson here is that we all the see the world differently, and are carrying around our own unique perceptions and emotional baggage. When people say things, it’s a reflection on where they are in life, and has very little to do with you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Some interesting thoughts about reviews – Charliecochrane’s Weblog

  12. Hi Elin. I write reviews on the books I read on GR and also for The Novel Approach. Even if I didn’t love the book, I always try to provide the reason(s) why I didn’t connect with it and I clearly state that it might just be that it wasn’t for me. If I know that an author’s style, content of choice, etc,, is not my cuppa, then I just won’t ask for those to review or purchase them. Even authors whose books I absolutely adore can write something I might not enjoy. Perhaps it’s a genre I don’t particularly like. It’s fine to have an opinion on the writing, but it’s not fine to make personal attacks on the author themselves – that’s not the purpose of a review! There are brilliant books written by people I don’t personally care for, but again, irrelevant in a review! I just avoid them at cons and such and it’s all good 😉

    That Two Towers review?? How does that slip through while other legit reviews get removed 😀

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  13. I love the reviews. I know I read a review when the first Harry Potter book came and it was predicted that this badly written book would not be a success, I think they got that wrong 🙂

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