Sunday, July 24, 2011

Video Blog, Take 1

I know, I know. You're all cringing in horror. Blame Chie. More precisely, blame Chie's hubby. He's the one who sent me the webcam.

I wonder if I'm brave enough to keep doing this.

Anyone wanna start a pool?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Post Party Carnage

Yesterday was the party for the release of A SHOT IN THE DARK (mostly because my friends need very little excuse to have a party). And as part of the party, we had a snarky T-shirt contest!

The winning T-shirt was this one:

If you can't quite read it, it says "Haikus are easy, but sometimes don't make much sense. Hippopotamus." It came from Cafepress if you desire one of your very own.

And while we had intended to have an adult division and a child division, we wound up with a distinct and unexpected lack of children at this party, so it turned into a second-place prize instead. Through absolutely NO intervention of my own (Hey,I didn't even vote for them) my beloved kiddo and hubby won a team prize for their zombie-themed shirts:

The crown on the entire party, though, was the cookie cake, which seems to have been vandalized by one red-eyed, rather snarky demon:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Thoughts on Reviews

Reviews are the one thing that every author both dreads and craves. We want to know that people are enjoying our work, but we also fear that no one's going to like it, that we didn't do our job well.

A lot of authors I know don't read their reviews. For them, it's less stressful, and as many people often say, the reviews aren't really for the author anyway, they're for the other readers. If an author wants constructive criticism, they need to rely on their beta readers, not on reviewers.

However, I read every review I find, and this post is just kind of my way of explaining why.

First off, understand that I'm entirely too neurotic to NOT read a review. If I know it's out there, I have to know what was said. It would drive me insane not to. I read the good ones, I read the bad ones, I read the ones that are just downright puzzling. Because I want to know what people did and didn't like. I want to know if people are following on the journey I tried to take them on. If they're finding places that don't work for them, that means I didn't accomplish all that I wanted to.

Second, I read reviews because every person that writes one has taken the time to stop and read my books. Even as speedy as I read, that's a minimum of three hours of their day, and for most people it's a lot more time than that.

Then, on top of that time spent, they took the time to stop and think about what I wrote. And this goes beyond just "did I like it, or didn't I?" They have to think about why they liked it, or didn't. What elements appealed to them? What places dragged on? Which characters had them cheering, which ones fell flat?

If you've never tried to write a book review, the reading that you do to form one is totally different than reading just for pleasure. It's work! It's hard to pin down the minute details of a story, hard to see the trees for the forest. You have to think about a book like a puzzle, and decide what pieces were missing, which ones locked together tightly, and which ones were just a little warped.

I figure, if someone has gone to all that work, then the least I can do is read what they've written. I mean, they took the time to read 80,000 words of mine, to analyze it, to put into words their thoughts on it. I owe them the time it takes to read 500 words of theirs. Doesn't matter if it's a glowing review, or the worst one I've ever gotten. A reviewer's time and effort should be respected.

I don't comment on reviews, typically. Like I said, they're not written for me. They're written so that other readers have a chance to say "Hey, I might like that" or "nah, I'll pass." In this tight economy, I can appreciate having a system in place to help people decide where to pass on their money.

And really, arguing with someone over their opinion is a bit ridiculous. That's like arguing with someone who says they like salty better than sweet. There's no logical basis for an argument like that.

So I don't comment, but I do read, because I think I owe a reviewer that much respect. There we are. My feelings on reviews in a nutshell.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Release the Kraken!

Or: How a Promo Post Gets Sappy

So, here we are, release week. I had grand plans to do a big post on the actual release day, but between the Real Job(tm), it just didn't happen.

A lot of people have asked me how this release day differed from the first one. Well, more people congratulated me, for one thing. People I've never met, Twitter-folk I only know because they read Devil and loved it. So there was that.

I like to think I was a lot less obsessive about my Amazon rankings this time. Mostly because I've truly proven over the last year that they don't mean a whole lot. Do I like to see those low digits? Sure. I always do a little happy dance in my chair when I can tell that someone bought another one. But it's still just pixels, ghosts in the machine.

A lot of other people had great releases on the same day. Carolyn Crane summed it up pretty nicely over at The League, so I'll just say go check her post out, and just use it like a shopping list. I myself bought HOUNDED and HEXED by Kevin Hearne today (they were out of HAMMERED, the big goobers, so I had to reserve one from the next batch). I also bought MY LIFE AS A WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE, then sat down and devoured it in three hours. (devoured...zombie... get it? Never mind.) Even I, the confessed zombie-phobe, loved it.

For those who just can't get enough of me... (oh come, on that's all of you. There's what, four of you now?)

Over at The Other Side of the Story, I talk about writing description. And at Dark Faerie Tales, Axel gives his view of Kansas City, plus you can win my books! Definitely keep checking back at Dark Faerie Tales and at All Things Urban Fantasy for their Deadly Destinations event all through the month of July. Your favorite UF characters give you tours of their worlds and there are giveaways galore.

I'll be popping up in a few more places around the Interwebz, but I'll link those as they come.

There have also been some great reviews for A SHOT IN THE DARK, but I won't link them all here. (though a part of me wants to go buy each and every one of those reviewers a steak dinner) ((Seriously. I know good steak.))

I just want to thank everyone who went out and bought the books, who read them, who recommended them... I always say that I would have kept writing, even if I'd never been published, but when it comes right down to it, having people read what I write is the true reward. This would be a very lonely endeavor without all of YOU.

Yes, you. You there. No, not you. You. Yes.

Ahem. Anyway.

Still getting trailing feedback in from my betas on Book 3 (which is in DIRE need of a title, so if anyone thinks of one...) but I think I'm pretty settled on what changes I need/want to make. Mostly, my betas are confirming the weaknesses I already saw, bless them, and I think the end project will be a zillion times better. It always is, when my betas get involved.

So, a bit more work, and then I'll have officially completed this contract. People keep asking me, "Will there be more than three JJD novels?" Short answer: Gosh, I hope so. Long answer: Haven't talked to anyone about that yet. Hope so. Really really hope so. Y'all will be the...well, probably fourth or fifth to know, but you know what I mean.