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Wanna help your writing friends or favorite authors? Review their books.

canstockphoto19884609As an emerging writer, I am beginning to look at this business a lot more seriously. Sure, getting published in erotic anthologies has been a lot of fun, but I don’t make much money for short stories. And, figuring it an hourly rate is downright depressing. I am a slow writer. Even for short works, it takes me about an hour per five hundred words for a draft. Then, there’s editing. And, I can’t just sit down and write for eight hours straight. If I could do THAT, I would be way more productive. On average, my brain is tapped after three hours of ‘creating words from nothing’ in a morning. Figuring all that in, I average about five bucks an hour on the erotic market.

I don’t even want to think about an hourly for the novel I’m working on. It probably wouldn’t be fair, either, since I have used this novel to really learn how to finish a novel. For those who aren’t keeping track, I’ve actually written five novels. Or started them, anyway. I have one I ‘finished’ but never went much beyond a pretty poor second draft–120K words that need cutting down to 90k, a complete POV re-write, and boredom have left it on the shelf for several years now. I have three others that I have what can only be described as ‘shitty first drafts.’ And there’s the mystery I’m finishing now. Really finishing.

What does this have to do with you reviewing books? Everything. Basically, a book with more reviews gets seen and purchased by more people. (And yes, this is all about me training you to write reviews so that you are ready to review my book when it’s time.) It’s all to do with the way various (online) book sellers choose to show you “if you liked this, you might like this” and other such magical and incomprehensible things called algorithms. I don’t understand how these things work, but I do know they make a difference.

It doesn’t have to be an arduous task. All you have to do is rate a book by clicking on one to five stars, then give one sentence about what you liked or didn’t like about the book. It’s okay to be honest if you didn’t like a book, but review it based on the content of the book and your experience as a reader of the book. Don’t ding the book because the shipper was too slow or they mangled the cover. If you’re an adult reading YA, don’t give a YA book a low rating because it ‘comes across like it was written for teenagers.’

You don’t have to write a book report, either. No need to give a synopsis. Just a sentence about what kept you reading or even what made you close the book and forget about it will do just fine. Your reviews DO make a difference. Your writing friends will love you.

(c) Can Stock Photo


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Reviews…you can’t control the reader’s experience


I was doing some catch-up work for the erotic pen name I’ve been using. I have an Amazon Author page that needs updating, a Goodreads Author page that needs updating, a blog that I need to write…well, you get the picture.  While I’m still keeping mostly mum about that pen name, I came across two reviews that actually called out my stories.

One was positive saying that my first ever male-male story was a favorite in the collection. Yay!  I get a little nervous about writing men having sex because I have to rely much more on my imagination than I do when writing from the female perspective. Having someone say they loved my story is more than just fun, it’s confirmation that writing skill and imagination are as or more important than experience. I’ve always hated the “write what you know” idea people put out there. Yes, if you don’t know it, you go out and learn it. But, barring any bizarre alien intervention I am unlikely to ever experience the male body from the inside out. In terms of the mystery novel I’m working on, I’m kind of glad I don’t actually have to experience what I put my characters through. I am not kind to those poor people.

The second review was slightly confusing. The reviewer cited my story as a specific example of what was wrong with the whole collection. It was a collection of stories in the BDSM erotic genre, and the whole point was to get people into sexual scenarios where people submit and pain reigns. (Re-read the above paragraph…research is my religion.) The reviewer dinged my story for the plain fact that my two characters don’t have actual sexual intercourse, even though the female totally gets off on her experience of submitting. Add in that this was an erotica anthology, and not an erotic romance anthology, it was a surprising review. It’s like buying a barbecue cookbook and complaining about the fact there are so many recipes involving meat, or that all the meat is cooked, you know, on a barbecue.

What I’m trying to get at here is that no matter what you think you’re writing, or who you’re writing for, someone is guaranteed to read it differently than how you wrote it.

(c) Can Stock Photo

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