Reviews and Roses

If you are a writer, you will relate to what I have to say today. As you may know, the initial premise for my novel, The Brevity of Roses, came to me in a dream. At first, it seemed a simple story, but the more I wrote, the more I disturbed the placid surface and uncovered treasures in the depths. I fell in love with my characters’ story, and tried my best to do it justice.

Like you, I’m sure, I wondered how well the wonderful story in my head had come through the keyboard. Would readers see only a shadow of the story I had intended to tell them? My critique partners and beta readers reassured me it was all there, but I figured they were too close to the story, too close to me. Then last night, I read this review by Christa Polkinhorn and finally quit holding my breath.

This is a turning point for me. Yes, I know, my reviews won’t all be good ones. No one writes a book that everyone loves. But it’s enough to know that some readers will “get” the story I meant to tell. I can live with that.

Contest news! Congratulations to Dorte H who won the e-book from Cathryn Grant’s contest. I hope you enjoy the read, Dorte.

For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy your weekend, a holy time for many. I’ll take some time to revel in my roses, the spring bloom smells the sweetest.

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26 thoughts on “Reviews and Roses

  1. Huh, quite timely I should read your post Linda. I just finished watching the old Doris Day movie and was pondering a similar issue. The film is about a theater critic and how he changes in this profession, acting snarky with his reviews but increasingly popular. I was just blogging about it today, how as writers we need to be aware of our reputations and still somehow speak the truth as we best know how to. Thanks, Linda, your post did speak to me.

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  2. I read the review! I am happy for you! I’m going to get busy getting the books I want to read soon. Brevity of Roses will be one of them. I’ve been too busy to read the paperbacks I have here right now. But it will happen. Blessings to you, Linda…

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  3. I read the few comments about “romance novels.” I, too, hate the term “romance.” I write novels about love and relationships, but they don’t follow the formulaic romance genre: boy meets girl, conflict, resolution and in the end they get each other. I think part of my dislike of the term has to do with the gaudy, cheap-looking covers and the typical romance format of the books in the romance section of bookstore, and with the, in my opinion, demeaning term “chick lit” that’s given to those books. I don’t consider my books to be “romances” in the typical sense.

    However, there is the problem of “categories” and “genre” labels when you post your books on Amazon, etc. You want to promote it to as many readers as possible. I usually list my books as “literary fiction,” “general fiction,” “contemporary fiction,” but I do include “romance” as a second or third category. And I cringe every time I do it.
    Christa

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    1. Gee, Christa, did I write this comment? 😀 I feel exactly the same way. I chose those same categories on Amazon too (including the cringe). One friend pointed out how well Romance sells, and of course I’d like to increase my sales, but I would expect that true Romance readers would feel “tricked” if I promoted my book as one.

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      1. You know, I hate genre labels to begin with. My book as well as yours cross genres and I think the only labels that makes any sense to me are “fiction” and “non fiction.” But of course that won’t do because of the online promotion, and readers do scan the books by genre labels. I don’t think, listing your books as, among other genres, “romance” is tricking the reader. It deals with love (and with a lot more) and “romance” deals with love. Heck, if they don’t like it, they can return it and ask for a refund.
        I’m more concerned that readers who dislike the typical romance wouldn’t pick up the book, if it was listed solely under “romance.” So I think categories, such as “general fiction,” or even “literary” might disperse that notion. But I’m still a beginner at this, so I may change my mind.
        Christa

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        1. I agree, Christa. Ours definitely deal with love relationships, but neither is a genre Romance, which to me majors on sexual attraction with an obstacle or two thrown in. Ours have other layers. Mine, specifically, deals with grief, and also emotional damage inflicted in childhood.

          So you’re probably right that a genre romance reader might not be so disappointed, but yes, categorizing it as a Romance novel could potentially alienate many readers who might enjoy it on those other levels.

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