Reviewing Your Book – Why the Reader is Never Wrong

My 12-year old daughter is a writer. She writes some edgy stuff. I encourage her creativity, although it’s dark. Very dark. Thing is, if darkness is what fascinates her, she must pursue it. No putting a genie back in the bottle. And I’m not capable of restricting anyone’s creativity, anyway.

All I ask is she create her dark worlds as conscientiously as she can. As rigorously. Not to be sensational and shock readers, but to explore character and relationship and value. To say something meaningful. Now, to understand the kind of darkness I’m talking about, you only need to know that the master of the genre she favors is Poppy Z Brite.

So I’ve insisted she read Brite’s works to see how an author creates believable character, builds motivation, and shares an unreliable narrator. Yes, my daughter is reading about serial killers, cannibalism, and rape…and liars, manipulators, and people who are just fucking evil or insane. When we discuss it, she tells me the reasons the protagonist gives for his evil. Then she thinks critically and tells me the true reason he does, despite his lies. 

The Reader is Never Wrong

And to that end, I tell her the reader is never wrong.

Because she argues with me when I critique her. She tells me that I haven’t read it right or don’t know the background of this fanfic or wasn’t trying to do that, etc.

Maybe a reader didn’t understand or was sloppy in their focus. Maybe all true; definitely all meaningless. Tough advice to follow, I know. Believe me I know!

With reviews for my work that have included devastating phrases like “For erotic horror, this is neither erotic nor horror” on the same story that was described by a different reader as “The best kind of horror: psychological,” what can an author expect from readers?

Once you’re a professional and can write a decent plot and provide realistic characters and motivation (and that’s not right out of the gates but after a few works), it’s no longer whether your story is good or bad, exactly, but whether it connected with the reader.

What I’ve taken from my 15 years in the business is those readers who like my work are the ones I was writing for and the ones who don’t like it are not who I was writing for.  In other words, I can write a story. It just might be one you don’t like.

A First Review for Darklaw

SFP-FLESH-SPIRIT-Darklaw-Wymore-Cover-200All this thinking arose because I received my first review on Darklaw today. I was holding my breath this month, waiting to see if any readers would appreciate what I was doing with this vast and brutal world and its complex characters.

And someone did!

Annlry has posted the first review at Amazon and mentioned those things that I consciously emphasized: immersing the reader in this alternate world with both story and illustrations, developing relationships and characters that are realistic with strengths and weaknesses, keeping the plot well-paced, and focusing on diversity in the modern sense with characters of many sexualities, genders, races, and ableness.

It’s awesome to have  a 5-star review; awesomer still to see a reader who not only enjoyed the story but saw all the attention to detail. It doesn’t get more satisfying for an author than that. You can read the complete review at the Amazon link here.

Writing, Editing, Spanking – And Not Necessarily in That Order

The bad thing about running a press (Strange Flesh Press) is sending out rejection letters. Hate it.

MT and I have our differences as editors go, but we have two stories that have been tough to decide on–great concept poorly executed. On the other hand, isn’t this a good problem to have? We’re still a very new and small press, so we appreciate the trust shown in us by authors who share their babies.

Signing Books

On the writing side of things, I put together copies of Darklaw to send to winners of Love Spanks 2015. If you missed the fun, you can STILL get hold of the Love Spanks anthology of lesbian romance stories for just 99 cents. Anastasia Vitsky is converting me one spanking at a time. I will never admit I like romance, but a good spanking? Mmm…

Avestine ruled an empire, but can she subjugate the god of Chaos?



Short Lesbian Romance and Erotica For Valentine’s Day

cropped-spanks-lovespanks-amazon-2015I’ve been reading my way through the Love Spanks event. You’ll find romance, kink, and erotic lesbian (femslash, FF) fiction.

All short fiction, all free, many genres by some great writers. And if you join, you might win a number of great prizes from a Kindle Fire or Nook to gift certificates for Amazon and other publishers…and book bundles and swag packs from me!

I invite you to visit the Love Spanks page and read! You can see the list of authors, the Love Spanks Event Rules, & links here.

Here are the links to the stories (Just through 2.14.15 and then you can purchase the anthology with them):

[This is xposted from SFP ]

I eat sacred cows