So…recently I paid for a BookBub ad, and had an amazing 49,000 free downloads of my very first novel in the Clan Grant Series, RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER. Along with the good often comes the bad, and this was no different. It brought all kinds of people out that gave me one-star reviews for my writing, or ‘liked’ the one-star reviews.
Yes, I made a mistake on my first and second novel in my self-publishing experience. I hired an editor for both, but it was my first experience with editing, and didn’t know enough to hire a developmental editor. I also didn’t pay much for the first two edits. Now I know better.
Understand that I am also a nurse (RN) and a teacher, and both roles are a large part of me.
In these bad reviews, I am often accused of the same things. In fact, if you want to write another bad review about my writing, go ahead, you won’t tell me anything I haven’t already heard. But here are the most frequent comments:
1. Repetitive- Yep, guilty. One of the first things I learned as a teacher was that you have to repeat anything new 8 times before someone will remember it. EIGHT times. By habit, I repeat myself. My present editor (God bless her) often crosses something out and states, “You just said that.” I still want to remind her that it’s an important point, so shouldn’t I say it at least twice? Umm… no.
2. My writing is choppy-Again, guilty. I spent years as an RN. Here’s how I would write an assessment: VS stable, A & O x3, c/o pain in abd RUQ 7/10, intermittent. Lungs CTA….I think you get my point. You can’t chop a good RN’s writing any more. It’s supposed to be choppy. My present editor says- “Flesh this out a little.” Two pages more..”Flesh this out.” and by the end, she should be writing in caps FLESH THIS OUT!!!
3. I’m melodramatic-Guilty. Oh, YES I AM! If you don’t like melodrama, please don’t read my books. I worked in a pediatric intensive care unit for a while, and in a recovery room, for heaven’s sake. People stop breathing every day in my world! It’s not melodrama to me, it’s life.
I also took 3 different classes by 3 different people about how to write best-sellers. All three said the same thing-write melodrama. That just validated what I already knew. Most people love melodrama.
4. Too much abuse-Not guilty. Really? Women chained to beds? The NFL? The emergency surgeries I’ve seen in the middle of the night? I do want to say that I write about the abuse to focus on the journey to healing, to give women hope and an escape. I don’t try to focus on the abuse, but I could have done this better in my first novel.
So those are the most common. I could go on and bore you to tears, but I won’t.
Why the five-star reviews? Readers say because of the emotions, of the essence of family, of the strength of the hero/heroine, but mostly because it’s a good story. I strive to be a great storyteller. I know I am not the best writer, but I continue to take classes to try to improve my writing, and I hire a great editor.
And I think I do know how to pull on your heartstrings.
So why don’t I just rewrite RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER and THE DUKE AND THE DRESSMAKER? I discussed this with my present editor (who is fabulous, by the way) and she looked at my reviews. She suggested that since I had so many 4 and 5 star reviews that I am more likely to anger my present fans if I changed the book.
And I know a few readers that would flip out if I changed RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER. So, Kimi, this is for you. I won’t change it. I love Alex and Maddie, too. For everyone else, thanks for your patience with my writing in that book. Every other book in the series has had both a developmental and a line edit by a very talented and patient individual. I do try to give you the very best possible, but I’m not changing RESCUED BY A HIGHLANDER.