Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Goodreads Ratings (A Public Service Announcement)

Imagine for a moment that you've put your blood, sweat, and tears into one project for hundreds of hours because it's your lifelong passion, and you're so invested in this thing that you can't sleep at night or focus on daily tasks because ideas are whispered into your ear 24/7. Imagine that you've decided to make this passion your career, and hope it will feed your family and maybe keep a roof over your head. You invest over a thousand dollars that you don't necessarily have into this project, hiring professionals to help make it shiny enough to entice strangers to buy into your passion.

Now imagine that this project is rated on a star systems, and before you've even released your precious baby into the wild, it's given the absolutely lowest rating possible. Though this seems totally unfair, there's nothing you can do to change it.

Such is the glamorous life of an author.


It seems there's a misnomer when it comes to Goodreads ratings, as far too often users see it as a system to remember which books they want to read. Sometimes I won't even have finished the book or written a blurb and I'll find a single one-star rating. Please, I beg you, for the love of authors who have devoted their lives into writing, don't ever use the star system for these purposes. By doing this, you're unfairly tarnishing the author's reputation/brand and making it more difficult for them to sell their passion.

According to Google, this is the universal standard rating system:
1 - Poor
2 - Fair
3 - Average
4 - Good
5 - Excellent

Easy enough, right? Now with that being said, my momma taught me to be kind to people, and I don't have it in me to ever give a book either a 1 or 2 rating. In my mind, a 3 = pretty good. If I can't say it was at least a 3, I won't rate it. Part of that may be due to the "Minnesota Nice" mentality that I can't seem to shake, but I also don't think it's warranted. Simply because I can't get into humans having sex with dinosaurs in space doesn't mean the book wasn't well written. If I give a book one star because it's not my thing, that's sending an unfair message to people who do enjoy reading about humans having sex with dinosaurs in space. (By the way, humans having sex with dinosaurs in space is a real thing. Apparently you can make this shit up.)

A prime example of a book I didn't enjoy even though well written would be J.K. Rowling's Casual Vacancy. There's no denying the woman has a beautifully tight prose, but this non-magical tale was simply not for me, so I chose not to rate it. However, over 24,000 readers gave it one star. First of all, I'd give anything just to have that many people give my book a chance. However, if this book had been written by anyone else, those ratings would have the potential to kill the author's career.

Ratings are everything when you're trying to get your book into the hands of readers. 

Accordingly, I implore you to take Goodreads ratings quite seriously. You're leaving a permanent mark on someone's career. Please don't be flippant about clicking your mouse, making a last second decision like it's a yellow stoplight. Stop to really give it some thought. It's only fair you spend a minute or two on your review considering how many hours the author put into creating their "baby."

To those who do take the time to write a thoughtful review, whether only the minimum amount of characters required or several paragraphs long, you have no idea how much your effort is appreciated. If I had J.K.'s success, I would take each and everyone of you out for a beer. Scratch that - I would throw you all one helluva party with Charlie Hunnam and Brock O'Hurn serving the beer. Shirtless. On a beach in Maui. With Jack Johnson playing his ukulele.

With these lovely visuals in mind, I'm off to write.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

FIGHTING FOR ALEXA Release & Random Thoughts

You guys. I can't believe I've published seventeen books in my writing career.

SEVEN. DAMN. TEEN.


Whenever someone asks what number I'm on, I honestly never remember (part of that's because I'm getting closer to becoming an AARP member). Even right this moment I feel like I should run into my office and count one more damn time for good measure. Then again, that's probably my mild OCD showing its bastard face. At least as I sit here and reflect on the last 42 years of my life (ouch that hurts...today's my bday), I can look back at everything I've done and be proud as hell.

My first computer. GREEN SCREEN, baby.
To give you a glimpse into my background, in third grade I wrote a short story about My Little Pony and declared I would one day be an author. I often skipped hanging with my friends as a teenager to type away on my little Apple IIc, writing what's now known as "fanfic" that involved my favorite movies like Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club.

My high school English teacher encouraged me to send my work in for a contest, and I think I won some kind of award (#oldladymemory). In college I struggled with what path to take as my advisors told me I likely wouldn't make a career out of writing. I wasn't interested in the other options involving an English major, and one afternoon ended up picking a career path from the phone book.

Basically, the start of my career was a total shit-storm.

Unfortunately, I didn't go after my dream until several years later when a dear family member was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. At that point I realized that tomorrow isn't promised, and I knew I owed it to myself to see if I could become a successful author. So in 2012 I quit my full-time job and self-published my first young adult paranormal book, What I've Done.

It's insane to think how much my life has changed since.

So damn many people have played a part in my journey, and I'm bummed that I can't possibly thank everyone in the acknowledgements found in the back of each book. From each individual blogger to fans, my incredible author friends and family, there are literally hundreds of humans who influenced my success in one way or another. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're one of them, so THANK YOU! I'm fortunate to have come in contact with so many kind souls in the past five years who have offered advice or comfort during tough times, held my hand, and encouraged me to keep going. They even make up for the jackholes who have tried their damnedest to bring me down.



I decided one way to thank my fans was to throw a fun giveaway that includes a $50 Amazon gift card, a Michael Kors bag, a signed paperback, The Sweary Colouring Book, and VS body coconut milk! If you haven't entered yet, you can still stop HERE now through the 28th of February to be in the running for these awesome prizes. I'd give away more if I could afford it, but the expenses associated with being an indie author are ridiculously expensive.

So if you're interested in the crazy stories that go through my head, you can currently grab Fighting for Alexa on Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and Kobo for just 99¢ but I'm pretty sure I'll be putting it on Kindle Unlimited soon and raising the price. So if you're interested, now's your chance to grab that baby. I don't change the price and switch the retailers to be an asshole, I promise. Being an indie author is pretty much like being a meteorologist. We never know when it's going to rain or everything around us will be sucked into a funnel. This is one of the hardest jobs I've ever had, but also the most rewarding.

Please know that I'm eternally grateful for all you do for me from purchasing my books to leaving reviews and sharing my posts on social media! You're truly the best!

XOXO,

Jen