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Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, April 22 2017

April Round Robin topic is suggested by Victoria Chatham: Reviews. Love 'em, hate 'em or totally ignore them. Amazon tells us the more 4 or 5 reviews the merrier, but how to get them?

To review or not to review – that is the question! I find it odd when another writer tells me they never read reviews. Really? I always read them. Maybe not ALL of them but I do read them for a lot of reasons.

As a reader, I read reviews to get an idea if this is a book I really want to spend my time and money on. One thing that really irks me in this day of self publishing is authors who throw the book out there thinking grammar and spell check is good enough and fail to get the book properly edited. Maybe if I wasn’t a writer myself it wouldn’t bother me so much but a book full of misspellings and improper grammar drives me nuts and I can’t get past it. So a couple reviews that mention this problem is a definite NO for me to bother downloading. But other comments about the type of story, the depth of characters, or even just a description of characters might make up my mind for me. For instance, I love stories about military people, but hate stories about millionaires and beauty queens. I grabbed up a book on sale that happened to be set in the area I grew up in – just because I knew all the places and it sounded fun. Turned out to be a fantastic book and I can’t wait for the next one by this new author.

As an author, I read my own reviews. Partly because patting myself on the back requires uncomfortable contortions, but more because I learn from the reviews. If I let myself be open about the critical comments it can only help me grow as an author to avoid those pitfalls in my future books. Likewise, when reviewer after reviewer has the same or similar positive comments, I know what I’m getting right. I don’t write books for the benefit of critiquers and editors, but for my readers and reading my reviews helps me to know and understand what my readers liked and didn’t like and work harder to meet their expectations with each new book I write.

As for GETTING reviews – that’s the tough question. I’ve had readers who write me gushing emails telling me how much they loved my book, but when I ask for a review tell me they don’t know how to write one. I’ve been known to suggest they copy and past the email they just sent. I have four kids who love my stories, three of them daughters who read the kind of books I write anyway. But one of them says she just “doesn’t do reviews!” Not even for good old MOM! I’ve run contests offering a drawing from all the names who write me a review. I always ask for a review when someone tells me they loved my book. One other thing I did was to create a bookmarker with my logo on it and the comment that if they enjoyed this book please consider writing me a review. I put one in every print version of my book that I sell, both at book signings and in books on consignment at local bookstores. I slip them into books at B&N for the length of time my books show up on their shelves as well.  But on the whole I find trying to get reviews is difficult. Now I’m going to check out all the other visits to this Round Robin blog to see what other ideas I can try.

Marci Baun  
Dr. Bob Rich 
Beverley Bateman 

Helena Fairfax 
Rachael Kosinski 
A.J. Maguire  
Margaret Fieland 
Connie Vines 
Rhobin Courtright 

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 12:01 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 11 2017

On Facebook for the past couple weeks, we’ve seen a mixture of spring images and unexpected snow. Daffodils blooming in spite of the chill, and trees everywhere beginning to bud. Spring is coming even when winter seems reluctant to leave. And this seems to be true of our lives as well. In some places and in some arenas people cling to the past. But the one thing we cannot do is hold time still. Accepting the changes that come with spring: warmer weather, sunshine, flowers, and a fresh new beginning in nature aught to help us to see that change is not always to be feared and avoided. One can’t step through a new door until one closes the one behind you.

Think of all the new beginnings you’ve faced in your lives – some welcome, some joyous, some scary. That first day of kindergarten or nursery school – the day you had to let go of the familiarity of home and meet a whole classroom full of new faces and a new routine. Although my friends today would probably never have guessed it, I clung to my mother’s legs begging her not to leave me. But where would I have been in life, had she not gone and I had not begun my formal education? Leaving for college is another sometimes scary, sometimes eagerly anticipated event. Our first really foray into the world as adults was empowering even while it presented new chances to fail and get hurt. Getting married is nearly always a joyful event. We are in love and excited to become a new little family, leaving the shelter of the one we grew up in. But even here, there are new things to learn and overcome to make marriage and life a success. Every new job we’ve ever embarked on, however fervently sought, had its learning curve, brought its own new challenges and sometimes even failures before we took hold and made the position our own. Having a child changes everything about your life. Now you are totally responsible for another person, one helplessly relying on you for their survival, but once accepted and the challenges faced, parenthood can be one of the greatest achievements in life and bring the greatest of joy and love.

Just growing older doesn’t stop the inevitable changes that life can throw at us. Retirement, aging, failing bodies, loss of friends, loss of the ability to do the things we once did with ease are all changes that we must face. To cling to what cannot remain just keeps us from finding pleasure and joy in what we now have.  

I probably don’t have to urge any of you to welcome Spring and anticipate summer, but I’d like you to take a moment and welcome some of the other changes that have come into our lives over the past few months and make the most of them. Instead of weeping for what has passed, embrace what is and give the best that you have in you to make it good.

From Ecclesiastes 3

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:  a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;  a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”


Posted by: AT 12:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida

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