Rough Days for Reviews, and My Encouragement

All the Book Love

As it happens with anything and anyone else, some days are harder than others for an author. On the marketing side of things, there’ve been some recent rough days in many an author’s neck of the woods, particularly where one crucial area of book marketing is concerned: book reviews.

There’s been an uproar (a recurrent one?) and much speculation as the online book reviews of more authors and reviewers have been disappearing. (Here are samples of the uproar and speculation, in case you’ve been out of the loop.)

I understand what all of the fuss is about, particularly for independent authors who work hard to get book reviews. Yes, the couple of handfuls of precious reviews I’ve been able to gather for my own books are the result of hours and hours, months and months of searching and querying, reading the review policies of anywhere from 600 to 700 book reviewers and bloggers, individually contacting about 300 whose preferences and requirements I met, getting “Yes, I’ll review your book!” responses from about half of those, and resulting in what I have so far.

Please excuse my inexact numbers. I’ll admit that the closer I got to 1,000 reviewers, fatigue set in, and I started losing track of the count, even with my recording all the data. 🙂 I had to get back to reading and writing to regain my strength.

And speaking of reading and writing, reviewing parameters have the potential to get sticky for a bookworm who loves writing books as much as reading and reviewing them. I mean, once someone writes a book, any other book that person reads from that day forward is “another author’s” book. That’s a whole ‘nother subject.

Anyway, in the midst of these rough days, I’ve had to recall the dear memory of once finding a novel that saved my life. The author wrote it long before I was born, and there’s no way she or her publisher could have known anything about Nadine C. Keels and what Nadine would be going through when she happened to find the book on a shelf, decades down the line. And I have no idea what difficulties the author or publisher may’ve had to overcome to get that book out into the world.

But God and the orchestration of His universe had a way of making sure the right book from the right author got into this reader’s hands at just the right time. I believe I’m not at all the only reader that has ever happened to, and it makes me trust that the same will ultimately happen for the books I’ve written for others.

Nope, this encouragement isn’t very scientific, but when I’m putting everything I am and everything I’ve got into writing and planning and publishing and marketing and all, and another uproar or obstacle in the process arises, I have to remind myself of why I think it’s worth it to keep at it, even when favorable results are hard to come by and seem minimal. There are so many uncontrollable factors anyway, factors that go into when, where, and why a book sells, and once it’s sold, if it’s actually read.

So, as a reader and an author, I’ll keep doing what I can, change or improve what I can, try not to stress too much over what’s out of my hands, and remember all the books that have gotten into my hands at the right time, despite what the obstacles may have been.

*Oh! And if you’re a reader, do know that the reviews you write mean so much and are a great help to the authors you love to read.*

 

“Your Lifework Doesn’t Matter.” Really?

Life's Work

My point, right out the gate: I’d advise against being quick to call what other people do with their lives—their art or vocation—unimportant just because their work may be (or seem) unimportant to you.

My reason for posting this point at this particular time: while waiting in anticipation for the NFL Super Bowl, I heard someone enter a Super Bowl discussion and dismiss the biggest event in professional American football as something that didn’t matter, before the person went on to change the subject.

Oh, it wasn’t the first time I heard someone indicate that competitive sports, particularly of the professional variety, don’t matter. After all, games like football and all the rest are just that: mere games, right? Mere entertainment. And games aren’t important like ending wars and addressing famine and finding cures for diseases and…

sportsBut, may I ask, just how long have human beings been playing games? Why isn’t game playing just a passing fad instead of an enduring part of the human experience, century after century? Why do thousands and thousands of people from all over the globe gather to play games with each other every four years at the Olympics, while millions and millions of other people watch? Why do men and women dedicate their hearts, minds, bodies, years, their lives to the lifework of athletics and competition, both amateur and professional, giving us tangible pictures of strength, skill, agility, strategy, endurance, perseverance, passion, cooperation? Why, year after year, do people tune in to certain channels on certain days; spend their hard-earned finances; flock to particular parks, fields, rinks, arenas, and stadiums; round up their friends and families or gather with complete strangers at appointed times to witness athletic competition? For “mere” entertainment?

I daresay that the athletic experience, whether on the side of the athletes or the spectators, meets a human need, as, critical as they are, peace from wars and cures for diseases aren’t the only needs humans have. (Of course, many amateurs and professionals also use their platforms as athletes to advance all manner of other worthy causes, which would take another blog post to get into.) Sports might not be the “thing” that meets an intrinsic need in you personally, that gives you an experience worth savoring and remembering and that teaches you something about the rest of life (as sports do for countless people). Books might be your thing instead. Drawing or painting might be your thing. The ballet might be your thing.

balletBut a novelist can’t look at an athlete and say, “Your lifework doesn’t matter,” as much of what novelists do through books, athletes do through sports. A dancer can’t look at a painter and say, “Your lifework doesn’t matter,” as much of what dancers do through dance, painters do through artwork. Filmmakers, comedians, musicians and composers, stage actors and playwrights, acrobats and circus performers, parents who amuse their infants and toddlers through Pat-a-Cake and Peekaboo and an untold number of impromptu games that have no name—I could go on to list how all kinds of people who provide others with entertainment are meeting a human need by doing so.

Hey. Even bloggers meet needs through writing interesting blogs.

So. Back to my point. I’d advise against being quick to call what other people do with their lives—their art or vocation—unimportant just because their work may be (or seem) unimportant to you. Chances are, the people you dismiss may be doing more for the world than you think they are.

 

Come to Yourself, Mr. Jones by Nadine C. Keels

Come to Yourself, Mr. Jones
A Novelette
(Contemporary Romance)


“Likable characters” “Intriguing” ~Readers’ Favorite on Inspiring Love, a sweet romance collection including Come to Yourself, Mr. Jones

_________

He doesn’t make mistakes on Friday nights.

InTýntz, a favored celebrity, meets a gorgeous and mysterious woman (Crystal?) at a club in his hometown. But he doesn’t know he’s in for a night nothing like he planned, and a morning after he’ll more than remember.

~~~

Pick up a copy of Come to Yourself, Mr. Jones

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Inspiring Love: Three Romantic Reads

 

Walk to Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne

Memoir Books 3

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

Walk to BeautifulWalk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

When, Jimmy?… When will you do anything to help someone other than yourself?

If it takes nothing else, it takes courage to write something like Walk to Beautiful, country music star Jimmy Wayne’s personal account of childhood hunger and homelessness, abuse and neglect, his experiences in foster care, and his (oftentimes humbling) rise in the music industry.

I couldn’t read Wayne’s story without reacting physically at times, whether that was gasping, cringing, laughing, or blinking back a few tears. “The Crazy Years” of Wayne’s childhood are just that, with enough tumult to make the reader’s noggin spin, and conversely, the compassion Wayne runs into in “Saved by Love” is a relief to come across. I take it I’m not familiar enough with country music, its artists and songs, for most of the names and titles peppered through Wayne’s career accounts to have made much difference to me, but the highlighted events kept me reading.

What I find most compelling is how the author comes to himself, that he evidently doesn’t want to be famous just for the sake of being famous, but he uses his platform to further a cause his life has made him genuinely passionate about. Here’s an engaging memoir, a call to action, and an inspiring read.