Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Stand Up and Be Counted

By Tim Smith

I’ve been reading the previous posts on this thread while trying to decide what I could contribute. Then I ran across this quote.

“To win without risk is to triumph without glory.”

It was courtesy of the French dramatist Pierre Corneille (1606). There’s a lot of truth buried in that short sentence. Also in a quote I was told early in life — “Nothing worthwhile comes easy.” To get anything you want from life, whether it’s a career, a relationship, or financial security, you have to get out there and pitch for yourself. It’s unlikely that anyone will do it for you.

Gisselle Renarde’s post from a few days ago mentioned critics, the bane of an author’s existence. She also weaved in the selfish attitude some authors seem to have about reviews and sharing blog and Twitter posts. I have never taken anything for granted regarding book publicity, and always send someone a “Thank you” e-mail when they’ve had me as a guest on their blog. I’ve even done the same for friends who were nice enough to post a favorable review on Amazon. Who says nice guys finish last?

I’ve been blessed with generally positive reviews for every one of my books. I don’t write for the critics and when I read reviews, I try not to take the negative comments personally. One encounter with a blogger a few years ago, though, nearly changed my outlook. This woman read one of my romantic mystery/thrillers and trashed it on her site. Naturally I was annoyed, but not so much with her opinion of my prose. What sent me over the edge were her comments that attacked me personally because I’m a man who dared to write a straight romance. How could I do such a thing! The so-called review was bad enough, but then she took the feud a step further and linked her bad write-up to a rave review I had received on Goodreads. I’ve never met this woman, and I don’t know why she was hell-bent on destroying my career.

Good reviews are nice to have, but as I said, I don’t write to impress literary critics. I write for the person in Parma, Ohio or Rugby, North Dakota who wants to escape from life for a little while. I think of fiction writing as being in the entertainment business. If you can pick up one of my books and get transported to someplace exotic, with characters that you like and a plot that holds your interest, then I’ve done my job. I think the nicest compliment one can receive in this business is “I can’t wait to read your next one.” It doesn’t get much better than that.       


  1. You can really make yourself crazy if you pay attention to the trolls. Actually, what I appreciate (though not as much as a glowing review LOL) are the reviews that say "Well, this book didn't do much for me, but that's just my preferences." When a reviewer recognizes the subjectivity of his or her opinions, that's cause for a gold star!

  2. What irks me the most is when a reviewer has obviously not read more than a few pages into the book, yet still feels qualified to review...and pan a book. WTF? If you weren't interested enough to read the whole thing, fine, just say so. But to base a review of the entire novel on the first chapter? That's when characters are being introduced, and things are being established! And hopefully the reader's interest is being grabbed. It's hard to set up while being careful not to info-dump.

  3. You can never know what motivates a stranger to trash something you’ve made. Sometimes it’s hard to guess what motivates people you know! I know the best thing to do is to roll your eyes and move on, but that’s easier said than done.


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