Putting yourself out there by Candi Wall

September 26, 2011

 

 

OH! Super cool update! Laura Bradford confirmed she’ll be here for our November Agent Shop since

gremlins messed with our last run of e-mails and this Agent Shop was cancelled. She’s a stellar lady peeps!

“This is wonderful. I could feel everything your character was experiencing!”

“You’ve got a strong voice and the writing was sublime…”

Oh, yeah. You all know what I’m talking about. The big grin, the heart thumping that goes along with opening your e-mail, contest scores, comment section, twitter, or whatever venue you use to put your writing out there, and reading something like that!

It’s like CRACK!

More, more! Gimme more!

‘Course, the negative comments can be just as intense .

“You really should pick an author you like and try to emulate them.”

“Your characters felt cardboard to me, and your villain was nothing more than a clichĂ© device to throw in some failed tension.”

Kill me now!

🙂

Okay, so it’s not that bad. As with everything, we have to take any and all comments with a grain or bucket of salt.

As writers, we’re going to come across every personality, like, dislike, good day, bad day, that our readers have. We’re going to be held high by a reader that just adored everything we put into words, and we’re going to be knocked so low, getting back up will be a Herculean task.

Color me a glutton…

But I’ll probably keep putting my work out there, through contests, groups, sharing sites and of course my Beta readers and Crit partners.

Wanna know why?

Simple. Feedback, friendship and the chance at winning!

And believe it or not, that’s the order of importance I take when I enter any contest. Feedback is gold.

As most of us do, I started this journey alone. Through contests, writing groups, and networking, I’ve found the most amazing people and am lucky to have them. I don’t believe for a moment that without them, I would be as far as I am today. And that in itself is enough reason for me to feel justified in encouraging any writer, at any stage of their craft, to get out there, take a chance, let others see what you write and learn what you can from what you get for feedback.

Soak it up like a sponge, retain what you need, and let the rest evaporate.

I took my first tentative steps into networking waters by joining Charlotte Dillon’s Romance Writers Community. Best choice I ever made. That’s where I met Jenn, Marie-Claude and John. I took a chance, they took a chance, and we found a solid foundation of friends to share our journey with. That friendship and professional connection remains today!

Marie-Claude stepped WAY out of her comfort zone and entered Dorchester’s American Title V contest and WON! But if you ask her, she met and remains friends with numerous other writers to this day, and that’s something even winning can’t compare with.

My first public contest was Dorchester’s Next Best Celler contest. It was hell. Pure and simple. Vote tarting sucks, that’s all there is to it. There was some back biting, some down voting, oh – it was tough, but again, out of the great, not-so-great, and sometimes questionable comments, I gained a group of ladies as my friends, all of whom will give it to me straight when I’m doing well, or writing crap.

‘Kinda makes you feel all mushy inside, don’t it?

Yeah, me too.

So I’m on to my next contest.

The Mills & Boon New Voices contest

I’ve met one stellar writer already, and I know she’ll be a friend way past this contest. I’ve read some great entries, left what I hope are seen as constructive comments and gained some as well. I’ve been down voted too, and it’s still early in the competition. but I’m looking forward to it just the same, because regardless of the outcome, I’m coming out of it a winner. Either with feedback, friends or (fingers crossed) a win.

New Voices is open to any writer who hasn’t been published. the deadline is Oct. 10th, so swing in and enter!

So, have any contest experiences you can share, good or bad? I’d love to hear about them.

DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS REMEMBER TO RESEARCH A CONTEST BEFORE ENTERING. THERE ARE SO MANY SCAMS OUT THERE. READ THE FINE PRINT CAREFULLY!


Unicorns, Profanity, and Sexist Pirates – The Bright Side of a Bad Review

September 21, 2011

Song of the Day: Cold by Crossfade

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It was only a matter of time.

Last week, I found that I had been pirated. I’m wondering if this means I’ve made the big time now that bootlegs of Blood And Treasure are  available? So, I Googled my name. That’s when I saw it.

My first unfavorable review. ACK!

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I’d have to face the inevitable. I’m not so disillusioned to think someone wouldn’t come along and burst my shiny bubble floating around my castle in the sky and scare off my herd of magical unicorns. Even the greats like King, Roberts, and Patterson get dissed. The nerve. Fact is, as this novel made its round in the contest circuit, judges either loved it or hated it. Rarely was there an in-between. It goes without saying the same would likely hold true with reviewers.

The voices in my head warned me not to click the link. But did I listen? Hell no. I had to know how Blood And Treasure fared, especially since this was a pretty well-known review site and I hadn’t sought out their service in the first place. (The review site will remain anonymous to protect the innocent.)

So what did the critic say?

The reviewer chose not to finish reading the book. Ouch! Someone call a medic. I’ve just been hit.

Okay, okay. So, it just wasn’t her cup of rum. Got it.

She went on to say that sexist comments caused her jaw to drop and left her

Stacey & I wondering WTF. You didn't know we look like celebrities, did you?

thinking WTF. I was having my own WTF moment reading this. Then she pulled an excerpt from the book to prove her point. It’s an internal thought by the pirate hero, Captain Zane Fox.

“Possessive, helpless, maniacal, devious, selfish, any one of these words could describe a woman. They could be tender in your embrace or calculating in your bed. And never to be trusted. […] And yet, Lianna was different.”

It dawned on me, albeit slowly, that she just did something for me. She quoted my book. Cool! Still, I was bummed. Maybe I’d take up drinking heavily. Oh wait…

Moving on. Upon closer inspection of her review, I realized it wasn’t so bad. She didn’t say the story sucked wind or that a second-grader has better grammar. In fact, it seemed she had nothing else to say about the book at all. Just that I’m sexist.

Jack Sparrow - Is he politically incorrect? Do you care if he is?

I do take exception to the name calling. Or rather, Captain Fox does. I did mention he is a pirate, right? A pirate! WTF? Whoever heard of a politically correct pirate? Aside from that, let’s not forget the time period. Newsflash. Unjust as it was, women were historically viewed as either manipulative creatures looking to trap a man in her snare, a vessel to brood children, or tarts to shag. Gasp! Did I just say that? Perceptions of women didn’t fully change until recent decades. (Here, give me a hand down from this soap box, will ya.)

All in all, I don’t think my first bad review was all that bad. She is certainly entitled to her opinion, and I completely respect her appraisal. I raise another cup of rum to her and thank her for the exposure.

Do you have a bad review you’d like to share? How about a WTF contest comment? I’d love to hear from you.