Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Is it your opinion or not? Truthfully!

Good Wednesday morning! Hope all is well with all of you. As for me I’m a little perplexed to say the least. Being a writer I use social media to advertise and promote my work. I’ve grown a tough skin over the last couple of years regarding the remarks that can be scathing and my opinion is it’s your opinion, or is it?

You may be wondering why I say it that way, well here goes. I was scanning Facebook last night and came across several really scathing posts regarding someone local. The bad thing is it all started from one side and it wasn’t pretty. It actually put a bad taste in my mouth regarding social media etiquette. Should you comment on a post that you’re not personally familiar with? It would be like posting a review of someone’s book without ever reading the book, just going with the flow of what others say. Is it right to do that?

Why is it that in today’s world we follow the leader and don’t go with our own hearts? We jump on the social media band wagon and destroy someone without knowing the facts. The problem with this is that every story has two sides. When we don’t know the whole story we shouldn’t push forward. It’s called everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty, it’s the American way, or have we steered away from that? As I sat and glanced over some of the comments I was amazed at the audacity of some of them. The pitchforks were raised and the witch hunt was started. Does anyone remember the ramifications of the witch hunts? Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, get both sides before you share or comment because someone’s life is at stake and many times these types of things affect more than just the person that you’re directing your anger toward. Think about all those that can be affected in the background.

I’ve written many posts regarding reviews, the good and bad. If you put yourself out there, you’re setting yourself up for people to throw darts or compliments at you. Have you ever noticed that if you get a good review, other reviews similar start appearing, but also goes with bad reviews. I’ve received some really great reviews and I’m eternally thankful. Of course I’ve received some nasty reviews, but I always use the ones that are done in taste as a learning experience. I actually followed one critical review with a rewrite. The rewrite actually went to the top 10 on Amazon charts for several weeks. It was a good review in my eyes. But then you have those that see a bad, scathing review and they suddenly want to add to it. The funny thing is, well actually it’s sad, a couple of bad reviews I’ve received were obviously not from an actual reader. They even got the story wrong in the review. It’s the same with the witch hunt’s that span across social media.

Should we learn social media etiquette? I think we should use tact when sharing or commenting. Can you imagine a social media without all the negative thoughts? I’ve seen more and more people stating this on social media. They want to see the negativity brought down a little. Of course some negative posts are beneficial if handled correctly, not just for the benefit of someones ego, but full of facts.  It would make for better reading in the early morning as I sip my coffee, but of course this is my opinion, possibly not yours.

What are your thoughts on social media etiquette? Would you enjoy a nicer experience?

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…


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Support the Author…

Good Tuesday morning. I hope everyone is safe and well. We’ve had a nasty round of weather here in the South and let’s just say it’s still really dark here.

When you pick up a book you’re taking a chance on that author. What if it’s an author you’ve never read or your favorite author? Either way you’re supporting that author. If you like the book it’s really important to send out a review. But what if you’re not too keen on the book, well still do a review, but don’t be nasty.

My rule of thumb when doing a review is to be honest and think of how I’d want a reader to respond. If it’s great then shout it to the world. If it’s alright, then give it a review that states it’s an alright read and maybe give some of it’s attributes if it has any.

But what do you do if it’s horrible? I’ve read some books that I just barely finished and others I never finished, even though I really truly tried. It’s time to review, but what do you do? Well, I think you need to leave a kind review. What’s that mean? It means don’t degrade the author with comments like “I couldn’t finish this book because it was horrid” or “This book stinks, don’t go near it”. Maybe say something like “This book wasn’t my style, but I tried it out”, which leaves it open for others to try. I like the reviews that mildly state a couple of issues with the book, but not by cutting the author to the quick, but by making a couple of suggestions. I’ve actually used some of mine to refresh my skills.

A comment I had on a review one time that really steamed me was that I left the book on a cliffhanger to get more money out of the reader by making them want to buy a book. She went on to say she wouldn’t buy another of my books because of it. The funny thing is that it clearly states it’s part of a Saga, which should have clued her in that it didn’t end with that book and she read it all the way through. Oh well.

My point is this, give your authors some love. We work really hard and spend a lot of time writing to get that book out there so give us something to work with. Good thing we don’t price our books by the hours we work on them. But it’s so worth every hour spent over the keyboard.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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What’s in a review?

I’ve blogged about reviews before and each time I get a lot of response from fellow authors. Reviews can do a lot for an author. They can cause readers to flock to your book, run away from your book or make them unsure. I’ve been reading several posts from fellow authors regarding the trend in reviews and in some ways its not good.

As I’ve said before, if you’re thinking about reviewing a book, please read the book first. It’s so evident to an author when a reviewer hasn’t even read the book.

Let’s take a look at some of the things fellow authors have told me about some of their reviews that either made them laugh, cry or smile. Some may have caused all of these emotions.

1: I really enjoyed this book but I’m giving it a 2 star because I didn’t like the characters name. (This author was shocked when she saw this review. What’s funny is, even though it’s a 2 star review, which should be bad for the sales, the reviewer told readers it’s a good book.)

2: This book is horrible. Why did it have to be so unrealistic? People just can’t do this in real life. (Ok, this one made me laugh out loud. The book being reviewed was a Paranormal book about mythical creatures. I do give the reviewer credit, people really can’t do what the characters did in this book because they aren’t real. This author’s book sales actually escalated after this review.)

3: Why? Please stop this. I didn’t like this book at all. (This reviewer went on to email the author directly and tell her to stop writing. The author smiled as she was telling me about this review because she actually has hit the bestseller list in several countries with the very book this reviewer slammed. Her response was “It takes all kinds to make up the world”. By the way, this book is free and the reviewer did not pay for it to begin with.)

4: Great book. I can’t wait for more from this author. Waiting impatiently for next installment. (This author was thrilled with this review. It was her first book and she was afraid it wouldn’t do well.)

5: I loved the book, but could have been a little more descriptive. The writing was good and the character development was well received. (This was a constructive review that was helpful to the author. She said that actually she went back and edited a couple of areas of the book to correct these issues.)

This was just 5 of the responses I received after my last post on reviews. We rely on reviewers to be honest about their reviews of our work. The sad thing is many people out there are not very nice when they review a book. They strive to make the author look bad. What’s really sad is that a post I read a couple of months ago, several authors were slammed repeatedly on Amazon and the reviewers were not verified purchases. The wording went along the same line and did not mention anything from the book. The reviewer was slamming the author themselves. It’s sad but true.

My advice to new authors or even veteran authors that haven’t developed a thick skin is this. Use the reviews wisely. If the review is structured and they explain the flaws they see, then maybe check the flaws out. It could help. But if they’re nasty and scathing, just let them roll off your back. It’s hard, but as a published writer, you’ve opened yourself up to the public and sometimes they aren’t very nice. 

So, tell me your experiences with reviews. How do you react? Just remember, smile you’re a published author.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 

 


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How do you take rejection?

Hmmmm! Let me see about this. Well, I usually take it fairly well according to the situation. As an author you’ve got to learn that a little rejection is coming your way one day. It’s sad but true. 

When I started publishing my work, I was afraid of rejection from family and friends. I was more afraid of what they’d think than the world. For a long time most of my family and friends were not aware I’d published any books. One day my mom showed my aunt one of my paperbacks and she had a fit. Now she’s a fan.

If you pitch your work to a large publisher, well, you guessed it, you get get one of those nice little form letters that explains why they can’t publish your work. Some of the better publishers give you advice on what would make it better and would possibly change their mind. I pitched one of mine to a big publisher and well, I never got anything. Not sure, but I’d call that a rejection. I prefer to think maybe they didn’t get it, but a rejection all the same.

You can feel the sting of rejection through self publishing too. This is usually through reviews. Sometimes they hurt, but you just have to remember, it’s not personal. Well, sometimes it feels like it. 

Life is feel with rejections, that’s what makes us stronger, I think. You have rejections in your love life, friendships, jobs, promotions, loans, and many areas of your life. The main thing is how you handle that rejection. Do you just dig a hole and put your head in or do you walk proudly and get over it? I try to choose the latter as much as possible, but I have to admit to having dirt in my hair more than once 🙂

So how do you handle it?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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What’s up with people these days?

Have you noticed people these days are more opinionated? People have always had an opinion, but with social media taking over, it’s more apparent and out there everywhere. The reason I’m posting on this is the way people do things.

Take for instance. I received a review on one of my books. The person gave me a 1 star review which is their opinion and I can take criticism, but only when it’s constructive. The review simply stated “Pease relieve my mind. Whyis tender flame and moonbeames and roses using the ssme names but different stories. Nothimg is mention about others that were mention tender flames. What happened to sarahs baby……..damn why wright two books using wes and sarah”. I copied this from the actual review. Does anyone see anything wrong with this review other than the spelling and nasty word?

Now don’t get me wrong, Criticism is a big part of writing and I use constructive criticism for good. My issue is that Tender Flames and Moonbeam & Roses are two entirely different books and many writers use the same character names in different books. Why do people do this to writers? Moonbeam & Roses is a stand alone book and Tender Flames clearly states it’s part of the Flames of Love series. I just don’t get it. Let us know what you thought about the book, not the characters names. That’s a odd point.

Opinions run rampant, but when your opinions are not constructive but destructive should you voice them? Many people like to voice destructive opinions publicly. It’s bad for those that are public figures. Look at how movie stars get raked over the coals. If they make one misstep or wear the wrong color shoes with the outfit they get a social media dress down.

So, what’s up with people these days? Some people are like moths to the flame when it comes to negativity. I can say this, when you do a review for a book whether it’s a 1 star or 5 star, make sure it’s relevant to the book. What does it matter the names of the characters? When you watch a star do a interview, what does it matter the color of their shoes or the way they combed their hair? Look at what they’re saying or their acting skills, not their fashion sense.

Everyone has their opinion about something or someone, that’s their right, but should they go crazy with how they express it. I guess my upbringing taught me to not sling mud and to watch what I say because I could be on the receiving end one day. Boy was that ever right. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing Emotion

How do you write emotion? To someone that doesn’t write you may think this is easy. Well, it’s not easy to put emotion on paper. In life we feel so many emotions. We feel happy, excited, angry, grief, depressed and the list goes on. But how do you put it on paper? How do you get the reader to feel the emotion themselves?

I’ve read books that made me laugh, cry and even get angry. But how do you relate that feeling in your own writing? It’s all in the way you describe it and put all you have in it. Make sure you put every detail in so that it brings the reader into the situation. If you leave out some of the details it could make the reader become detached.

The words you use to make the description more vivid is key. Go for the gusto, use a Thesaurus if you have to, but make every word count. When making someone cry over a sad part, tell how the tears streamed silently, or their lip trembled as they held back the sobs. Don’t just say they looked sad. To bring about the emotion, you need to describe the facial expressions, the feelings they have and how it’s affecting those around them.

I had a fan tell me that one of my books made her cry from sadness at one point and then from deep happiness by the end. In her review she put to have a box of tissues close by when reading it. I smiled broadly and realized that I’d done my job. 

So, don’t forget to fill in the descriptions and if you laugh as you write or cry, you’ve probably achieved your goal.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The lure of Romance…

In today’s world of divorce, affairs, depression, terrorism, disasters and just plain out life, we’re looking for a way to escape. A lot of people use reading to do this. A large percent of the books read are romance. Maybe it’s the thought of true love, untainted love or even that dream of another life.

When I sit down at my laptop I try to get lost in the moment. I want my reader to feel the same way. If you can’t get lost in the moment as a writer, then how can you get a reader lost in the moment? I want to get my reader into another world and away from the worries of life. Just for a moment to give them something to dream about…

Romance has always carried me away to another place. Sometimes it’s to another country, another time period or just to see life from someone else’s eyes. As I read a book, if it’s a good descriptive book, I try to immerse myself in the story. I try to get lost in the lure that’s romance.

Everyone needs a little romance in their life. Maybe it’s not your thing. I spoke with a friend not too long ago that said she can’t stand to read a romance. She reads only mystery and science fiction. She said she wanted to read my books but was afraid she’d be too critical. I talked her into reading one of them. Well, she’s now into the third one. I smiled as she told me how she liked the first one. “I thought it would be just oozing with silliness and lovey dovey stuff.” I laughed and told her that not all romance books are that way.

Some people do put a stigma on romance books. They think that only housewives and lonely people read them. They’re so wrong. Some of my best fans are business women, teachers, and even some men. The men are the funny ones. I have to say that I was surprised at the amount of men that read romance. So, as I say everyone needs a little romance added to their life.

So go out and pick up a romance novel today and add some spice to your life, your marriage or just to be taken away from the business of life for just a moment. 

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…