Tag Archives: Creatives

Use Reviews To Improve Writing Skills

Mixed Reviews on Goodreads?

Do you use reviews to improve your writing? I have an account on goodreads.com, but to be honest, until recently I have not spent a great deal of time on this website. Then, I few days ago, I dropped in on my account to see what was happening only to discover that I had a few more great reviews for my novel, Serpents Underfoot.  These reviews are by Goodreads members who have actually read my book and who I do not know! It is one thing when a friend or family member reads your book and tells you how great it is. But, when a stranger enjoys your book and says so … how fun is that!

Therefore, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Garrett Lee and Kevin Keegan for your FIVE STAR reviews and A Standley for your FOUR STAR review. It means a lot to a writer to get some response to his work, good or bad.

Use reviews to improve your writing skills!

Good reviews are motivational and we all love to get them. However, bad reviews, if honest and to the point, can be very instructional. I am sure there are readers out there who will simply not like my work. Such is life. But constructive criticism can go along way toward improving your writing skills. So, instead of getting angry or upset over bad reviews, view them as tools to improve your writing skills. Take the comments and look to see if the review you are upset about is indeed on to something.

You can always just ignore the occasional cranky reviewer with nothing real to add to the conversation.

tenth 5-star review use reviews

Learning to Own Your Writing Style!

writing styleLearning to own your writing style takes some understanding …

So, how do you learn to own your writing style? I recently was approached by a lady  in a local convenient store. She walked right up to me and said, “I want to tell you how much I really enjoyed reading your book, Serpents Underfoot. I love your writing style. It is so unpretentious and straight from the heart. And, I would not say that if I did not really mean it.”

I was caught totally off guard and a bit embarrassed by her comments, but I thanked her … telling her how much hearing that meant to me. Then I paid for my diet Mountain Dew and headed out the door. On the way to my car, I started thinking about what she had said … unpretentious and straight from the heart. I began to analyze what she might have meant by that.

So, what exactly did she mean by that …

I think that she was saying that my characters are portrayed with refreshing honesty. Especially the main character, JD Cordell. Other authors probably would have left out the influences in his early life such as church and boy scouts. Both of these institutions have come under attack to varying degrees in the world we live in today. But, how could I leave them out? These influences helped shape the man he became in the story. Even his training in the  martial arts, another key influence in his development as a confident young man, is an individual achievement, and doesn’t play well with all the group think and mob rule we see playing out in today’s news. However, these influences created the very foundation allowing JD to become a U.S. Navy SEAL, a true modern-day warrior.

The more I thought about this and looked back at the characters in my book, I realized something. They are, both good and bad, all independent thinkers and individualists who are able to stand on their own two feet. I think that is something the world needs more of. It is something I very much believe … and so, in that way … it came straight from the heart.

And what might this mean for other new writers?

If you don’t love what you are writing and you are not excited about writing it, I think it would be hard to be good at writing whatever it is you are writing. By being true to yourself and what you believe, you can write write honestly, and straight from your heart. Will everybody like it? Certainly not. But will everybody like what you are writing if you are merely pretending? Certainly not!  See … nothing really changed. Except, that if you love what you are writing, you will be passionate about it. And even people who do not like what you write will be able to see that. So, learn to own your writing style. Be true to yourself.

Authors Often Need Resources. Fiverr Can Help!

authors

Sometimes, new authors need help getting started

New authors are often overwhelmed with all the things involved with finishing that first book. Are you an aspiring author? Do you have all the resources you need to make that first novel a success? Let me turn you on to a great site if you don’t already know about it. Fiverr.com is an online community of creative people.  There are folks who do graphics and designer, digital marketing, writing and translation, music and audio, programming and tech, business, and fun and lifestyle. The name Fiverr probably stems from the fact that most sellers have a base gig that only costs $5.

Alice Osborn Webinar

I first heard of Fiverr during an online webinar given by Alice Osborn, a Writer/Editor. The webinar was on social media marketing for self-published authors. While Fiverr was not a topic of the webinar, Alice Osborn did mention that she used Fiverr for her own projects. I was intrigued and decided to check Fiverr out.

Self-published Authors

At the time, I was coming along on my first novel, Serpents Underfoot. I had written an author’s bio and a book description. As I perused Fiverr, I discovered a seller who wrote book descriptions designed to help you sell your books. I went a head and ordered a $5 book description to see what this seller was doing and how my book description compared to his. It was a learning experience. The seller’s book description was good. No problem there. I even gave him a tip. I discovered, however, that is was really no better than mine. So, after thinking about it for a few days, I set up a sellers account and started doing book descriptions.  I have since added two other gigs.

Book Descriptions

I have written about 16 book descriptions so far. The have included books on deer hunting, slow cooker recipes, gall stone remedies, dark poetry, adult coloring books, Various self-help books and various works of fiction. I started the second gig a bit later writing martial arts fight scenes for other writers. Because of my long history of karate training, I seem to have a knack for writing pretty realistic fight scenes with sound karate technique. I have done three so far and have enjoyed doing them. I create a third gig which involves editing the work of other, but so far … no takers.

Qualifications

What qualifications do I have? Well, for one … I think I could read before I could walk. My parents instilled in me a real love for reading. As a result, I have read my whole life. Starting with Dr. Seuss and moving on to history, military history, historical fiction, fantasy, sword and sorcery, I also like to write and have written most of my life as well. As a youngster, I even enjoyed playing on a typewriter! As a student, I enjoyed doing papers in school and always got good grades on writing assignments. When I attended college, I took many literature courses including Old English literature, Russian Literature and a technical writing course as well.  I received excellent grades on any paper I did including my Master’s thesis.    Authors - typewriter

Things I have Written

I have written several student training manuals for the dojo I owned and ran for about twelve years. Any dojo marketing materials were also written by me. I’ve had several letters to the editor published in the Clinton Courier as well as the Daily Beacon, the student publication for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I have technical documentation for processes in several of the jobs I have worked. For the last 12 years or so, I have also been a blogger. I started with a conservative blog, which was eventually rolled into this current website/blog. I guess I may have mellowed a bit over the years. While I am still pretty darn conservative, I try to see other view points and to also blog about non-political things such as writing, books reviews, and my German Shepherd, Sophie.

What does the future hold?

My Novel, Serpents Underfoot, is in its final editing stage and will be released this fall.  I plan to release it as a paperback, a hard copy and on kindle as well. Once that is underway, I currently have plans for three more books.authors - serpents underfoot

Next Project

While I do not want to give too much away, my next project is going to be a collection of letters from WW II. No, I did not write the letters. But the letters are real, and they a beautiful to read. They are letters written between a GI stationed in Japan during General MacArthur reconstruction period and his wife at home with their young son. These letters offer a look at a period of time many of us have forgotten about. It was a tough time, a time of sacrifice and hardship. But, is was also a time of love, caring, and looking out for other people.

After that?

Then I have plans to do a book on what it was like growing up as a stutterer. Last, I have an in progress Isshin-ryu Karate history and training manual I need to complete. Then, who know … I may circle back and do another adventure in the life of the main character in my novel.

What does these last few sections have to do with Fiverr?

Not a whole heck of a lot, except for the confidence writing as a seller on Fiverr has given me. I am finding out that people actually like what I write. So far, I have completed 19 Fiverr gigs and am working on my 20th. I have 18 reviews, 16 of which were 5 Star, one was  a 4 1/2 Star, and one a 4 star. That is the motivation I mentioned earlier in this post. Fiverr provides tools and motivation. So, for all you aspiring authors out there … Fiverr just may be a great place to start.