What I Learned from my Worst Review
When my first book, Black Leather Pants, was accepted for publication, I wanted to make sure I wasn't a One-book Wonder. I put a few books out there with my old publisher because I'd finally achieved my life-long dream of being a published author. I had studied the successful writers and thought that more sex was the key to selling books, so I wrote a lot of insta-love stories with many sex scenes.
When the reviews started rolling in, I was shocked that critics and readers didn't respond to what I thought were awesome stories! I took every single criticism to heart and started to reanalyze what I was writing. Other than the fact that I couldn't seem to breatk the habit of writing in passive voice, I wasn't getting it. I read more books from my favorite authors, wondering why my books were getting sub-par reviews. To say I was lost was an understatement. I had a few editors jump in and give me their opinion...change this part of the story, or do away with that ending. That led to me putting out a few books that I didn't like.
It all came back to a few things: readers didn't like Insta-love and sex for the sake of sex wasn't wanted. Readers like story and substance. And finally after a few years, I realized I had to go with my gut and stop following the direction of editors who told me what to change in the direction of the characters.
I decided to change publishers and found Evernight. My first book with them was "On Call Mistress". It had been an idea rumbling around in my head for years. One thing about Evernight that I love is their Romance on the Go line, short stories designed for the reader who needs a quick fix of romance. These stories need to be told within a limited amout of pages, so I accepted the challenge of dropping into a character's life to give them their happy-ever-after.
I think over the 10 years I've been a published author I've learned so much about myself and have grown in my craft, mainly from the reviews I've revceived. I read them and listen to them, and they help me to fine tune my writing skills. I was fortunate to get some of my rights reversed back to me on the stories I didn't particularly like. I reworked them and Evernight has been generous enough to republish them. (Don't be afraid of buying a book with the label of "republished". That usually means they've been rewritten and made better!)
So thank you to all who have ever reviewed my books. I really appreciate your critique, good or bad!