Author KM Herkes is back for round two, talking about one of her kickass female characters. If you missed Part One, check it out here. Let me tell you about Grace. Grace is the protagonist in Heartwood, my current work in progress. I want to share a bit of her biography. Fair warning, it might…
If you dread seeing pleas for online reviews from your author-friends, you are not alone. Me? I get performance anxiety. Composing a Real Book Review is hard mental work and time consuming.*
Ordering lunch is easy. So I came up with a system. Think of your review as a deli meal. Yes, folks, it’s time for “Build Your Own Book Review!”
Sandwich. Sides. Drink. Make a few choices, and it writes itself.
Bread: all reviews come with stars. Choose 1-5. Don’t worry about hurting feelings. Seriously. The raw number of reviews carries far more weight with the Almighty Search Algorithms than whether they’re positive or negative. That said, 5 stars is the white bread of the review world. Just saying.
Fillings. Pick one or more from as many categories as you want.
This book is
- ______ well worth reading
- ______ suspenseful & fun
- ______ a real thriller
- ______ warm & inspiring
- ______ entertaining
- ______ on my best-of list
- ______ fun but nothing special
- ______ totally skippable
- ______ A bore from beginning to end
- ______ was twisty and full of surprises
- ______ kept me turning pages
- ______ made me think
- ______ was brilliant
- ______ didn’t really move me
- ______ confused me in places
- ______ started well but got boring
- ______ goes nowhere fast
The world-building/main idea
- ______ blew my mind
- ______ was amazing and original
- ______ was well thought-out
- ______ felt tired and predictable
- ______ were flawed and human
- ______ were relatable
- ______ felt real
- ______ really got to me
- ______ acted like real heroes
- ______ never stopped complaining
- ______ were full of themselves
- ______ seemed like tired stereotypes
- ______ sounded real
- ______ had lots of good jokes
- ______ moved the story along
- ______ was stilted and fake
- ______ sounded like speeches
- ______ used too many big words
Side orders: not required, but extras add a little pizazz to your review
- My favorite character/moment/scene ____________________
- The best thing about the book was ____________________
- I really liked____________________
Drink. A little statement to pull the whole review together.
- Give this book a try, you won’t be disappointed.
- Recommended for/as/to________________________
- This is a must-read
- If you like ______________ then you should check this out
- Skip this one if you value your brain cells.
- Only recommend it to your enemies.
Take a look at these popular combos:
House Special: 5 stars! This book is on my best-of the year list. The plot was twisty, the world-building blew my mind, and the characters really got to me. My favorite scene involved a teddy bear and a glue stick, and that’s all I’m saying. If you like funny books full of crazy jokes, snappy dialogue and cute animals, take a look.
The Snark: 2 stars. Skip this book. The world-building is mind-blowing, but the characters spend the whole book complaining and the plot goes nowhere fast. Recommended as an insomnia cure.
Short, Sweet & Simple: 4 stars. I liked this book. The plot kept me turning pages, and the characters felt real. Give it a try.
Now, if you you feel like this is cheating somehow because it’s easy, YOU ARE SO WRONG. Trust me on this. I recommended books for a living for nearly two decades. Sales reviews are about bearing witness. Standing up to be counted. Very few readers go to Amazon or B&N looking for a deeply-pondered journal-style literary critique. They want to know, “Did someone else like this book? Y/N and why.”
Be kind to yourself. Give your favorite authors a huge boost. Go deli style. And if you want to practice, I have a bunch of book listings pining away for reviews right here behind this link: author.to/kmherkes.
*No, really. Reviews are hard. That’s the reason Goodreads lets all members assign star ratings without writing words at all. (My books are listed there, too. Hint. Hint.)
All five Rough Passages tales have been collected into one big, happy edition with extra world-building material, stunning interior design from RuneWright LLC and a gorgeous cover by Quincy J. Allen.
Here’s the link to its shiny Amazon entry: Rough Passages book page
And here’s a peek inside at the dedication pages, interior decorations and a few pages of text: Rough Passages sneak peek
**NOTE** It’s a PDF, so it might download instead of opening online, all depending on your choice of browser & platform.
Now, by popular demand, I am adding my list of easy ways for current readers to support my campaign to sell a gazillion copies of the new book. Because OF COURSE you want to help.
The best part: these suggestions are totally transferable. Think Rough Passages is total dreck and not worth your time? Great! Read these ideas anyway, then take your
wrongheaded perfectly valid opinion and go elsewhere to support the new release of some other extra-awesome author.
- If you’re a fan & on Goodreads, help the collection find new readers. Give a rating to the book’s Goodreads entry now.* You don’t even have to review. GR allows naked ratings. Also put it on your GR “want to read” list if you can.
*Yes, this is totally legit even though the book doesn’t release for a couple of weeks. LEGIT, I SAY. NORMAL. Many authors release bundled works or repackaged novels etc. People get review copies. People read drafts. Whatevs. If you’ve read these stories already, you should go forth and scatter stars freely.
- Pre-order a Kindle copy ASAP (if you do Kindle.) Get your friends to do the same. Multiple same-day orders boost the ranking tons higher than the same # of orders spaced days apart. HIgher rankings = higher visibility for other potential readers.
- Ponder writing a ten-word review for Amazon. You have weeks yet to dash off a line or two to post opening day. I will be putting together a deli-sandwich-style guide to writing quick&easy reviews. Yes, I will post it to this blog.
- Spread the word! In person as well as online. Social media shares are great (and thank you to my many, awesome boosters!) but specific encouragements to friends are like gold dipped in gold with gold leaf wrappers on.
My best-ever score for preorders is 20. Pathetic? Maybe, but it’s still a goal.
Rough Passages has already exceeded the historical low of 2 5 preorders for a past title not being named to protect the guilty. I am pleased to say Rough Passages met the initial challenge, achieved a total of “legal drinking age in the US” and heading towards “Same total as the number of pennies in a quarter.
If everyone who calls me friend or favorite living author (Multiple people have, I am not making that up) the total
should easily exceed 10 might get as high as Existential Crisis. (that’s 30.)
Anyway, I have a win already but I want a BIG win. I would love to blast past the old high score. Aim high. Yeah. Call me a dreamer.
What’s going on with me? I’m SO glad you asked. It has been a while since I did one of these. (Before DragonCon, I think?) Busy month. Why a gargoyle for the pic? WHY NOT?
Books. I read books that weren’t historical romances! Books I enjoyed! Contemporary Fantasy! Steampunk! Exclamation points! I have high fantasy and space opera on my TBR list, but don’t get too excited. It may not get reviewed for months. Okay, here goes;
Convergent Lines. Michelle Cori. Its tagline is A Tale of Gothic Horror, and it definitely has a great gothic feel, but horror makes me think blood & jump-scares. This has a fantastical moodiness, with fae, humans, witchcraft, loads of intricate world-building and history…and so much more. The narrative jumps between the protagonist’s past and present by chapters leading to a major plot development, and it has that “drop you in and let you roll along” approach I adore. (but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.) Not sure if there’s an ebook version of this, so buy the paperback or make your library get it. The cover and the interior decorations are mind-blowingly pretty.
A Desperate Plan (Tales of the Automazombs) Toni Johnson et. al. Steampunk. Zombies. Need I say more? I really don’t. It’s a fun collection of shorter and longer stories that each stand alone but advance a larger plot. Some fine storytelling in a variety of styles. Great hints of reveals to come, but no sense of anything being left unfinished. Ebook and regular book.
A lot of romance got consumed in the last month too, but nothing I would recommend. I must say I seriously wonder if authors who consider “purely masculine scent” to be attractive have ever actually smelled a live man. I’m someone who can find the scent of a sweaty guy appealing, but “masculine scent” still makes me think, “Ew.” Ya know, I think I’ll be moving on now.
Television: Daily Show & Samantha Bee over suppers, and the occasional sportsball game while I peel apples. That’s it. A bunch of shows got boring or cancelled, others haven’t started. Zero interest in The Orville, not paying to watch commercials with ST:Discovery, have to wait for DVD on Game of Thrones. I record Law & Order reruns because I know half of them by heart and specifically watch them so I can tune them out.
Movies: Finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Underwhelmed. I mean, I enjoyed it, I can say, “okay, fun movie,” but the whole Hollywood knee-jerk sequel philosophy of “take everything that was cool in the first one and evolve it” does not now and never has worked for me. Plus I loathed the writing for Drax. Sure, expand our understanding of the character, but literal-minded to clueless is not a personality progression. Neither is there a line from single-minded to impulsively stupid. And Gamora was pretty much sidelined except for the OMG-SIBLING-HATRED thing. And then there’s the whole “why can’t heroes have two normal, living parents?” question…
…so, maybe I mostly didn’t like it. I dunno. Nothing I’ve mentioned will stop me from watching it again a few times.
I watched Wonder Woman again to make sure the DVD worked. Yeah. That’s why.
The latest in re-viewing: disaster flicks. 2012, Day After Tomorrow, Dante’s Peak and San Andreas. Just because. Figured out another reason I love San Andreas: the male teen lead listens to the female teen lead who knows what she’s talking about. Multiple times.
In other news, autumn is apple time, which means day trips into the Wisconsin not-so-wilds in search of all the scrumptious yummies. I’ve already socked away the first of the year’s cider & saucein the big freezer, and the first fruits & cheeses of the season have made into tasty treats. The garden is an exuberant mess of drooping grasses and drying flowers, except for the asters, goldenrod & Joe Pye weed, which are in full glorious bloom.
That’s all for this report. Next post: all about the writing and authoring.
Edited to add a full-length pic of Grawlix the Gargoyle:
Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon.