New Page for TMDBook Reviews!

Every once in a while I give my reviews a quick once over and stumble upon a few that just pop out from the rest. It just made sense to create a separate page here on the blog specifically for TMDBook reviews, which you’ll find hanging out on the top menu under TESTIMONIALS. Here’s a link:


Awesomesauce TMDBook Testimonials Page


Each book series has its own page, with a few real reviews from real readers for you to browse through. As time goes on, I’ll add more to the page, so make sure you’ve reviewed your favorite TMDBooks – you might see it on the blog! And for those who have already reviewed – thank you SO much. For a reader, leaving a review might not seem all that important, but for the author it is! xoxo

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

Poking the One Star Review Bear

Every published story has the potential to rack up fabulous negative reviews. The wonderful thing about fiction is that each reader will come away with a different experience, and not all will be positive. I know this because I have a nice little collection of 1 star reviews I’m going to share with you today. I’m not one who reads my negative reviews over and over. In fact, unless it’s the first book in a new series, I won’t bother reading reviews lower than three stars. I’ve learned since publishing my first book that there are readers who enjoy being nasty. If you know me personally, I don’t like nasty people. Even after publishing ten books, some reviews confuse the hell out of me. Because…well…why be nasty? I don’t know the answer to that, and I never will. It’s probably best if I never find out, too. I value my sanity.

So, below is a highlight of some of my favorite one star reviews. I have commented for the first time honestly on each. It’s true, I think most of them are funny, even if they don’t make sense or don’t represent the book I wrote. They’re published reviews, out there for all to see. Which makes them fair game, y’all. Fair game.


I HOPE YOU FIND ME

Over half of the reviews for my first book are 5 stars. For me, I’m happy with this. I know IHYFM could have been a complete flop. I got lucky, because as a writer, damn have I grown since publishing this title. I won’t lie or pretend I wasn’t nervous about what people thought, so eventually I broke down and used the balls I didn’t really have, and read the negative reviews. And you know what – I totally survived. Here are some good ones:

IHYFM1

‘Laura M’, thanks so much for the compliment about Zoey, the dog, and the talent comment, um, I think? But I do have to point out something inaccurate in your review. To say that Riley “lusts after every guy she meets” is actually not true. You’re not the first to say this, so it makes me laugh now. There is one man she is interested in, romantically speaking, in IHYFM. Just one. And there are others she grows to care about, because that’s human nature.

For the other readers that didn’t finish the book and totally missed the point about Riley being one of the only women alive in the story and what that would mean for her safety and well-being: There are men that actually DO lust after her – for very different reasons. Let’s face the truth about human sexuality; if there are more men left in a Dystopian world than women, how long would it be before some of those men would try to take advantage of that situation? Especially if most of those men are asshats. I mean, there’s a shortage of ladies in this series, sad to say, and that limits the playing field for all the men – be them good or bad. The real world can sucketh big time, and so does this made up one. If you have a handful of bad guys around one woman, shit’s going to get real. Which is kinda the point of the story. Riley is stuck in a rather difficult situation – on more than one occasion – because she does the opposite of what some readers have assumed – she doesn’t get it on with every man she comes across. She’s a mother who lived longer than her kids and can’t handle that, so for a long time she pretends it didn’t happen. Not everyone reacts the same way to grief. If you wanted to slap Riley across the face a few times while reading the first book, then good. So did I.

For those who have read the second and third books, they can really see Riley’s character arc come full circle. I mean, Riley can kick some ASS, right readers? Anyway, ‘Laura M’, I would love for you to read the rest of these books to see how Riley evolves as a character. She has flaws, which is how most fictional characters should be if you want to see any improvement along the way. She is far from perfect, and pretty much in denial for the first two books – all done on purpose. She’s a character who makes a lot of mistakes, so she can learn from them. That’s all I’ll say about that. *wink*


IHYFM2

OMG. I love this one! ‘ilbob’ thanks for taking the time to let me know that you didn’t get this story, and quit before you were done. I’m not being sarcastic, either. I do appreciate your review. Can I help you understand a few things, since it seems you were confused? Let’s start with the ‘chick’. She has a name, so we’ll call her Riley. *wink*

If you read up to the hotel part, and a little beyond it, you’d know that everyone in downtown San Diego was dead. I mean…rotting in the streets kind of dead. There was no fighting over canned food and bottled water. Whatever necessities they might need are free game. It’s like Christmas during the apocalypse! But sadly, the safety of being in a city with all those amenities doesn’t last forever, which is why they leave. Does that help you? I hope so.

Let me reiterate that this is a fiction story, and some things have to be played with to make it work. The purpose is to entertain. *double wink*

Female Fantasy. I’m not sure what that is, really? Riley stabs and kills someone with a spoon down the road, and rips someone apart with her bare hands. I bet you’d really like that side of Riley.


IHYFM3

“Utter dreck” sounds kind of awesome, but it’s not. I had to look this one up initially because though I had a feeling of what ‘dreck’ meant, I’d not actually used it myself in a sentence at any time in my life. Dreck = grime or impurity. One of the synonyms for dreck is actually ‘excrement’. I do know what that means, so if I can translate this literally, this particular ‘Kindle Customer’ thought IHYFM was complete shit. *giggle*

This review is slightly off, because in the book Riley is described as being the pretty girl-next-door type, not “gorgeous”, and if you said that to her face, she’d laugh. But since she has a vagina, the guys want her. She totally lucks out with the main male character though, I’ll give you that one. He definitely thinks she’s gorgeous. But then again, there’s slim pickings in this post-apoc world.

Greenhouses are totally a real thing, by the way. As are resort lodges. And penthouse hotel rooms. If most people in the world died, these places wouldn’t *poof* and disappear. They’d still be around, waiting for lucky people to happen upon them. I’m not lying – they’re really out there – Google ’em!


IHYFM4

After those reviews, you might think this book doesn’t sell at all after a few years have gone by, but it does. I took this screenshot yesterday to show that despite these negative reviews, readers have enjoyed it. So, as long as those readers want more Find Me books, I’ll keep writing them.


DYING to FORGET

This was the second book I wrote, and also my first attempt at writing in 1st person, present tense. That’s not easy to do, and honestly, I’d say from a writer’s perspective, I failed in a lot of ways. But readers who aren’t authors or editors actually love this book. Oh, the irony. lol

Dying to Forget was hard to write (for many reasons – technically and also emotionally) and I’ll be the first to admit there are mistakes. What’s frustrating as hell is that I know better. But I didn’t hire a literary fiction editor. And editors are there specifically to say, ‘Lookit. You’ve started five paragraphs with the word ‘I’. Knock it off. And hello, you know the difference between ‘too’ and ‘two’, so what the hell?’

I’ve been telling myself that I needed to go back and have this book cleaned up, but readers kept eating it up and demanding more in the series, and honestly, I didn’t have time till recently to ‘fix’ and ‘write’. So, for those who read DtF when it first came out and thought, ‘OMG, the typo’s!’ I hang my head and apologize. I learned the hard way about how self-publishing has its downsides. Just because you think you can do it all yourself, doesn’t mean you should. Recently the book has been re-proofed and is being formatted for release. Writers – pay for editing. It will save you lots of grief later.

However, even though this title needed to be cleaned up, it’s my best-selling book. *scratches head* The subject matter is heavy. I mean, deep. Suicide is not something to be taken lightly, and I don’t. There’s been readers who don’t seem to grasp the point of the story, and have gone as far to publicly reprimand me in negative reviews for glorifying suicide. Those same people don’t know that I lost a family member to suicide, and I know exactly how it feels to go through that. I’ve suffered from depression. I’ve been the victim of sexual abuse. I know people who have self-harmed. I’m not an idiot who is clueless on these topics. So, yeah, it lights a fire under my ass to have a reader assume I chose the subject matter out of the air and thought I’d simply have fun writing about something controversial. That is not what happened.

There’s nothing romantic about suicide. It’s final. And the characters in these books learned that the hard way. Piper Willow was created to evoke something other than depression from the reader: hope. If someone takes away more than that after reading her story, it makes my heart swell. Even the little things can make a difference in our lives, like how Piper helps a character improve her own self-image in order to temporarily feel better. Will straightening your hair keep you from killing yourself? Hell, no. But could seeing yourself differently help you feel better, and the tiniest bit less suicidal? Maybe. This series is ALL about the what if’s.

Readers are passionate about this one. As it should be. *wink* So let’s read some of the worst of the worst reviews, shall we?


DtF1

Yes ‘Kelly C’, this is a series. There are three books, three novelettes and a fourth book in the works. There will most likely be more. A ‘three part series’ is actually called a ‘trilogy’. Kind of different rules for the two, in my opinion. The length of this book is acceptable for its genre as part of a series. In fact, there is no set ‘rule’ to establish how many words a book in a series should be, because writers, just like readers, are different. Imagine that! As a reader myself, I know that every one of us has different reading preferences. Some read fast, some read slower. Some like short books, some like long ones. Some like reading a series, others like the stand alone with that HEA at the end. I’m not that kind of writer, y’all, and that’s why on the book cover and the product page, readers are clearly informed that this book is part of a series. If you take up the six currently published titles (three are novelettes, intentionally short and listed as so) you get a whopping total of about 184 thousand words (give or take a few thousand). WOW would that be a ginormous YA book. And the ‘series’ isn’t done, so this number will only climb. If I waited to publish a book that is part of a series just to make it a certain length, it would never get published. And that would be a shame.

When I made the decision to make this book free, it was so that readers could get a taste of the series and decide if they wanted to read on (like with IHYFM). If they don’t like the freebie, they won’t keep reading, right? But some do, because I think they secretly DID like the freebie, and honestly, in the world of ‘give it to me now, and give it to me free’, sadly this is not the first time I’ve had someone complain in a review that they had to actually pay *gasp* for the rest of the books. How dare I pay my bills! If a reader doesn’t want to pay the $3.99 for the second and third books in this series, I encourage them to get a library card. I have sales often. I give away ARC’s and gift copies to readers who personally message me that they can’t wait for payday so they can’t keep reading. But writers shouldn’t be shamed for actually making money off their work. We deserve to. Plain and simple.


DtF2

‘Amazon Customer’ – I am so sorry you found this book inappropriate for your tennis. This YA series and tennis have nothing to do with each other, so I get your confusion.

Unfortunately, both rape and cutting are things that happen to our youth all the time, which is so damn sad. The research that went into this book was painful. The series is not all about rape and cutting though, in fact, it’s about redemption, forgiveness and hope, and anyone who survives the first chapter has a better chance of experiencing that.

I need to note…something really amazing happened after this book was published. Real people shared real stories about their rapes, self-harm struggles, suicide attempts and loved ones lost to suicide. These amazing and brave people made me realize this story is much more than just a YA Fantasy tale to them. I didn’t write this book with the intention of saving a life, or keeping someone from self-harm, but I am SO glad some people felt a connection with Piper Willow. As a writer, there is nothing more humbling than the real life stories I’ve heard in reaction to this series.

I’ve had parents reach out and ask me if this subject matter was appropriate for their teen and my answer is always the same – only YOU know your kids, so read it first. Parents have reached out to say thanks for giving them a platform to discuss these topics with their kids. And that’s awesome. It’s hard to bring up suicide and rape with your child. I know, I’m a mom. So you see, each family is different and that is okay. Fiction books aren’t just about entertaining, they can mean so much more to certain people. I am so blessed that the Station books have done this for some.


DtF3

This review is a stellar example of a reader not paying attention to what they are purchasing/downloading. The Station series is listed in the Teen and YA genre, and the description on the product page mentions the main character being a teenager. These kind of reviews are actually irritating as hell, because the reader felt dinging it with a one star was an appropriate reaction to the fact that they don’t know how to read a book description. Let’s laugh about this and move on…


DtF4

Ah, this one is kind of like the ‘dreck’ review with the little ‘drivel’ barb at the end. The underhanded punch to the writer gut is always fun, yes? lol Oh, oh! And let’s do the ‘spoiler’ thing for those potential readers to see, because that’s even MORE fun than name calling. *wink*

Joking aside, to the actual point of this review; it’s the reader’s opinion, one they are allowed to have. But ‘Redaim’, there have been several teens that have sent me private messages with their story, things like, ‘Thank you for writing this book. It kept me from cutting myself today.’ Or…’I read this book on a whim when I was depressed and thinking about suicide. Now I feel I’m worth living.’ Every time I get a message like this I cry. I would never, ever call these brave kids ‘dumb’. Would you?


If you read this far, you might think I’m a crazy, ranting brat. I really don’t want to be. In fact, I want you to read this post and be able to laugh along with me at some of the negative reactions to my work and perhaps see them in a different way. When I posted How to be a Jerk Reviewer, it was to make light of a sensitive topic for writers and each of the reviews above could fit into one of the Jerk Review topics.

Writers, look. None of us want negative reviews. It’s not like it feels good to have your work called ‘dreck’ or ‘drivel’. Readers have the right to feel however they want about something they read. The question is, do writers have the right to react to their reviews? Why or why not? I never respond to negative reviews where they are posted – I learned that fast after responding to a highly critical review from one of my friends. LOL I think it’s unprofessional to use Amazon, B&N or even Goodreads as a place to dissect my reviews – but right here – this is my blog. Maybe readers need to be reminded that writers are not robots, but real people who might actually read their public reviews. And yep, reviews are public, so when you post an intentionally hurtful one, be prepared to have your review criticized by other readers, and even other writers. It’s only fair. *wink*

In conclusion, I love my stories. Not because they are perfectly written, I know they aren’t, or perfectly developed worlds, but because they are my babies. And there are readers that love them. This is what every writer wants. Yeah, negative reviews are part of the job. I felt from the beginning it wasn’t a good thing to read them, and I don’t dwell on the ones I have. Some have helped me grow as an author and learn things the hard way (i.e. hiring an editor). But hit me below the belt just cuz, and eventually I’ll speak out about it. Writing is what I do, after all. And the older I’m blessed to get, the more I realize that censoring myself is not for the greater good.

There’s a stigma in this industry that writers should put their work out there and then let whatever happens happen without a reaction. I can tell you this is impossible to do. Writers should have the right to correct reviews with inaccurate information, or address/explain/chat about the issues readers bring up. There’s a bit of a ‘Sssh, you wrote this, published it, now don’t you dare talk about what others might say…’ attitude in the writing community. At the risk of poking the 1 star review Bear, I really want to know…why?

Writers and readers are beautifully connected: both love stories. Let us all remember this the next time we write a book or write a review. xoxo


Happy Wednesday, y’all!

How to be a Jerk Reviewer

In the deepest shadows hidden behind the cyber sparks of the ever-reaching interwebs, the Jerk Reviewer thrives on the quiet anguish of authors and the attention of unsuspecting potential book buyers. Make no mistake, the Jerk Reviewer is real, be this person female, male, child or adult. I’m mostly talking about ebook reviewers, but since the explosion of the online review, everyone is an expert and no one is accountable for what they say online – and not just for books, but for everything they spend a buck on. It’s become a bit of an epidemic – the idea that because you can, you should. We’ve all read a book we didn’t like. Some we’ve even hated. But not everyone will leave a truly appalling review of those books online. It takes a special kind of reader to do that.

So, today we’re talking about the less than classy reviews many books receive (some are even from other authors, which just confuses the hell out of me). Quickly, let me explain that I do not feel as if all critical reviews are jerky. On the contrary, critical reviews are just as important as favorable reviews and can actually be helpful. Obviously from the side of an author, the more favorable the reviews, the better. But the critical ones, done right, can be good at times. Authors learn what their readers want, and that’s not something any amount of stars (be it a one star or five star review) will validate.

Anyway, let’s not digress. I’d like to get down to the nitty-gritty, slice ’em and dice ’em, blood-letting, scathing and immature reviews that I want to pin an award on for making the mad dash to the top of the Jerk Review pile.

But, what exactly is a Jerk Review? Well, every reviewer has a different style, but I see the purpose of a book review as the reader’s place to honestly say how the book made them feel, and if they would recommend it to another. This isn’t Rocket Science, but it’s gotten so darn complicated and upsetting and it doesn’t need to be! If the reviewer lavishes insults, discloses spoilers or dumps an entire synopsis, attacks the author or other readers who enjoyed the book, rated the book even though they didn’t read or finish it, nit-picks absolutely every detail in the plot because they know better, or drops a fake 1 star review for the hell of it, etc…then ladies and gents, you have a Jerk Reviewer.

Some of the negative reviews I’ve read (not just on my own, mind you) are so HORRIBLE that one is only left to assume that the reviewer was intentionally being harsh because they hope that someone out there will eventually read their words. They are looking for a platform. They want to be hurtful. Slit open the author’s wrist and pour acid in it. But why do this?

The ease in which anyone can review anything online sort of gives those playground bullies the chance to lash out with one difference – they aren’t on the playground anymore. The public can’t ‘see’ these people, their faces, their names. They get to hide behind the safety of their computer and continue pissing people off without much consequence, if any.

In a way, the negative book review process has become a bit of an art form. It takes practice, skill and a lack of empathy for others. I almost feel like this is a job and someone out there regularly takes applications for Jerk Reviewer positions. I mean, is it exciting, flaming a book or author online and then brushing off your hands and moving on to the next book on your Kindle? It can’t be. Even with the influx in the publishing world and all the NOT great titles out there, do the writers deserve to be treated the way they are online? Probably not. Reading is supposed to be a form of entertainment. If a book didn’t entertain, then move on and find another. Why the compulsion to jump online and rip it to shreds for every stranger out there to see? I think it takes a certain kind of person to do such things. Whether they realize what they are doing (uh, probably) or not.


Let’s discuss just HOW one can be a top notch Jerk Reviewer:

Make it personal

Well, duh. The author must be a novice. A child. Totally lacking any imagination or skill. So point all of this out. The more personal you make your review about how awful the book was, and how it stole precious time from your day that you will NEVER get back, and how you would have rather hung upside down from a tree while fire ants devoured your skin than read the book to the end. This book ruined your LIFE. Make sure the author is aware just how miserable you feel knowing that the book exists and you, poor sap that you are, spent an entire $2.99 on it then threw away your Kindle because it made you vow to never read another book again. This book killed literature for you and everyone should know it. You quit.

Here’s a woman who just moseyed on over to her laptop one day under the misconception that she’s a writer to the detriment of the reading public on whom she seeks to foist this rubbish that evinces an utter lack of any skill.

Go heavy on the insults

I mean…really, really heavy. Don’t just say the plot was unrealistic, the main character was too predictable, the author is dumb, etc…go ALL the way and really let it rip. The meaner, the better. As far below the belt that you can hit the writer, the more people will understand your pain. Don’t beat around the Amazon bush, make all readers aware that this author SUCKS BALLS. This isn’t the time to leave a ‘nice’ negative review. Give your insults some creative spice, will ya?

There is no way this book deserves this many 5 star reviews. The only explanation I can come up with is that the author has paid huge bucks to an online reputation management company, essentially buying votes. Either that, or maybe she belongs to a mega-church which has somehow convinced legions of true believers that a good review for this book gets them one step closer to heaven. CERTAINLY there can be no discerning readers who actually LIKED this utter piece of garbage.

Be a know it all

I mean, you already ARE, so why not show the world how utterly perfect your life is by ripping apart the plot of a book and pointing out what you feel are all the mistakes. Ignore completely the fact that fiction writing is  ‘not real’ and really let the author and potential readers know that black holes ‘don’t work that way’. I mean, jeesh, don’t authors do ANY research?

While the plot was pretty interesting,it required the reader to suspend common sense. Survivors finding places that still had electricity and running water stretches credibility even if the place had solar.

Spoilers are awesome

Seriously, they are the best thing since smartphones. The plot, the climax, the ending, who dies…BLAB ABOUT EVERYTHING. Because all those potential readers out there truly want to know exactly how the story plays out before they buy it. Really, it’s your civic duty to save them the time spent reading the book themselves when you can simply dump a synopsis in your review.

HERE BE SPOILERS…

The customer is always right

And the customer is you. You rule, authors drool. No matter what your complaint about a book you read, nothing anyone says can compare. Remember this rule, because you’ll be forced to defend it at times. But push all those little authors under your feet and stand atop them as tall and proud as you deserve to be. The book was too expensive, the research was bunk, the author shouldn’t have named the characters that, and the cliff-hanger ending was lame. The reader knows best. So you are right. Always, always right.

Can anyone leave a comment here that might help me to be inspired to read any more of this story? Go ahead, tell me where the plot goes in the comments…Oh, and I just have to point out a few technical issues…Geesh. Better stop ranting, huh? This book is very weak…Even if you get this one for free, “buyer beware” is my advise (i.e., don’t bother).

Review like a five-year old

The best thing to do in your shaming review is to lecture an author about their editing as if you have the writing ability of a Kindergartener. This gets your point across rather well. People love kids, right? Plus, if the book wasn’t written perfectly, why should you bother to leave your review with anything less than unreadable words? Pffft, review legibility is so overrated when the book already sucked.

l hated the book.l would give it a 1 star.
it didn’t tell me where to start.it didn’t tell
me about the story it gost telled about dog’s
l dilated it from my reader it was horebol

Be King of the Trolls

You hated a book so much that it made you homicidal, but since you’re afraid of going to jail for the rest of your life, your best bet for revenge is to hit up the author’s other works with a bunch of low reviews. And make them mean. You didn’t like one, so it’s totally impossible that you would like the others, even if they are totally different books. And while at it, downvote all the good reviews and leave nasty comments on them because clearly those readers didn’t read the same book you did. This is a no-brainer. Troll away!

Read and review everything, Even the genres you hate

You LOVE thrillers, but you can’t be a high-ranking Reviewing God unless you read the paranormal erotica, sci-fi and cozy mysteries too. Don’t bother reading the blurbs for your titles beforehand because if the book is not what you expected, it’s obviously the author’s fault, not yours. Grab up all the books you can, regardless of genre, description, price or length, because if it’s published, surely the book is meant for you to read, right?

It did not take long for me to realize that somehow, I mistakenly got this book while searching for Christian fiction. I deleted it.

DIY

The book you just finished was so awful you are certain that you could do it better yourself, so make that clear with the author by telling them what they did wrong, and how you could do it right. They are obviously not the professional if they didn’t write the plot the way you wanted it to go. You’ve been reading Paranormal Romance for twenty years. YOU know exactly what should’ve been in that vampire series. Where’s your pen and paper?

Bland characters, boring plot. Here’s a test. If I moved all the action to the local coffee shop and replaced the dogs with, let’s say, donuts, would I have the same book? Yes.

Be A sneaky bastard

You heard about this book and went online to check it out and saw that it has a bunch of glowing 5 star reviews. It appears that most of the readers loved the book more than their cats, but that’s not possible, is it? The author must have paid for all those fake positive reviews. Surely the book has flaws, and the description isn’t totally earth-shattering to you, so go ahead and give it a big fat 1 star with the words, ‘I won’t even bother reading this book.’ Or better yet, lie. Say you did, but you couldn’t finish it. You won’t be the first person to do that, but hey, at least your point was made.

Didn’t read it.

Bitch about the price

The first book in a series was free for your Kindle, so why the hell would the author charge $3 or even $5 for the follow ups? Are they crazy, or just plain greedy? I mean, that’s an entire coffee to-go right there! And we all know that authors are swimming in the Benjamins. Sure, you really liked the first book, even left a full in-depth review all about the plot when it came out just to help the lowly readers considering what to read next, but you were expecting the second book to be free too. What are you supposed to do now? Don’t go down without a fight. There’s a plethora of pirating sites where you can surely find an illegally downloaded copy of this allusive second book, but the chances are high you’ll have to input your credit card info and possibly have it stolen in the future, or that you might download a nasty ass virus onto your computer instead of the book file. Hmmm…decisions, decisions.

I got the first book of this series free, and after reading it and coming to the cliff hanger ending it had, I decided to buy this book to see what happens…The very obvious attempts to try to get people to keep sending her money by purchasing each installment is obnoxious to me.


And there you have it – the Jerk Reviewer’s Basic Guide 1.0 to leaving a killer bad review. Or, in other words, the list of what NOT to do if you regularly read and review books. Unless you don’t mind being the kind of reviewer most authors would rather not have as readers at all. Because in truth, like said above, reading is about entertainment. It’s an escape from life, and if a book just doesn’t do it for ya, perhaps you are reading the wrong things. I encourage my readers to leave honest and spoiler-free reviews, but it’s not my job to ask people to be tactful or remember that writers are people too. When it comes down to it, us writers love writing and love our loyal readers. We want to keep you happy. Truly, we do.

Obviously this post was dripping with sarcasm in parts, and makes a mockery of a very valid issue. Why? Because if I can read my one star reviews or those of my writer friends and survive – laugh even – then I’ve lived another day worth living. And I’ll continue to do my best, writing another book worth reading.

Happy reading (and reviewing), everyone!

I’ll Share Yours, if You Share Mine…

After getting my second private message on Facebook last night about doing a “review exchange” from an author I don’t know, I got rather pissy. Not with anyone in particular, but with this overall competition for book reviews us Indies have and how getting lost in that haze to be better than the next turns us into mindless drones.

I admit, I like positive reviews myself, but I’ve never paid for one, or bugged a stranger via their inbox for one. I wait patiently (or impatiently, depending on whether or not I have chocolate in the house) for reviews to come in organically. I ask for them after book releases – yes. I want my readers to know I appreciate their thoughts. And I expect honest reviews – which means they aren’t all favorable. But I don’t ‘trade’ reviews with strangers to boost the numbers. I mean, why? Are we so desperate to reach that magic review number, that we forget how to be polite to people we don’t know online? Where’s the tact? The respect for the craft? Pffft.

Let me point something interesting out: the two messages I got last night were from people I’m not ‘friends’ with online who saw one of the freebie posts I put up in about 20+ free book promotion sites on FB. I had no clue who these two people were, let alone know anything about their books when they reached out to me. There was no, ‘Hey! Nice to meet you! I’m an Indie Author, too! We should talk books sometime!’ It was straight on – I saw your free book. Take mine and let’s spit out reviews ASAP. Ugh. This is a turn-off, I won’t lie. I’ve heard about scammers claiming they will buy your book IF you buy theirs, then of course they don’t. I’ve heard of similar stories with review exchanges. I know that shiz happens. I’m not into shady, y’all. I want REAL reviews from people who REALLY read my book and ENJOYED it. Or, hated it. There are those out there too. lol

So, what is there to do about those who think a good way to promote their books is to seek out authors they don’t know and offer up the highly suspect ‘exchange’ to boost their sales or number of reviews as quickly as possible? I mean, surely, eventually, they’ll learn, right? Probably not. Instead, let’s stop competing. Let’s keep writing. Publishing. Marketing and promoting the hard way, and making REAL friends. Let’s not waste our time on the ones who could care less about us as people, or about our writing. It’s an annoyance most writers I know don’t have time for. Facebook has this nifty BLOCK button for these very reasons.

And for those who don’t know HOW to get real reviews, in the back of your book, kindly ask for one! A simple reminder online every so often works too! “Hey, did you enjoy (insert book title)? Please leave an honest and spoiler-free review when you have time!” Some readers simply don’t THINK about doing this. Some don’t want to. And that’s totally okay. Because if the book is worth reading, the readers will want to tell others about it.

Unless you have a ginormous die-hard following when you release a new book, chances are your reviews will take time to come in. And this is TOTALLY okay. Just write the best book you can, get the best cover you can, and put that baby out there. Make friends with other authors so you can both learn, share books, reviews, etc…with people you trust. This is much better than pissing off potential writer-friends by filling up their inbox’s with ‘I’ll share yours, if you share mine’ requests. Use your manners online, friends, use your manners.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

Review Milestone

I woke this morning with a goal to do workish things while my kids struggle to wake up and function enough for school work, and my quick peek on Amazon divulged a rather awesome review milestone in the making!

Dying to Forget is only one spot away from 400 reviews (in the regular Amazon store – I’m not knocking those of you in other territories who have read and reviewed – thank you SO much). Mostly positive, some critical and a few…well…harsh. lol I think this is amazing, so to celebrate these 399 reviews, while trying not to bite my nails waiting for the next one to come in, I’ve decided to pull some of my favorite positive and negative reviews and share them with you here. Sure, some might see this as tortuous behavior, but I swear, I’m 100% fine. *wink*

THE GOOD

Hannah Grace says: ASTOUNDING! Dawson is a very good author, and she also makes her books very interesting. I highly recommend reading one of her books if you love adventure and creative and imaginative stories. 😉

Alicia says: Tragically Beautiful. Dying to Forget was tragic, heartbreaking, beautiful, compelling, interesting, curious, an experience from start to finish. I don’t want to give a SINGLE thing away!! I read this in 1 sitting, and I was shown mercy, as this series continues in Dying to Remember, which I just want to buy so badly I can’t think of how to express how extremely touching, comforting, and memorable the 1st Station book was!

All I will say is I kind of foresaw the end, and I’m extremely intrigued to see where it goes. I also can safely say that on her journeys, I love how creative and full of perspective Piper was.

I recommend this book-to all ages and to all people whatever stage of life they’re in. It’s a book about hope and 2nd chances, and at 171 pages, I would’ve stayed up much later than 1:16 am to finish this 1st installment! WELL DONE! Thank goodness it’s not over yet!!

Joyce D says: I loved reading Dying to Forget. I loved reading “Dying To Forget: The Station Series 1”. I read it straight through as soon as I got it. Trish Marie Dawson writes with a good sense of humor on a very sensitive subject. It is very believable and one can feel very confident in life after life after reading it. The issue of suicide is often not addressed because of the sensitivity of it, but this is a very believable look at a probable way of bringing it to the attention of those who might contemplate suicide as a way of escaping the trials of life on this Earth. I’m anxious to read the other two books in the series as well.

Coffee says: Makes me think differently. Wow. My whole thought process just went “GASP” at the ending. Absolutely wonderful read. Had a very hard time putting this book down. Cannot wait to read book two. This book really made an impact in how I think. Maybe it’s not just me in my head….

Kirstin says: Once you start, be prepared to read the whole book. You know that little voice in the back of your head, guiding you in the right direction? Do you listen to it? Not everyone does, but after reading Dying to Forget, you may listen a bit more…

This is a strong character driven story and series that tackles serious issues in a comfortable and relatable manner. I was impressed with the way the author handled it.

and the ending… WOW… all I can say is that I was glad I already had book 2 on hand because I started right after.

THE BAD

Peg says: Story idea good, but no real story line to grab and hold you. Liked the idea of a way station after death and a possible second chance. The writing was okay that’s why a 2 star review but the seriousness of suicide was totally glossed over. By half way thrum the books just closed it and left it unread. The story dragged with no point left to the story line.

M Anderson says: A smudge above average. In Dying To Forget, the main character, Piper Willow, is someone who I can empathize with on many levels. Her development is steady and logical, and the overall story is sweet. What starts out as a truly depressing introduction, turns into a lovely read.

But this is where the rise in Star points peters out. The writing style is mildly juvenile- things phrased the way I would expect a high school student to phrase things, conversationally and descriptively speaking. The plot twists were a bit obvious though I didn’t mind that so much as I minded the end. When I read the last words of the book, I had the sensation that when the author wrote them, she did so with a loud and machiavellian “Dun-Dun-DDUUUNN!” Queue creepy, hokey B-rate movie suspense music. Had there not been a “duh, of course that’s how this book would end” combined with the obvious attempt at leaving us readers with a Thrill to follow into the next book, I would have made it four stars, not three.

Otherwise, it’s a good quick read. To anyone around 16 years old and looking to read something interesting enough to pull you from your own reality for a few hours, I highly recommend this book.

THE UGLY

Jennifer says: Horrible. This book is not badly written, but that is the only good thing I can say about it. Most likely, as I don’t find suicide romantic, I should have not even started this, but I read the reviews and hoped maybe it would be worth it. And it was free that day.

The real problem I found in this book is the complete glossing over of the suicide. There is no pain, graphic description of just how horrible what she did was or how awful for those she left behind. In fact, it read to me as though if you kill yourself you get to maybe have a new chance at romance even.

While authors are not held to the duty of raising children, if you are going to write a YA story about suicide, at least have the decency to make it obvious that your after life is worse than the life you killed yourself to leave. Make it clear that you don’t get it better once you go, so maybe instead of seeing it as a way out, a way to a better place, someone would see it as an awful choice and make another one.

Redaim says: How did this book get such great reviews? This was one of the most pointless books I have EVER read. I read all the reviews and it sounded so good, but the story was seriously lacking in any type of plot and downright stupid. I kept wondering when it was going to get better and live up to all the reviews…but then it just ended.

Abby says: Nope. read the first chapter and thats as far as I got. usually I can wait to see if it gets better but I think it was just the writing style that got so far under my skin that I just had to stop reading.


Why did I share more positive reviews than negative ones? Because there are over 250 five-star reviews, and over 100 four star reviews. I think this is pretty awesome. And those people deserve a shout out. But don’t worry…I will definitely be working hard to make my writing style more enjoyable, my plot lines less pointless and will make it MORE clear that I don’t support suicide, and neither do the main characters in the Station books. In fact, I’ve gotten more private messages from people I don’t know, explaining how these books helped them during tough times – even keeping them from self-harming. And that right there, is beyond amazing.

Piper Willow would love to hug each and every reader and reviewer, and kindly remind them she is a figment of my imagination, but very much real in everyone’s hearts. Not everyone reviews a book after they read it – a small percentage do, actually – so thank you for taking the time, if you’ve reviewed. I hope to keep you entertained for many years to come. And if you have NO idea what the Station is all about – check it out yourself – the first book is FREE and available on Amazon, Nook, Smashwords and even iBooks. Happy Reading!

XOXO – Trish

beautiful blonde in a hat. hipster style