Based on the comments I received from the first covers I posted here, I came up with this one. The ring is not as prominent, but hopefully this will work for the short story I’ll be posting to Smashwords. Feel free to share your thoughts. I do want the cover to be as good as it can be.
That thought brings me to branding. I only realized after I did up the cover that it is similar to the two other book covers done by my publisher. Small matter, but did I subconsciously think about brand recognition when I did the cover? Not sure, but it’s possible. Of course, it wouldn’t be a good thing to fall into a pattern of sameness.
Quite by accident, I came across a thread on an Amazon Kindle board that was started by a reviewer. Apparently, said person reviewed a book by an Indie writer, whose response was somewhat defensive. The reviewer’s original post was deleted, so I didn’t have the benefit of seeing it. However, when I last checked there were 153 responses, including several from the writer who surfaced during the discussion. It brings to mind another incident between reviewer and indie writer, where the writer had a meltdown, which led to scads of people commenting on the review post and then going over to Amazon to post bad reviews on her novel.
I haven’t read through the entire board, but an early commenter said something that made the most sense to me. The person cautioned against any type of author response on review sites, even ‘thank yous’. Makes sense to me. I wouldn’t have found out who the writer was if he hadn’t joined the discussion. It then prompted me to look at his work, and there are a few. None had reviews yet, but I’m pretty sure he’ll get some downloads from those whose interest has been piqued. When they post reviews, he’ll be deader than dead.
Even on writing networks, it’s painful when not-so-tactful reviewers critique our work. My method of coping is to take a day or so to examine the review and find its merits. Most often, critiquers do make some valid points, but some people simply do not know how to be tactful. Inevitably, after I’ve cooled off, I can see where the person made some good suggestions. The most important and sensible course is not to respond while I’m still feeling as though I’ve been violated. I’d like to note here that some of us writers are extremely thin-skinned and any criticism of our work sends us into a frenzy. Not a good attitude for someone in the public domain.
Whether we care to admit it or not, the stigma attached to self-publishing might have lessened, but it’s still there. It raises its head in cases like these, where a book might not be the best one written or edited or plotted. The problem is compounded when writers lose control and put their emotions before good sense.
We’re as protective of our novels as we are of our children. But there has to be a major difference in the approach to book publishing. It’s a given that if we expose ourselves and our work to John Public, criticism will come.
I don’t think many of us know exactly what we let ourselves in for when we become authors. Are we prepared for the backlash that may come from people who don’t enjoy our style of writing? Can we honestly say our published work is the best it can be? Wouldn’t it be more practical to use reviews as a means of improving on what we’ve produced? In these days of e-publishing, it’s not difficult to do.
What say you?