I can’t speak for every self-published author, but for me, they remain a bane. I want to be humbled by the good ones and learn from the negative, but in truth, they’re slow in coming. I understand. It’s one thing to ask people to read these words and thoughts that have tumbled out of my head, but to expect them to analyze it and put their reactions where everyone else can read may be hoping for too much. Still, reviews are in some sad way, an affirmation of my choice to publish, a reminder that once I make the book public, it is no longer mine and mine alone.
Bearing this in mind, I recently jumped on my old Authonomy account. For those of you who don’t know, Authonomy is a site where would-be authors post their books and other would-be authors read and critique them. The overall hope is the author will place your book on their shelf. The more shelves your book occupies, the higher up in rank it goes, until, eventually, it goes before a board and is critiqued by someone at Harper-Collins. That’s a rather simplified explanation, but the desired result is a book contract, but I never set my goals so high. To me, it was a way to step out of my shell and see if my writing might amuse someone other than myself and the critique group I frequent.
At the time, I only had Ascension and The Four-Year-Old Guardian available. I thought they were ready at the time, but in truth, both books were rather rough. The finished products they are now is a direct result of my time on Authonomy and the lessons I learned there. In any event, as I looked at my profile, I noticed the comments were still there, even though my books have been unavailable for quite some time. As I read through them, I felt a sense of accomplishment, the realization I am a capable writer. I list them below with their username attached (unless I happened to have their real name available). These were not the only comments I received. I tried to eliminate those that were generic and could be applied to anything (“You are a good writer and understand characters”) and also tried to steer away from those that made grammatical advice, even though they proved invaluable.
So, yes, I realize this is rather self-indulgent, but sometimes, a person needs a little confidence boost. If you happen to be amongst those listed here, I hope you don’t mind me using your comments. You’re certainly welcome to use anything I ever wrote regarding your story. Also, if you are amongst those below and are interested in completing Ascension (I haven’t listed comments for FYOG yet), drop me a line and I’d be happy to send you a coupon for a free copy.
“Had no trouble at all getting into this and the shifts in Kharma’s reality were amazingly seamless. Somehow you managed to keep us with and within her through it all, seeing it as she sees it, lost as she is lost.” – BL Phillips
“A very well written, imaginative and interesting story. I like it a lot. I want to know how this turns out and will come back to it later.” -Tim James
“If not for the screen, I would keep reading. My kind of book, my kind of read. Shelved with pleasure. Let me know if you get published, would love a real copy!” -Ginger
“Great opening chapter!! This is not normally my type of read, but I was truly involved throughout the entire first chapter. Your prose is enticing and strong, but also smooth and professional. I really like the mysterious character that nobody but Kharma seems to notice…will have to read further to find out about him.” -Patrick Armstead
“The pitch attracted me to this, but I’m finding that not only do you write smoothly and well, but your characters are interesting people who come alive quickly. The relationship which develops between Kharma and Chance is a pleasure to read about. You plant a number of hooks, making us wonder what it is that Kharma is afraid to reveal, and if Chance will, in fact, change as Kharma fears.” -gillyflower
“Realistic yet simple dialogue, evenly shaped and paced narration and rounded plot development…..I enjoyed the read, I didn’t skim at all….” -paxie
“Ascension is a fast-paced story that drew me in from the start. Your concept of changing realities is innovative and well-executed, and you passed the first test – getting your reader to buy into your worldview – with flying colours. You have a good balance of narrative and dialogue, your characters are vividly depicted and you create different environments with clarity and confidence. I can’t fault this, so the editor gets an easy ride – put your feet up and relax!” -Bob Steele
“Yeah. I really liked this. I don’t know if you’re a man or a woman, but you convinced me with the narrative voice; feminine introspection, but not so much you overkilled me with it. Very well done. You’ve written a dynamic opening scene. The dialogue being the shining light. I especially enjoyed the talk on vegetarian philosophy.” -J. Hamler
“What so good about this is the way you paint a very normal scene, but then you keep introducing little scary bits to unsettle us and keep us on edge: everything is not quite as it seems, and that’s such a powerful hook. The quality of your descriptive passages, and the tension you maintain, is quite superb. You also seem to have a very deep insight into how people think, and what guides their moods and moments of decision. I liked this book a lot, and will return to read more.” -Tony
“This is quite a premise for a Sci-Fi / Fantasy … an unusual take on the multiple universe idea, perhaps … it’s certainly fodder for the imagination as we’re swept along with Kharma into a dizzying array of Nows. Best of all, for me, is the enduring and endearing normality of Kharma. Whatever happens, her good nature and level-headedness keep her anchored. The writing is very accomplished, and the approach of first getting us settled in comfortably before drenching us with cold water, then hot, then cold again, works wonders” -Sly80
“You’d prepared me for surprises, but I was blown away by how many there are. Your opening chapter is well written and takes the reader into the heart of the frantic uncertainty that is blind dating. The sexual conclusion is both expected and thought provoking. In the chapters that follow you pile on the pressure relentlessly until nothing can be taken at face value. This is cleverly done and I found myself “turning virtual pages” with a distinct air of anticipation.” -Jared
“You sure do know how to toss a poor girl around. Perhaps you just don’t like vegetarians? Kharma, poor dear, she had quite a night but even a more memorable morning. As I read I was hoping that Chance was more than a fling. Still don’t know but you have me invested in the story. Not being a Sci Fi reader, right now I don’t know which way is up but I am determined to find out.” -C.P.
“It’s hard to ignore this one. I wasn’t certain it was something I’d be intersted in and to be honest, it’s not something I’d normally read…..that said, I’ve been reading it for the last 45 minutes and it hasn’t let up. Great flow to your writing, solid characters and a good sense of mystery.” -Lockjaw Lipsealed
“Ascension is so full of twists and turns I’m amazed at how you managed to keep it all together, yet have it readable. I’ve looked at the first six chapters and my head is whirling.” -scottkenny
“After chapter one I was ready for a cigarette (not really, I don’t smoke), but decided to start chapter two. So glad I did. This is like a Twlight Zone – only ten times better. Crazy stuff. Love it. So many great things I could say about your writing, but I’ll embarass myself by gushing too much.” -KJKron