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Ah, the interesting writing life and reviews from Emma Wildes

Last June I went to a conference given by Lori Foster in Cincinnati. It was a benefit for a battered women’s shelter. The authors who attended gave away baskets and books in a raffle, signed books one afternoon, and several big agents and publishers were there for appointments. All of it a lot of fun and in a good cause. There was even someone who gave me a button she’d made that said “I’m Emma’s biggest fan” . All right, all right, I have to admit I loved that.

But, I digress. The best part of the whole thing for me was that I went with a group of book reviewers. I’d never met any of them before, but this site has reviewed my books and two of them live only an hour away or so from me (another flew in from Alaska and one came from Maryland) and when they asked if I’d like to go, I decided…well, all right. Sure. How nice. They picked me up at my house and off we went.

It was a very enlightening experience. These ladies were very forthcoming about how they review books. These are fans extraordinaire. I really don’t think I’ve ever seen such passion over books and reading. One of them told me she had previously spent literally hundreds of dollars a month on books and her husband was thrilled she was now a reviewer.

Well, I’d guess so.

I was outnumbered, so I stayed kind of in the background as they talked shop, and talk shop they did. All conversations were about books, authors (it matters how gracious you are, by the way) and different publishing houses. This site reviews everything from the big New York guns to the small e-pubs, and I was amazed at how they were not star-struck by a name. Just give them a good book. They were ruthless as they discussed different works, but I must say, fair.

Another revelation? One of them told me how she gave a book she absolutely loved a lower rating and it broke her heart but…the hero never said I love you to the heroine. What? That’ll do you in? I did a quick mental check in panic . It wasn’t something I’d ever really considered had to be. Interesting. Hmm.

I think what I walked away from that experience with was a very different look at what I do everyday when I sit down to the keyboard and start tapping. I’m awed someone is waiting to read it.

And they’ll think about it. Love it or hate it. Muse over it. It’s in the end only one person’s opinion, but without that passion, where would we be as writers?

And can you believe it; with all those options at their fingertips…they still buy books.

Bless them.



Ashley Ladd said...

It's always enlightening and educational to hear different points of view.

On another note, I'm signed up to attend Lori Foster's event this summer. I'm from Cincinnati and I'm lucky to get home every two or three years to see my dad and family. Since I have a day job with limited vacation time, I combined my visit this year - so I get to see my dad and go to a romance writers'/readers' conference. I can't wait. Are you going again?

Lisabet Sarai said...

I am a regular reviewer for several erotica sites. It's a difficult job, especially when I have to review work by someone that I know personally from writers lists or other contacts. I feel that it's essential to be honest. If there's a problem with a book, I need to comment on it. On the other hand, I don't want to break someone's heart or ruin her career! I have to walk a fine line.

Also - I try to separate my own tastes from the objective aspects of the book, though this can be a challenge. I have reviewed books that personally didn't grab me, yet I could imagine that they would be just the thing for someone else. Different strokes, as they say.

Nevertheless, it seems a bit arbitrary to me that a reviewer would downgrade her rating just because of a missing "I love you".