Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fast Promotions and Reviews

I've been fortunate to get quite a few really good reviews (and a couple not so good).  It's always interesting to see how people react to things differently.  I'd probably never read reviews, but I do like to get an idea of what readers think...for obvious reasons, of course, but also because in the end I write for readers.  If I think something is good, but the readers in my genre don't like it, I want to know why.  I think it is good for my growth as a writer.  Sometimes you have something in your head, but if it's not getting through to readers you need to change how you deliver the message.

I don't comment on reviews, not ever.  Honestly, that is not a place for me...it's for readers and potential readers.  If I posted a review and suddenly found myself sparring with the writer, I'd be creeped out.  I aspire to be a lot of things, but creepy isn't one of them.  If a reader wants to interact with me, he or she can easily do it on this blog or by email (address in all my books).  I get a lot of mail from readers and always enjoy the interaction.  But I don't invade the review space or harass my readers to write reviews.  If you do, I am always appreciative of the effort, but that is as far as it goes.

One frequent comment in the reviews for Marines is that Cain gets promoted very quickly.  That is true, no question.  In reviewing these comments I have come to realize that I didn't communicate the situation quite as well as I would have liked.  The book covers a period where the Marine Corps is massively expanding, increasing its numbers to face the new realities of warfare on the growing frontier.  In my mind as I was writing, I was imagining a time like the American Civil War, where a massive mobilization threw the normal schedules out the window.  Mid-level officers found themselves commanding armies in a very short period.  In reading the reviews and looking back, I wish I had emphasized the growth of the Corps a bit more. 

Nothing enormously important, but a good example of why writers need to listen to readers, something I always intend to do.