Dealing with criticism: the wonderful life of an indie author!

 

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Hello dear constant reader, and a big shout out to all the aspiring authors out there!

My name is Luis Samways, and you may remember me from such books as Stasis and the Frank McKenzie mystery series, among many others (nearly 30 novels!).

I’ve been doing this writing thing for a long while now. And the one thing that I’ve learned from my time at the grindstone is that criticism will be a big part of your career.

It’s been a big part of mine… that’s for sure. 

Let me get one thing straight, first; writing books is difficult. Putting your work out there for others to read is one of the bravest things that anybody can do. Because we all know that when we create something, we made it with the intention of either entertaining somebody, or shining a light on our own personality through the characters in what we’ve just written.

And when somebody comes about and reads your book, then leaves an unfavorable review on Amazon, or any other book website, it can get you a little bit down. Trust me, I know from experience. I myself have received plenty of one-star reviews. Some of them the most scathing put-downs I’ve ever received. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes it feels like I’m back in high school, and I’m the nerd kid that the popular kids use as a punchbag.

That’s what it feels like to get bad reviews. Well, that’s what it feels like at the start. You end up investing so much time in the characters in your books that you begin to lose sight of what really matters. Yes – it would be nice if people were a little bit more gentle when it came to the critical nuances of one’s work, but at the end of the day, all readers are different.

And all of their tastes vary significantly.

To quote that famous saying; one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. And I’m just grateful that my trash can sometimes be viewed as someone’s treasure. That’s the position that I take on critical reviews these days. Obviously, when a book receives an abundance of critical reviews, stating the same things, punctuation, spelling, grammar, or maybe the story wasn’t all that and was missing a few things, then one does need to take the steps to rectify one’s own writing so that it doesn’t occur again.

But then again, you cannot please everybody all of the time. And that’s one thing I have learned greatly from this journey of discovery that we call being a self-published writer in the modern age of the Internet. For a long time, I took all bad reviews to heart. And to be honest, I still do. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t read new reviews when they pop up. I tend to gloss over the good ones because it’s the bad ones that really get me thinking. But that’s normal. It’s normal to be a little neurotic when it comes to one’s own work.

After all, it’s our babies that we put out there into the universe. Our babies are precious to us. And when someone doesn’t like our babies, calls them ugly, stupid, useless and a waste of money, then it can affect our self-esteem. But I’m here to tell you that if I, Luis Samways, can survive the barrages of negativity that has come my way since starting this career of mine, then anybody can.

I’m probably what people would call a polarizing author. My books tend to split opinion down the middle. Some people love it, and some people hate it. But, and this is a big but, people are talking about my work. And that’s what counts. Because that’s half the battle when it comes to becoming a writer. Getting people to recognize you, your work, and what you stand for. Sure, I’d love to be universally loved and adored like George RR Martin, but at the end of the day, some things just aren’t meant to be.

So if I had any advice for you aspiring authors out there, it is this: grow a thick skin. Because you are going to need it. The world is a cold and unforgiving place. And the Internet is -100° of ice-cold digs, digs that get under your skin and make you question whether or not you are doing the right thing. But that’s a good thing. It’s good to always be kept on the tip of your toes.

I know plenty of indie authors that get better reviews than me, but they lag in the sales charts. Why? Because there are people out there that don’t feel strongly about their work. And feeling strongly about an author’s work doesn’t necessarily only mean that you like their work. To feel strongly about an author’s work in a negative light is also a good thing. Because it starts a conversation. A conversation between readers. A conversation that you are the subject of.

And there’s nothing better than seeing fans of your work defend you against your detractors. But also, there’s nothing better than seeing your detractors rip you to shreds, just to see your ever faithful readers assemble for the good fight, ready to defend your faults and flaws.

So, if I’m ever to give any advice other than just getting a thick skin to any authors out there, I’d like to also add this to the table: it’s a good idea to embrace what you are. Embrace your faults and your flaws. Embrace what people say about you. And learn from the mistakes that you make. That’s what I did, and that’s what many before me have done.

We don’t have to deal with rejection letters anymore from the publishers and gatekeepers. But, rejection still exists. And it exists within the bowels of Amazon’s review system. So one needs to come to terms with that fact. And once you do come to terms with the truth, then and only then can you enjoy your life as a writer.

Because it’s a tough one. And it can be a lonely one. But it’s also fulfilling one. It’s a life where you can bring joy and anger to a bunch of voracious readers on the Internet. And in return for that anger and that joy, you can get paid handsomely for your efforts. But it’s not only about the money. It’s about knowing that you tried your best, and made something that was worth making. Even if in the long run, a few people disagree with your creative decisions.

Keep on fighting the good fight people. Keep on following your dreams. And above all, keep on writing.

Luis out.

Productivity in the workplace

Hello everybody,

Luis Samways here, uber best-selling crime author (maybe not uber, but at least semi-uber), and I’m here with another blog post! I kept my word guys, this is my second blog post in a week! Not, a month or a year, but a week! Out of all my achievements as an author (uber status being one of them), I am more proud of the fact that I am managing to actually write a blog post! Sounds silly doesn’t it? But you’d understand where I’m coming from if you spent as much time surfing the internet as I do when in reality I’m supposed to be slamming words down on the page so I can keep my deadline, or Amazon takes away my pre-order capability for a year! (Wow, that was a long sentence, good job my editor cant see it or she’d be charging me double!)

Anyway, I suppose we should get to the meat and potatoes of this post. I’m here to talk about productivity and how, if you’re like me, can you knuckle down and get some work done? Also at the end of this post, I’ll give you faithful readers a quick update on which books of mine are out and what’s coming next.

So, five tips on productivity. Bullet point style!

  • Turn the damn internet off whilst you are working on your books, or like me, you’ll end up updating your blog when you should really be hammering down some storytelling bro!
  • Give yourself a target and hit that target. Be it 1000 words, 2000 words or even 5000 words. (I try and hit 3000 words a day. But in the end, what matters is that you’re writing, so any target reached is something to be happy about!
  • When you’re stuck and get writers block, don’t switch on YouTube to watch cat videos, instead read something that will inspire you!
  • Don’t spend half the day checking your KDP account for sales, borrows, or freebies. I do it all the time and it’s silly.
  • At the end of a hard writing session treat yourself with something nice. If that’s watching a movie or playing some PlayStation (I play games to wind down). You need to reward yourself for your hard work. No need in burning the batteries out and having no fun!

So there’s my tips for productivity today. You never know, might make this into a series, go a little deeper. I would stay and chat some more, but I have work to do and just realised that the 500 words I used to write this post could have gone into Wide Awake!

But as promised, here’s a quick update on what’s out from me and what’s coming next.

JUST RELEASED (WELL, SORT OF)

15 SIGNS OF MURDER – my new boxed set on kindle. Has fifteen of my books in it. It’s quite massive and is available for 99 cents. If you’ve read any of my other boxed sets (including 12 Rounds) then you would have read a few of the books in 15 signs of murder. Bear in mind though, even if you’ve read 12 rounds and haven’t picked up any of my other books, then 15 Signs of murder contains three novels to read with a saving of five bucks compared to buying those novels separately! I’d say that’s a good deal!

Update on progress on Wide Awake:

I’m 30k ish words in and am feeling it. This one is a bit of a slow-burner. Not used to building suspense, but I hope it comes out well and people enjoy it! I should hit the target no problem, but I’m thinking this one might fall shy of 200 pages. I cant force content if it isn’t there. Hopefully people wont notice!

Anything else?

Nah not really. Peace be with you and I’ll catch you soon. Don’t forget to check out my website if you’re accessing this blog on luissamwayscentral!

Peace!

Links:

15 Signs Of Murder US

15 Signs Of Murder UK

My Amazon.com author page

My Amazon.co.uk author Page

Wide Awake Pre-Order US

Wide Awake Pre-Order UK

www.luissamways.com