First, a quick pointer to a useful freebie. Writing Romance Novellas is a short Smashwords ebook by romance author, Susanna Carr. Very short, and to the point, packed with plenty of information for the beginning romance writer. It’s also an excellent example of self-promotion. That’s not a dig. If you can offer something of real value and promote yourself at the same time, that’s two birds with one stone.
Sad realization: personal recommendations of genre novels are not a good basis for spending money. I’ve learned, the hard way, that the majority of novels in some genres, such as male/male romance, are unoriginal and poorly written. My stories are usually about male relationships, but aren’t romances in any normal sense of the word. So I’ve been trying to find novels that might be along the same lines: original themes, depth of characterization, and sex, if any, as subordinate to the central plot. You’d think that a dozen or more favorable reviews, plus a sample from the publisher, would give me a pretty good idea of whether a book is worth dipping into my limited book fund.
You’d think. And you’d be wrong. Reccer A loves it because of the characters. Reccer B loves it for the plot. But what it always boils down to is that they really love it for the sex. And the hotter the sex, the more favorable the review. What they don’t care about or don’t even notice, is the terrible writing. And believe me, if the publisher is smart, they’re going to pick the most alluring snippet for the sample. The snippet with no clumsy sentence construction, laughable vocabulary, or comma and other punctuation errors.
So there’s the book, paid for, downloaded, and waiting for me to inhale it like perfume. And what I find is something so wretchedly awful that only the fact of having paid for the damned thing compels me to read the whole thing before I delete it. Proving once again, that real literacy is hard to find and there should be a “Reader, beware” sign in front of every personal recommendation.
Current work: final editing of Boundaries. I wrote it in Arial 18 and have now switched to Times 24. In full-page mode, the type is even larger. If you’re doing your own proof reading and editing, I can’t recommend anything more useful than changing from your usual font to a new one, preferably serif, and drastically increasing the type size. A size that’s useful for writing or for regular reading can easily hide typos and punctuation errors.
I’m going to be posting a page about my Smashwords reviews. How I choose books to review, standards for rating, and disclosure about affiliate links.