Constructive and Destructive Criticism

We all like getting feedback, don’t we? Part of the purpose of blogging is being able to interact with people who share our interests and passions. Is it inevitable that we eventually encounter someone whose sole purpose seems to be to cause trouble? Probably. It’s happened to me and I know it’s happened to a few of my friends. I was recently a witness to a really nasty exchange in a writers’ forum on another social media site. An editor felt it her duty to denigrate someone who had made grammatical errors in a comment thread. That’s right, a comment. The conversation that followed was the equivalent of a verbal brawl. However, the writers who came to the defense of the error prone commenter made a compelling argument on her behalf.

The consensus among the writers was this: that we should not be held to the same standards for informal writing and commenting that we would be for our professional endeavors. This may or may not include your blog, depending on the type of blog you have. It should be obvious, but for a writer, the highest standards of grammar and punctuation should apply. It is, after all, your author platform. On the other hand, if you’re just blogging for fun, then it’s not as critical.

Nevertheless, if you are serious about becoming a writer, you must endeavor to use good grammar and punctuation. No agent or publisher is going to take you seriously if you submit sloppy work for publication. There are software programs, books and guides readily available to help you improve your grammar and punctuation. They are not that expensive, trust me. I picked up a copy of the classic: “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk for 99 cents on Kindle.

Back to the negative feedback… How does one react? Fortunately with WordPress, comments on our own blogs can be held for moderation, edited by the site author and deleted if they are really offensive. But what if you could tell that the counsel was given with good intentions? It is a sincere effort to correct a glaring error. Yet there it is in the comment thread, shining the light of disapproval on your hard work. Perhaps you could thank the commenter, make the correction and explain that you will delete the exchange after the fact.

However, on the part of the one making the critique, is it necessary to correct mistakes in public at all? What good does that do except embarrass the one who made the mistake? Is making the correction that important to you? Then perhaps find a way to do it privately. Ask yourself what your purpose is in making the correction. Do you really want to make sure the misconception or confusion is cleared up or are you just out to make yourself look smarter? Have you heard the expression “Would you rather be right or kind?” Think about it. Then do the right thing.

It’s a mean, mean world. We don’t need to contribute to it.

It’s Here! My New Book: Time To Lie!

Great news from my pal, Phil Taylor. His new book is out and its sure to be fantastic. I will be hosting Phil for an interview soon. Meanwhile, if you don’t already follow Phil, make sure to visit his highly entertaining blog!

The Phil Factor

This is the most excited I’ve been about anything in quite a while! Now available for Kindle, I’m proud to present…

Time to Lie

The truth is just the lie we’ve chosen to believe, and yours may be different than mine.

Remember that time you dated that complete nutcase and said to yourself, I wish Future Me would have come back and warned me about this. Remember when you and your drunk friends said, If it’s such a bad idea, someone would come back from the future and stop us, right before it blew up in your face and got you in trouble? It would be great to have someone from the future to guide your life, wouldn’t it?

Landon Bridges’ life hasn’t always been perfect, but now he’s in college and determined to make a fresh start and transform himself from high school geek to college chic…well less geeky…

View original post 184 more words

The First Novel – A new direction

It has been a tumultuous couple of months. Despite some upsets, much good has come of them. Taking a break from blogging made me realize how much effort and time I had been devoting to thinking up new material to post about. I have been distracted from my primary goal: writing and publishing novels.

In redirecting my efforts, I realized I almost need to start over in this process. Four of my novels in The Bucks County Series are published on Amazon. The fifth is in the hands of my beta readers —that one can sit on the back burner for the time being. So far self publishing has proven to be less than successful. Why? Because all the marketing and promotion fall back on the author. I have neither the time or the stomach for it.

And that is how I fell into the trap of blogging on nearly a daily basis. I love writing —that is what I want to do. I was telling myself that a popular blog would help me to promote my books. That hasn’t happened. Granted, I’m also not hitting the reader in the face with book promotion every time I write a post. That’s how timid I am about marketing. What I need is someone to do the marketing for me.

Back in early 2015, when I finished my first novel, I tried finding an agent but my fragile ego couldn’t take rejection. After only six tries, I gave up and self published through Amazon. That is not how it works. Many popular and successful authors have been rejected numerous times —sometimes for years before an agent finally agrees to represent them to a publisher. I need to brace myself for this possibility and not let it derail my process.

I also realized that my self published novels need to be the very best they can be. If an agent is even remotely interested in your query and the first five pages you send along with it, they are going to look for you in the cyber world. They will find your Facebook Author Page, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, LinkdIn, and WordPress blog. They will find your Amazon and Goodreads Author Pages. They will see that I have four self published novels. These need to be ready for view —even a brief one.

With that in mind, I have revisited my first novel: Three Empty Frames.  Three Empty Frames_02_HR_front_2In three years since I wrote the first draft of this book, I have learned so much. Fortunately, I feel like the story is strong and it’s just the writing that needs polish. And that is what I have been doing the last couple of months —putting my efforts into making Three Empty Frames ready for an agent. And while I do, I am educating myself on the query process, taking webinars on finding an agent and reading everything I can about how to do this successfully. Hopefully I won’t have to wait years for someone to take a chance.