Galvanize

Let’s get galvanized

This is a cool word with several definitions. Today I want to take advantage of them.

We’ll take the second one first. I like this word to describe authors. We are all vulnerable when we share our first work with someone. Our parents like it, and we breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe a close friend says he/she likes it. Then it becomes time to share it with strangers.

Maybe you join a critique group, like I did. Maybe you hire someone to edit it, or take on a mentor. You’re about to get galvanized. We have to hear critical things and learn from them. It’s the only way we get better. This protective layer is best applied here. You don’t want your first experience to be in the form of a review.

My critique group is brutal. We all treat each other the same way, and we get along well. We’re all better writers than when we started. We’re all properly galvanized.

I encourage all writers to get this kind of feedback. I still get bruised from time to time, but my protective layer is building up. Yours will too. I’m sure I delivered a bruise or two in my day as well. (But it was all handled face to face, and I didn’t blog about them.)

Now let’s deal with the first definition.

Reviews are the author’s lifeblood. This is even more important for the indie authors out there. I vow to post reviews of the books I read from now on. It’s easy to move on to the next project, but Amazon prompts me at the end of every book. It’s pretty easy to add a couple of lines right then and there. Reviews don’t have to be long or extremely detailed.

My goal is to galvanize you into action. Nobody likes to get trashed in a review. It happens, but we can say critical things without being mean to one another. We can also enjoy a book without gushing to the point that it looks like a fake. There is a reason for the stars between one and five.

For myself, there are blog followers who said they enjoyed my books, but I’ve never seen a review. Do authors watch? You bet we do. I know of one Wild Concept, three Panama’s, and one Arson who’ve dropped me a comment or line. All of these folks said they enjoyed the stories. (The Cock of the South is still on a lot of reading lists, and it’s too new.)

For myself, I’m posting reviews from now on. I haven’t always done it, and I’ve never posted one for a traditionally published book. That all changes today. I’m a big believer in walking the walk. Won’t you join me?

Let’s recap:

  1. Writers should seek out critical feedback, and start building up that protective layer.
  2. Readers should consider leaving reviews. They are what allows writers to keep writing.

PS: Okay, there is a third definition. It involves electricity and muscle tissue. I left off twitching frog’s legs and Frankenstein on purpose, but you can talk about them in the comments.

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21 Comments

Filed under Writing

21 responses to “Galvanize

  1. Agree! One of the things I enjoy the most in interacting with writers – both by blogging and through my writer’s group is that we can galvanize each other. 🙂 It’s a beautiful thing…encouraging others. 🙂

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  2. I’m always getting galvanized by my CP, but I know her heart is in the right place. It’s crucial for our growth as writers. What a cute post! I know, I know, guys don’t DO “cute”. How about… brilliant!

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  3. CPs and critique groups are the best part of a writer’s arsenal IMO. Not only are other writers able to provide constructive feedback but they understand the challenges authors face.

    I also agree with you about reviews. I review 98% of the books I read on Amazon and GR. The ones I don’t review are because they’re under 3 stars and I hate going there. As you said…it only takes a couple words/sentences to make a review, but it helps the author tremendously!

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    • Both ideas were on my mind, and it just seemed like the word fit. I’m going to be better about posting reviews myself. I agree with the negativity position too. Sometimes I don’t finish a book, and it isn’t fair to review it.

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  4. I’m not crazy about writing reviews for books. It’s especially easy to write a good review of a book I’ve loved, but it’s hard to write a review for a book I didn’t enjoy. If I don’t like it, I just click 2-3 stars. I am a bad reader. I always assume my criticism won’t be helpful — I mean, they’re not going to re-write the book for me, and other people liked it, so…

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    • I think clicking on stars qualifies. It’s one reader’s opinion. Kind of like an appraisal. Ask two different appraisers to look at a property, and you’ll get two different values. (But they’re usually pretty close.)

      I respect a reader’s opinion more than one who holds him/herself out as a critical reviewer. If you think of films, some of the best ones sell tons of tickets to the masses, but never win the major awards.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Charles Lominec

    Totally agree with the reviews. I like the formula I learned in college: What did the book try to accomplish? Did it accomplish that? Why/Why not? What were your thoughts?

    How do people in critique groups find time to work on their own projects, read published works for their own enrichment, balance other life responsibilities, and have time to read a WIP to provide feedback? I can’t, in good conscious, ask someone to take time to read my WIP and provide a critique if I’m unable to reciprocate.

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    • It gets tough sometimes. What comes around goes around, and you have to make time. My group consists of 5 guys. We are limited to 3K words per month each. Then there is that whole life thing that takes time too.

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    • Jim Lambert

      I’m in Craig’s critique group, and three others. Two are very lightweight: one is really just a writer’s group, the other is meet-once-a-month-read-aloud-for-five-to-seven-minutes. The other two are both heavy commitments that sometimes cut deep into sleep time (since work is off-limits). And sometimes my WIP suffers. But it’s worth it to get good feedback on what you do write, and it’s also worth it to do those beta-reads for the people you meet in those groups. I’ve been beta-reader on some fine work: Cock of the South, Confession (by my friend Troy Lambert [no relation]), Pure of Heart (an excellent werewolf story still going through editing). All well worth my time and effort, even if it cuts into other projects. And when my WIP is ready, these are people I feel good about asking, based both on their knowledge/experience/expertise and my time spent paying-it-forward.

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  6. There is a writing group in Cavan, but it meets on a night when my boys play soccer and rugby… guess who comes last on the priority list?

    I always review Indie books. Trad dont usually need it. I select my books carefully, so I rarely find myself with a book I cant be positive about. I dont want to waste my precious time reading books I dont like! Once I gave a 2* review which really upset the author. I didnt post it on Amazon. I am mindful that I am messing with someones book-baby, I dont want to hurt feelings if they poured their heart and soul into it.

    Personally, I think theres no such thing as bad publicity. Everyone loves reading the bad reviews! Not only are they entertaining, but they usually say more about the reviewer than the book.

    In the end, readers make up their own mind. They trust the opinion of a valued friend, not a bitter mean spirited random stranger.

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    • I agree with you so much. I’ve seen some of the bad reviews floating around. They say more about the reviewer. I also feel bad that you come last. I’m going to do better this year, and will even post one for Jim Butcher after I finish my current reading.

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  7. GULP! I’m a little afraid not that I sent you a book. 😉 Yes, I agree with everything you said, frog’s legs not withstanding. I will soon be leaving a Panama review and so will my sister. (I got Michelle to turn off the TV for a while. We’re almost done.)

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  8. Growing a thick skin is something you…well…you grow it each time you get a critique. I had a few reviewer beta read ItS for me, one lady ….wow! That’s all I can say about her review.

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