What To Do About Bad Reviews?

What To Do About Bad Reviews?

I have been very blessed that so far I have had only one bad review. Some authors have had more than that, but no matter how many you get it hurts.

So what do you do about bad reviews?

A few years back I received such a review about the novel Perished. Sandwiched between 4 star and 5 star reviews it still offended me. Did I write a nasty letter to the reviewer? Did I erase the review from Amazon?

No, and no. The worst mistake you can make is to remove a negative review. Actually a negative review highlights the positive reviews. Readers will see that lonely negative review and also the positive reviews. And most will rightly decide something was wrong with the reviewer.

The young man reviewing my book actually pointed out the problem in his review. He admitted that he didn’t finish the book. Then he proceeded to tell his reasons for not finishing the book.

And this is where anyone who read the book would immediately know the problem. He not only didn’t read the book to the finish, he jumped around. His main complaint was that some of the characters did not remain true to their characterization at the beginning. I spotted this immediately.

One of the problems with writing historical fiction is that some of the characters in the book are drawn from actual historical accounts. In the case of Perished I was writing about actual Biblical events and people which required the use of real names.

Sometimes these names were identical to others. So it was possible to have two or more characters with the same name. Now if the reader is following the story as it was written, it is easy to determine which character is front and center. But if you jump around, never a good idea, then you could easily get confused as to which character you are reading about.

So the review was not only a bad rating (2 stars), but it was a poor review in approach and content. One side of me wanted to write him and point out his failings, but I didn’t do that. Why?

Because doing so is not good form. Most writers and teachers of writing will warn you not to criticize the reviewer. It simply offends others.

So I bit my tongue, metaphorically speaking, and left the review there. As I stated earlier it highlights the 4 and 5 star reviews. It becomes a plus and eventually helps the marketing.

Another response though is to take that negative review and ask yourself questions. In this case I asked myself if I could have done a better job of identifying which character was present? Most of the time the answer to that question is yes.

It’s possible that I could have eliminated certain characters and used alternate or even fictional characters instead. Sometimes when complaints come you can rewrite the book or at least certain scenes. The principle here is to treat negative reviews as a learning experience.

You can also treat good reviews the same way. Sometimes a reviewer may point out an error or a problematic tendency in the book even though they gave the book 5 stars. Once again you can take that and turn it into a learning experience.

Which brings me to another point or principle: leaving the negative review in place can serve as a reminder to you (or me) that you can’t please all the people. So don’t take it personally. Instead try to turn it into a positive learning experience both in marketing and in writing. Such an attitude will improve you as a writer.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

 

 

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I Will Show Forth All Thy … Works

I Will Show Forth All Thy … Works

The last part of Psalm 9:1 relates well to one of my favorite verses that inspires my writing, Psalm 71:18b, “until I have shown thy strength unto this generation.”(KJV). Here’s all of Psalm 9:1:

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works” (KJV).

Speaking as a Christian author these verses speak volumes to me. Since I believe God called and enabled me to write I feel it is important that my writings reflect His will, plans, and strength. You might say it makes sense since I write novels based on the Bible. But it would be true no matter what I wrote. For example, my novel Dead Eye Will is based on American history not Biblical. But I still wanted to honor God.

I think it can be safely said that authors like Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, and a host of Christian authors would be like-minded. The truth is that Christian authors are a cut above the average author. Don’t get me wrong, I am not speaking of talent or even smarts. I am talking about that when a professing Christian endeavors to do anything he/she is representing God. That puts a special burden upon us.

How we react to that burden or perhaps I should call it a challenge will impact how well we perform. And the burden doesn’t guarantee success. It is simply a challenge that affects how we approach writing whether it’s a novel or non-fiction.

This principal affects whatever a Christian does, whether a plumber, artist, teacher, CEO, laborer, or whatever. God expects us to put forth our very best and when we do, we reflect His works and His strength. It is our motivation. Because of what He did for us, we want to please Him and to tell others about Him.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

When I consider Thy heavens

When I consider Thy heavens

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

This passage is deep with a rich supply of theology and application. But I want to zoom in on the first part: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.

The pride of men is such that they see all the handiwork of God, but refuse to believe that it was created by God. That view has pervaded our schools, government, and some churches. But the truth is that God is the Creator!

As a Christian author I have more than one motive for writing. Like all novelists I write to entertain, but I also have a Christian  motive: Psalm 71:18b, “until I have shown thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”

I don’t know what your motive is, but I imagine that assuming you’re a Christian you want to be a witness and to influence people for Christ. That doesn’t mean your book(s) have to preach or present the gospel, but it does mean that your book(s) should reflect your Christian beliefs.

As an example, I write historical fiction, primarily Biblical, while my wife is writing her first novel which is a mystery aimed at teens and adults. My Biblical books are based on actual events recorded in the Bible, whereas my wife’s novel will reflect modern living. In other words, we are writing for two entirely different genres.

Let’s get back to my books. My writings explore the relationships man has had with the Creator. Since my books are based on actual events they also include actual people some of which are good and some bad. Exploring this relationship excites me. It takes me deeper into God’s Word, which not only benefits the books but it benefits my own spiritual journey.

The worship of the Creator has been and still is a foundational doctrine for the Christian faith. Only the Creator has the right to be worshiped. Not only that but He has the right to demand our obedience to His will! He didn’t create us and then walk away. Every day He watches us and takes pleasure in us when we do His will. And I find that to be a blessing and an encouragement rather than a threat.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

How I Wrote Perished Part II

How I Wrote Perished Part II

Back in July I wrote Part I about writing Perished. I had intended to write Part II before now but got a little sidetracked by other projects. I did write about Noah, but Part II is actually about the research involved in writing the novel.

Research is almost a dirty word, but it is necessary for both the non-fiction and fiction writer. For a novel to connect with the reader it needs to have actual facts. I use two methods of relating the facts:

  • To tell pertinent facts before and after the story (such as seen in the World of Noah and the Ark).
  • To include facts within the story (a practice I use in all my novels).

But how did I get the facts?

There are a number of ways.

  • Read the Bible accounts (assuming your book is based on the Bible).
  • Read history books.
  • Do a deep internet search.
  • Use logic based on historical facts.

If you are writing about the Bible it is obvious that you need to spend a great deal of time in the Bible. In the case of Perished I not only spent time in the Book of Genesis but I used other books in the Old Testament and New Testament that related to the subject. That required a great deal of time and effort.

The second item mentioned was reading history books. Not cover to cover but selecting those portions dealing with the subject. Depending on how many books you research this could take some time.

The third thing mentioned was do a deep internet search. By deep internet search I simply mean using search engines, such as Google, to search out the subject and find relevant resources. But a word of caution. While the internet is a rich source of information there is also false information. For example, there are sites that are anti-Bible. Some are self-proclaimed, but there are others who are more subtle. So you must be discerning. Find reliable resources such as Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. There are others but these are extremely reliable.

But it is the fourth item I want to spend some time on. While the Bible is true and accurate it only relates information that God wanted us to know. The whole purpose of the Bible is to show us our sin and need for a Saviour and that Christ is that Saviour. So it only relates the historical facts needed.

When writing Perished I ran into a big obstacle. While the Bible gives us a lot of facts about the world existing before the Flood, it doesn’t break it down for us. Added to this is the lack of secular history, especially anything reliable. A good example of unreliable secular history is the history of Egypt. If you want to spend a day or so struggling to put it all together try understanding Egyptian history in the light of world history. Very difficult.

So I was faced with a big unknown. I knew that the people from Adam to Noah were very intelligent and built cities, but I had no historical proof. That gap has been filled by man with evolution, which is strictly theoretical, unproven, and contrary to the Bible.

So how did I resolve this issue?

Let me give you a challenge: Find a history book that you think is reliable and start reading from known history beginning with Nimrod and other world leaders. Study the civilization that existed. Take a look at the:

  • Government.
  • Arts.
  • Industry.
  • Warfare.
  • and more.

I think you’d agree it was a very developed society. Now take a look at the preceding civilization. Evolution teaches eons of time, yet there is no real evidence that conclusively shows evolution. Instead there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm, which we know was the Flood. So we arrive at a question: How did mankind go from a caveman society to a sophisticated society? Or, Biblically speaking, how did the world recover from the worldwide Flood which destroyed everything to a sophisticated society?

We are speaking of a 300 to 500 year time span. How is that possible? Well, logic tells us that it is impossible for that degree of sophistication to develop in such a short time from virtually nothing. BUT if Noah brought the knowledge over the Flood to the new world then everything falls into place!

And that opens up a window into the past!

It occurred to me that if I looked closely at the first 300-500 years after the Flood I had a window into what the previous civilization was like. While scientists never seem to consider such a fact, the movie industry easily adopted it. The movies I have watched, anyway, have shown a society that was quite sophisticated. Not because the industry believed the Bible, but because they had to use what they knew.

So when studying the ancient past prior to the Flood we have a window that shows us what that world was like before it was destroyed. And thereby I was able to construct that world within the pages of Perished.

Which is what research is all about. Now most of the time research isn’t so complicated. But it is needed! When someone buys a novel they want to be entertained, but they also want the world it takes place in to be accurate, true, and with some detail.

When I wrote Dead Eye Will, which took place during and after the War of 1812, I had to do a lot of research. Since most of the story took place in Ohio, Michigan, and portions of Canada I had quite a lot of research. But once again it involved three items – reading history, deep internet research, and logic.

Is it worth it?

My answer is as follows: By far most of the readers have rated my books 4 and 5 stars. One of the reasons was that I brought the story alive. The reader was able to enter the world and almost participate in it. And that is what any author wants!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

And God saw…it was very good

And God saw…it was very good

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen. 1:31

The Book of Genesis is the foundational book of the Bible. It is the only reliable source we have on the creation of the world. God created a world where there was no sin and no death. It was a perfect world.

And within that world He created Adam and Eve. In fact, He created Adam before He created the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7-8). Within the Garden He created Eve (Woman) from Adam’s side (Gen. 2:21-23). We have an amazing God who created a perfect world with perfect people.

Then of course there came sin. That was man’s contribution.

Fortunately human science is beginning to catch up to the Bible. While it still stubbornly adheres to evolution, it has made discoveries that not only disprove or weaken their theory but also adds information to the Biblical account which we didn’t know.

You may have heard of the supercontinent Pangaea. But did you know they now believe it was the second and last supercontinent and that it was underwater? That’s right. They now believe it was formed during and under the Flood. Further, it is believed it may have lasted only weeks or months.

So what was before Pangaea? Rodinia! Russian for “mother earth” it is believed to be the original supercontinent. Evolutionists don’t believe that, instead they say there were probably previous supercontinents. But there is no evidence supporting such a theory.

Thus, the Garden of Eden was placed within Rodinia. When Rodinia broke up and became Pangaea it then broke into seven continents. It is easy to understand why human skeletons may be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, or some island. Scientists like to complicate things (it makes them seem more important), but even a child would understand this fact. The world likes to say that the Bible says the Garden was in Mesopotamia, and then tear it apart noting inconsistencies.

But when you understand geologic history through the lens of the Bible you can see that the similarities of names of pre-Flood and post-Flood geography are likely the result of Noah and his descendants naming things after the world they had known. By the way, we still do that today. We move to a new area, start a town, city or street and name it after something we left behind. It’s human nature.

In writing Perished I blended the Biblical account with the latest scientific findings. Obviously I used the Biblical account as the primary and science as only supplemental. Why? Because the Bible remains the same (in spite of attempts to alter it) while science is constantly changing. Take evolution for example. Compare today’s version with that of a 100 years ago. Vast changes!

As a foundation book to the Bible Genesis provides both a spiritual and practical bedrock for our understanding of the need for salvation and many other doctrines. In fact, the entire Bible rests upon Genesis. That is why atheistic evolutionists attack Genesis. If they could knock it out, it would disrupt the rest of Scripture. But although they have tried countless times, they have always and will always fail.

Unfortunately we will have to wait until the millennium (1000 year rule of Christ) to ever see the world as it was meant to be. In fact, we really won’t see it in pristine beauty until the New Earth.

The novel Perished has consistently received four and five star reviews. One reason is because it sticks closely to the Biblical account. It’s the story behind the story, or “the rest of the story.” It is available in both print and eBook. And it is available through Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords, and other fine sites. If you enjoy the book I invite you to post your review on the site where you purchased it or at least on Amazon. I’d be thrilled to hear from you at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

5 STAR REVIEW OF PERISHED

5 STAR REVIEW OF PERISHED

The following review was posted by a reader on Amazon. (http://amzn.to/2u1Y409)

This book was like a dialogue to the bible. I could feel and hear each character…they became life like or real to me in the way the author pended their various responses and reactions to their unique situations. My favourite chapters were 44 and 45, where Queen Esther expressed her love for both men. The one she was in love with before she was ordered to marry the King-something she became willing to do and her now established love,for the King-something that obviously grew with time. I also loved the King’s reaction upon his death bed in that he now entrusted the life of his soon to be widowed wife back to the man with whom she was previously in love. I loved how she displayed faithfulness and trust in a most uncertain time in her life..a time when her daughter-in-law was seeking to take her place as Queen. This gives a fresh feel to the bible and is a real eye opener. I will definitely be looking out for book 2.

As noted above the link to this book on Amazon.com is http://amzn.to/2u1Y409.