Had A Moment

Hubby and I were talking about the current sales numbers and results of my Amazon ad. I’m being all excited about those number and how it was impacting my rankings and all of those things. He says something, and I can’t honestly remember what exactly. Something about how he hopes that might translate into reviews I think. Anyway, that was the moment the numbers fell away and I realized those numbers also meant people READING my book. Like actual eyes on the words I wrote. And that they paid money to read those words.

It was kind of like walking into a swarm of bees. I felt like my heart stuttered for a moment and I couldn’t decide if I I was going to laugh or cry or vomit.

It’s really weird. I know, logically, that people that purchase my book are reading it. I’ve had some of you guys not only read it but tell me you did and what you thought, but… I kind of know you so I guess it was different? Maybe? Same thing with people that have or are reading it for review somehow seem to fall into a very different group because I’ve said “Hey, would you mind doing this? Oh, and here’s a copy! THANKS!”

The whole realization just hit me funny and I have spent the last couple of hours with my head a bit of a mess. I’m excited and freaked out and slightly panicky all at the same time.

So, I’m having a bit of a moment and working towards breathing. I’m mostly past it, but every once in a while when I really stop and think about it, my stomach flips over again and my heart feels like it is going to fall out of my chest. I’ll do my best to keep the gore off the screen.

 

This Is A Joke, Right???

I was trying to do some research to come up with some good book club questions for my reader and this… ad? Joke? Thing? showed up. Yes, someone actually published that and it doesn’t look like a joke. People are just weird. Oh and that cover? Can you get any creepier and and freaky? Yes. I’m sure you can. No. I don’t want to see it.

Can I Just Say…

When I see someone posting about being born in the late ’90s, knowing they are a functioning adult, my brain sort of cramps and I get a little twitch in the corner of my eye. OC was born in the late ’90s, so this kind of statement makes me feel incredibly old knowing I have a kid that technically falls into that same category. It really doesn’t help that Hubby just had a birthday and we were both cringing at the fact that he is only a year away from a half a century. Most days, my age isn’t a huge deal to me. It is just moments like this, when I’m forced to think in numbers rather than in feeling that I start to feel a little on the ancient side of things.

On an unrelated note, when I went to post the image for this, I was floored that it wasn’t in my images already. I could have sworn I’d posted this ages ago. Either way, here it is. It is something I did… back in the late ’90s, early ’00s for a college art class. We were supposed to reproduce a master’s work. I think I may have skirted the rules a bit as Jan van Eyck probably didn’t quite count (the teacher was really looking for recognizable pieces), but there was something crazily appealing about his self portrait that I couldn’t get out of my head. This is done in my favorite charcoal/eraser technique and is one of my favorite pieces even if it isn’t my best by a long shot. And no, it isn’t actually a cranky old hag even if it may look like one. The artist is a guy. Feel free to search his name if you want to compare my amateurish attempt. This portrait is one of the first in the results.

Glitches and Delays

I had said the other day that I was going to try and get my book in Kindle Unlimited. In order to do that, I needed to remove the ebook from all platforms that weren’t Kindle. I requested that my book be delisted on Draft2Digital on the 14th. It is now the 20th and 24symbols (which I’d never even heard of before I went to publish) STILL hasn’t removed my listing.

You cannot list with Kindle Unlimited if your book is available digitally anywhere else. It is an exclusive contract. So still being listed is preventing me from making the shift. On every other platform I was off within less than 3 days, some in less than a day. This one doesn’t seem willing to let go for some reason.

I’ve contacted D2D, so hopefully this will get resolved soon, but it is starting to really tick me off. I did some looking to see how long it is supposed to take and I saw an old post complaining about the 24symbols platform taking so long, so this is not apparently a new issue. I have nothing but good things to say about D2D even if I am switching because they really are an amazing publishing option. I’d just be exceptionally leery of ever pushing to the 24symbols platform if I ever decided to go back to D2D. If I remember correctly, they were also the one that took nearly 2 weeks to load my book in the first place.

So, for anyone that was waiting for this to go to KU… I’m still working on it. I promise.

The Winning Tablet Is…

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

I actually didn’t intend to go out and purchase this weekend, but I wanted to get my hands on my options so I could see how the size differences felt. When we went to the store, it was supposed to be only so that I could look and get a better idea of what I wanted. Turns out I could get this at a crazy discounted price with a bonus discount included, dropping the overall price much lower than the tablet I was drooling over. The one I got wasn’t even on my radar as it was a couple of steps too expensive for what I was looking to spend. The difference? This one is actually the newer/better version of the tablet I really wanted.

The one downside is the size. This is much larger than I wanted at 10.5 inches and was the other reason it wasn’t on my radar. When you compare it to my Nexus (see image), there is a significant difference. It is going to take a whole lot of getting used to for that difference alone. My reading app feels exceptionally large, holding what feels like 2 or 3 pages worth of text on a single screen. I’m also going to need a case to make it a bit easier to carry around.

This does have the option of adding a keyboard (sold separately), but I really didn’t want or need it as I just want this as a tablet. It is kind of nice to know I have that option for later if it ever comes up, though. It also has some killer speakers for a tablet, which is saying something because I’m a snob about good sounding speakers for music. I rarely do anything with sound on my tablet so this really didn’t make a huge difference to me. I can see how it would be pretty amazing for anyone that plays games or watches shows and movies, though.

It took forever to get everything set up and the apps I use downloaded along with all my books, but I was so excited that I have something that isn’t going to crash on a regular basis. No more spending as much time resetting everything as I do reading. No more worrying that my tablet is going to give up the ghost at the most intense scene in the middle of a book making me wait who knows how long before I can find another way to finish it.

Sadly, or maybe not so sadly depending on how you look at it, I may just spend as much time playing with the frickin’ off the charts cool drawing features I get to play with because this comes with the S Pen (that piece that made me drool in the first place). Saying I was doing a happy dance and squealing like a toddler at Christmas is maybe a tiny bit of an understatement (kind of like that sentence). Especially when I discovered I can work directly on a photo. The number of possibilities this has opened for me is immense. Do you have any clue how many killer drawing apps are out there?

Reading. Drawing. Playing with photos. The only thing that would make this better was if it did my laundry, too.

 

Researching New Tablets, Suggestions?

I think I got my first ereader, a Kindle, somewhere in 2012. I had all kinds of issues with it and had the first one replaced by Amazon. When the second started having the same issues less than a year later and long after the warranty expired, I began coveting Hubby’s amazing Nexus 7 because it was so much more versatile. We did some poking around and found it was probably the best option at the time (I’m only guessing that the time frame was in 2014).

Initially, I was really skeptical about how I felt about ebooks as I was a hardcore, have to have it in my hands, gotta own it, book reader at the time. My Nexus changed my mind completely and I’ve loved it to pieces ever since. The last couple of years, the poor thing has just been limping along, though. Whatever app I’m using (usually Kindle) will lock up and I have to close out my app, clear the cache, do a force stop on the app and restart to get it working again. Most times, I have to go through this process several times before it actually starts working again. I’m often even forced to restart the device a time or two before whatever is causing the glitch to clear up. Over the course of a few hours of reading, I will have to go through this process at least a couple of times, and more recently and frequently, more than a dozen.

I have removed every single thing from it except my reading apps. I have done all kinds of things (update/upgrades, uninstalled and reinstalled software, factory reset) and nothing has helped. I ended up stealing Hubby’s from him (he never actually used his) hoping maybe it was just something wrong with mine. His was perfectly fine after a factory reset until I got everything set up and started reading when his started doing the exact same things mine was before I transferred.

In technology terms, my little Nexus is probably the equivalent of a crotchety 90 year old with a walker and chronic constipation. It has a very similar attitude in that it will only go when it wants to and nothing is going to push it even a millisecond faster than it wants to go.

I’m now faced with the daunting task of researching a replacement. I kind of hate it because my Nexus technically works. It turns on. The apps do run, just not well, but it is becoming nearly impossible to actually use. Every time it throws a fit and locks up, I wonder if this is going to be the time I can’t get it back up again.

I’m not a fan of proprietary devices such as the Fires or the Apple products. What I am seeing with the little bit of research I’ve done is that outside of those, your choices are extremely limited because people are either using their phones or their laptops. I still love the smaller size (my Nexus is only a 7in display) and being able to carry it around with me or to walk around while I’m reading, but you have even fewer choices in those smaller sizes. My phone screen is too far on the small end of the size scale, so that isn’t much of an option.

It doesn’t help that I’m experiencing extreme creative envy over the kids’ new Chromebooks this year as they have the most amazing drawing stylus included and the keyboard folds flat so it can act like a tablet. I did look, but these are just WAY too big for what I will mostly use it for. I already have a laptop, so I don’t want or need anything like that.

I love the Samsung products, but I’m not really 100% happy with any of my choices there. There is one that I’m drooling over, but it is bigger than I want and so much more than I want to spend on what I will mostly use just to read. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do. I need to do something because my poor Nexus has come way to close to growing wings and learning to fly through the window one too many times lately.

If you read on a device, what do you use? Do you use it for more than just reading? What do you like or not like about it? Definitely looking for input if for no other reason than to try and convince myself I really don’t need that overly extravagant tablet to read my books on. Even if it does have the super nifty pen thingy.

Already?! It’s Only Day 2!

So BG has already had a fun event at school and it is only day 2. Last year, I think I posted about this kid at lunch that made her really uncomfortable during lunch at the beginning of the year. She quickly found a friend to sit with and that ended the situation without much fanfare or drama and never had an issue after that.

They didn’t have a normal lunch yesterday because of first day back activities, but BG has already learned that none of her friends are in her lunch period. She found a table that didn’t have anyone at it and sat there alone. When most everyone had made it in and was sitting, this kid from last year manages to find her table, which is still entirely empty, and sits in the seat right next to her. There are also other completely open tables in the lunch room and in the area of her table. But he chose to sit in the seat. RIGHT. NEXT. TO. HER. This kid then proceeds to be crude, chewing with his mouth open and attempting to talk to BG at the same time. She did her best to just sit quietly and ignore the kid, but he still persisted and made her exceptionally uncomfortable. He got up once to go get something and BG slid to another seat at the table, just to get some space because this kid doesn’t understand or care about some of those basic, unwritten social rules people tend to live by in an effort to avoid those awkward, uncomfortable situations.

She does not know this kid. She has never had a class with him before. She had never seen this kid before he sat next to her at lunch last year, and that lasted less than a week before she found some friends to sit with. Why this kid thinks it is okay is beyond me.

It is so incredibly frustrating because it is kind of this ugly, sticky situation. She is completely uncomfortable in all ways, but she doesn’t ever like to speak up, so she won’t say a word to this kid. She also won’t say anything to a teacher or a lunch monitor in an effort to get them to intervene because the kid hasn’t exactly done anything that would violate rules. She doesn’t like to rock the boat or do anything that could offend someone and is this whole other thing tied to the ugly fears in our schools nowadays. That whole “what if they are THAT kid?” If he has some sort of disorder that would make it hard or impossible for him to pick up on social cues (I have no clue if this is a fact, BG really can’t say one way or the other), it would make this a different kind of sticky, but it is still sticky.

Her solution to this problem is to talk to a teacher she had last year that is near her lunch room to see if she can come and eat in the teacher’s classroom instead (and may not get permission for any number of reasons). I get it. The school can’t fix a problem they don’t know about, but… She shouldn’t be forced to be uncomfortable. She shouldn’t have to fear speaking up when someone makes her feel that way. She shouldn’t have to find these exceptionally twisty, creative ways to avoid a situation that makes her that uncomfortable. It really is one of those “No real, good solution” kind of things and I honestly don’t know what the best advice is to give her. I just hope that the teacher she is going to approach will agree to let her eat in her room.

Did I mention this is only day 2? *sigh*

 

Getting School Minded

This is that crazy week that seems to be full of getting the kids ready to go back to school. Yesterday was registration for both MC and BG, but it was the last for MC. That is one of those gut knotting moments when you get an in your face reminder that one of your babies isn’t so much a baby any more. This will be his last year in high school. He will actually be graduating this year. With honors. I know this is only one moment in a long string of moments that will happen this year to hit me like this. I also know that all of them will be over and gone in a blink of an eye.

BG is taking yet another step into finding out more of who she is as she has been invited to be a dance assistant at her studio this year. It is sort of a big step for the awkward, slightly introverted girl she is. That means she will be adding another two hours to her time at the studio every week. It also adds at least one more performance to her end of the year recital, which was already getting an additional performance because she is now in the oldest group of dancers, reaching her own not a baby anymore milestone.

My babies aren’t babies anymore and haven’t been in a long time, but it still hits when you see these moments and recognize them for what they are. My kids are growing and becoming little adults and I’m so not ready for it. Are you ever?

Insults: The New Spam

Apparently previous spam theories and techniques weren’t working anymore. Now spammers are resorting to insulting post titles to get you to click on them. Really?! Sorry, I was just cleaning out the spam folder to make sure nothing got dropped there by mistake while I was gone and I ran across that one. As I’m reading and seeing this rather obnoxious critique on how I titled a blog post, I just laughed my ass off at the things people will do to get you to interact and had to share.

Start At The End

If you’d noticed it’s been a little quiet around here, that’s because I’ve been on vacation. We just got in last night and all I had time to do was unpack, start laundry and crash. Today has been all about getting all the things done that I didn’t have the energy to do last night. I have a lot of catching up to do on everyone’s blogs that I’ve missed, but I’ll be around soon. I’ll also have some posts about an amazingly awesome trip to Door County, Wisconsin. And of course loads and loads of photos. Seriously. It was probably the best photo trip I’ve ever had. Granted, I think the new camera had something to do with it, but really the scenery did all the work. For now, I’ll leave you with one of my last shots of the trip. The stunning sunset out the car window on the way home.

New Project: Indie Author Resources/Support Listing

This is a concept that I’ve tossed around for a while and decided, what the hell? It can’t hurt, so give it a try. If it helps someone else out, awesome. If not, it only took some of my time a little space here on my site.

Basically, I’m attempting to put together a few different lists of resources for indie authors, mostly those that I’ve found really helpful. There are a few other places I’ve run across recently that have some similar listings and I’ll link to those as I come across them as well. There may be some duplicates between my lists and theirs, but the more places that have these lists, the easier it is going to be for indie authors to find what they are looking for.

One of the pieces I’d really like to focus on is a listing of book bloggers that want to actively support indie authors because there just aren’t many places that have a list like that. At least not that I’ve found (feel free to point out any you may know of). The ones I have seen aren’t easily navigated in a way that makes it easy to find the bloggers that might fit your books. Those lists are still helpful, just a little cumbersome.

I want to take my list one step farther, at least for now, and keep it to only those interested in fiction. I say this because the range of subjects indie authors write in is HUGE, making that search even more difficult to weed through. The general umbrella of fiction is already massive, so any chance to narrow it a bit helps. Once I get a few, I’m going to do my best to keep it organized in a way that it is quick and easy to find what you are looking for, mostly by genre, but that could change as this grows and if there is a different need I’m not yet seeing.

That means I’m yet again asking for help. If you are a book blogger that wants to help support the indie community and are willing to take review requests from indie authors, please contact me or comment below and I’ll add you to my list. I do ask that you provide a link to your blog (be sure you have a contact page) and any places you post reviews, a link to your review policy and a brief list of the genres you are willing to read. I will not list bloggers without their express permission as I want to be certain those that are listed actually want to be a part of this.

If you aren’t a book blogger that is interested in this, but know others that might be, please let them know or share this post to help spread the word.

This is a project I want to do because I see a need and I have the time and space to attempt to put it together. It is something I’m offering free of charge with no expectations other than people potentially finding it useful. This will be a work in progress and I’m more than willing to take suggestions to improve and grow it as time goes on.

Christmas In July

Anyone that has followed this blog for any length of time already knows about my crazy nutcracker collection and that my Hubby feeds this every year by getting me a new one, usually based on a theme for the year. He cracked me up beyond belief earlier in the month when he decided to start hunting for this year’s nutcracker early to make sure he got one that fit what he wanted for his theme this year. A nutcracker that represents me publishing my book and becoming an author.

What makes this even funnier is that my Hubby cannot hold on to surprises. At all. So when he manages to actually find one and get it ordered? It sits for about 2 days before he can’t stand it anymore and then it is suddenly Christmas in July.

Charles Dickens Nutcracker
Charles Dickens Nutcracker

I’m in love! It is so perfect.

One of the things I love about how my Hubby does this is that I never know exactly what I’m going to get. I kind of guessed what his theme for the year would be, but since I don’t ever go out looking at nutcrackers myself unless I happen to see them when I’m out around Christmas, I don’t know what kinds of possibilities are even out there. It’s always a surprise. Most of what I have would fall into the traditional range, but I have a wide range of traditional to modern to unique to completely off the wall wacky. This one falls more along the lines of a traditional nutcracker, but because it has a specific theme, it only hangs on the edge of traditional.

One of the things I love about this one is that it does have that classic feel to it, but still isn’t. The details on the books give it so much more, but it is still simple and elegant. I adore that this has a nameplate.

Sadly, my new guy got packed back into his box to wait for the holidays so he can go on display with the rest of the horde.

Fascinating: Aphantasia

A few weeks ago, MC came and started talking about this test. It kind of reminded me of the “what color is the dress” thing from a while back. The question was to picture a red star in our mind. Then he showed us a grid of options and we had to pick out the one we’d pictured. MC, Hubby and I were all doing this and BG was upstairs. The three of us all answered the same and with what seemed crazy obvious to us, a red 5 point typical star shape. Then MC went and asked his sister what she saw. I was absolutely stunned that she picked a blank, black square. I didn’t get it or understand it at all.

Continue reading “Fascinating: Aphantasia”

One of Those Days

The picture here is of some flooding in the area and fits perfectly with how I feel today… overwhelmed with just too much!

I had a plan for today. I had a list of things I needed to do and was well on my way to getting them done. Mostly basic things like getting some cleaning done because MC is having his crew over for a gaming event/night. I also had an appointment to get a bid on one of two needed house repairs (that of course cannot be inexpensive ones). Then I get an email from the school.

Actually, Hubby called to ask about the email because he got it first. It was about getting MC’s senior pictures taken, but it was incredibly vague other than dates (tomorrow and Thursday) and a phone number. I was in the middle of cleaning and said I’d deal with it when I was done. Then MC is coming and saying that his friends are telling him those are the actual picture days. Mind you, this is the first and only senior picture communication we have gotten from the school.

I finish what I’m doing and call the number. Sure enough, some brain trust set up automated appointments (meaning they set them up for you and you are just supposed to show up) for all yearbook photos in the middle of summer and don’t bother to let anyone know until the day before you are required to show (two if you are lucky). This isn’t in any newsletter or email from the district. It isn’t on their website or calendar (I looked), it doesn’t exist outside of this one email. I did get them to say they would be at the school again in August where students would have to leave during class or lunch and get their photos taken then, but… missing class, having to wear the photo getup to school and keep it looking decent until photo time, not a great option.

Since MC is so not a dress up kinda kid, that meant a rush shopping job so that he actually has something to wear. Did I mention that there was zero information included in that lovely email? As in, not one word about dress code? When OC went through this a few years ago (same district, same school), there were some very specific rules on what could and could not be worn for these photos. Granted, those rules really do not fit with kids these days and, from the pictures in last year’s year book, they have not been enforcing those rules, but I had no clue what to get. I cannot imagine MC in a suit and tie or even just a shirt and tie. He couldn’t either, so we just decided to go with it and he found a nice polo, which is still dressier than some in the year book. I can only hope this does not cause problems.

I also have to get his hair trimmed up tonight since his friends will be here tomorrow and overnight. And I still have a couple things I need to do to get ready for that crew. We kind of lucked out on this for a couple of reasons. 1) We are here and can actually make his scheduled appointment. I feel bad for those families that are gone on vacation right now or those that have to work and can’t get off because they have no options other than the August date. 2) These are only for the yearbook photos. You can work with them to set up a time for a longer, more personalized session, but MC decided months ago that he wants me to do his senior portraits for him (not that I’m thrilled with that as I don’t do photos of people well, but… I’m gonna give it my best), so we only have to worry about the yearbook photos.

What is really stupid about this whole mess is the utter lack of communication or any kind of standard process. The district has been using the same photography group for years, so why in the hell have you not established a regular, workable plan and stick with it? The kids told me they did it entirely different last year, which was different from when OC did his. I get it. Most families around here go with their own photographers for senior sessions (if they do them at all) and only use the school photographer for the yearbook photo, but you can still not make it into this convoluted mess to get those done.

Planning

This is an older image taken on a previous trip, but it feels fitting as it was probably one of the best family vacations we’ve ever taken. We are deep into the planning stages of our summer vacation. We still have to make a couple of decisions before we can actually book anything, but we are miles closer now than we were even a week ago. I also went out and, FINALLY, got myself a good pair of hiking boots, so now I’m more than ready.

One of my goals for any trip we take is to at least have a couple of amazing photo opportunities. The other is to get at least a snippet of time to spend with my amazing cousin. Everything else will just be icing on the vacation cake. We can’t do a very long trip this year, just a few days or so, because there are so many other things going on, but I’m determined to make the most of those few days.

Fingers and toes are crossed that nothing new pops up between now and then, but… that kind of isn’t how my household and life tend to work.

Moment of Gratitude

I had this moment of realization yesterday when I was contemplating writing my review for my first ever ARC. I am kind of living in this moment of fantasy right now. I am at a place in my life I never dreamed I’d be outside of those “Wouldn’t it be nice?” kinds of thoughts. Yet, here I am. And I am astoundingly grateful for it.

I have now gotten a second ARC approval and it is another book on my list of “I’d LOVE to get, but probably never will.” This was part of that moment of realization. Yes, it is only two books, but… I am now getting books for the express purpose of reviewing them before most people get their hands on them. That is an amazing thing to me.

I have also actually done something I never thought I’d EVER do: I wrote and published my own book. And it is selling. It is making the kind of impact with readers that I’d hoped for. It may still be very much on the tiny scale of things, but it is on the scale. This is also stunning to me.

As a person that has spent the bulk of their adult life focused on being Mom and struggling for years with who I am outside of that role, these things are massive for me. I am in awe that these are now facts in my life, that they are a tangible part of that life. It is though I can feel how these seemingly small things are cementing their place in who I am.

There have been so many things over time and throughout my life that have been damaging and hurtful. Because of that, I have actively spent the last several years trying to find the positive things, the things that bring me joy and most days, I’m good at finding those things. Photography has been a huge part of that for me. So have my kids and my Hubby. But these things? They feel different. They feel healing in a very different way. They make me feel a little bit more solid in who I am.

And I am massively grateful.

Fangirl Moment of SQUEEE!!!

HOLY CRAP!! I’m kinda freaking out at the moment. I’ve JUST started requesting ARCs via NetGalley, not really expecting to actually get approved. I’ve even gotten a rejection, so it kind of confirmed for me that I probably wasn’t quite in the position that publishers are looking for when it comes to handing out ARC copies for reviews and that I needed to do some more work towards getting there. Apparently…

Not only did I get an ARC book, but I got one that I never in a million years expected to get approved for but thought, “What the hell! Can’t hurt to ask!” and requested it anyway. It is my first ever ARC and I’m over the moon giddy over it and what book it is.

Now, I’m not 100% certain on ARC etiquette and how to handle this awesomeness. Do I get to scream about the fact I got an ARC and the book it is? I know about the writing a review piece, that should be the easy part, but there are more things I think that I don’t really know and now I need to dig in and do a bit more research so I don’t goof and this ends up being the only one I get.

If you are an ARC reviewer, please feel free to chime in and give a newbie some much needed advice! Now I’m going to go try to bust my family’s ear drums with some more screeching and freaking, then I’m going to calm down and get to reading.

Stop And Smell The Roses

I had fully intended to post a book review after I finished painting today, but I’m done in. I am so not nearly as young or as in shape as I used to be and all that climbing and crawling and pretzel twisting kicked my old ass. I’m just gonna give you some flowers instead then find the least movement inducing thing I can until tomorrow.

The bathroom looks killer, by the way. I wasn’t sure how good it would be with her already rather vibrant room, but it actually works. Besides, she loves it, so that is all that really matters.

Painting Day

I’m finally getting around to doing something I promised BG a year ago or more. Painting her bathroom. I am so not looking forward to it because it is a small space with not a whole lot of solid wall. That means there is going to be a crap ton of up and down on the step ladder, crawling around on the floor, hugging a toilet and basically bending myself into a pretzel to get it done because it is almost all edges, hence the nearly a year to get around to doing what I said I would.

Hopefully I wont kill myself in the process and can actually get to writing that book review I need to do. So far, this summer has been a series of stuff to do and interruptions and sickies and weird, random allergy outbreaks on both BG’s part and mine. I am ready for things to get to some semblance of a normal summer routine, but I have a feeling that isn’t going to happen this year.

Original for the above manipulated image:

Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms

Review Rating Thoughts: Adjustments

After spending some time with this and tossing around ideas, I think I may have come up with something that works for me on my new rating process.

My biggest issue with the way I had set up the new system was the equal weighting across all areas of evaluation. That just doesn’t work for me because not all of those areas are important to all books. I do think that there are a few that are critical, no matter the book.

At the same time, I really liked how that specific breakdown helped me to look at the book from a more structured place rather than strictly opinion and emotional reaction. I liked how it helped me to put some of my thoughts into words.

From those two perspectives, I think what I’m going to try out is narrowing down which areas I feel are critical, at least for me as a reader, to all books and use only those as the basis for my SPA. For now, I am going to try to keep it to just Characters, Believably, and Personal Opinion. I want to keep the other areas for evaluation purposes. If one in particular, say my peeves, plays heavily into my reaction to a particular book, I will include that in the SPA as well.

All the others, I will still give star ratings to, but they will not impact that overall average. I can really love or hate a cover of a book and not have it  impact my enjoyment of the book, but I love book covers and rarely ever find a way to talk about them. The same could be said for any of the other areas, that there was something I want to point out, but it may not play a role in what I thought about the book.

There is a chance I’ll leave a section out of a review because it just doesn’t apply. I might even modify or remove a section or two because there seems to be so much overlap at times. When you are talking about characters and believability and your opinion on a book, you are invariably also talking about plot. That is the big area I’m not entirely sure what I know what to do with, which is kind of crazy because plot is a huge part of every single book.

Whatever I decide, I’m going to need to play with how I lay it all out to make it clear which areas are being included in the SPA and which are not. I am also going to use the write up in the Personal Opinion portion of the review as kind of the full overview as that seems to work best for then being able to transfer my review to Goodreads or Amazon.

I’m sure it will take a time or two running through to see what kinds of issues I may have or what I’ll still need to tweak, but this gives me a starting point for what I feel I want to change. My hope is that these changes will still give a more merit based opinion, but still feel like the rating range I would have been giving books before this revamp.

Now I just need some time to finish a book without having a dozen things interrupt me or distract me.