Welcome to my Writing blog. If you're interested in my comments about "My Favorite Things," my articles for yourLDSneighborhood.com, and Life in general, click here for a direct link to RondaGibbHinrichsen.com.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Learning from Book Reviews by Ronda HInrichsen

Betrayed, my recently released novel, has been receiving some awesome, reader reviews, and I am so happy and grateful so many people have enjoyed it. I also love learning from those statements what I did right in my book and what I want to continue to include in my future stories. Praise and learning--the perfect combination. :)

However, sometimes we get reviews that mention elements about our book the reviewer didn't like, or worse, their comments are simply unkind; i.e., the reviewer hates everything about the book and is not opposed to sharing that opinion with the world. It's a given. No matter who the author is, they will receive such reviews. But I've found that if I look beyond the criticism and consider the review as a response to my work, just as I do when I'm reading it aloud to others, I can learn a great deal that will help me with my writing, and sometimes with my career as an author.

For instance, if a reviewer states she enjoyed elements of the book, like the lovely descriptions and the relationship I developed between the characters, but the story was slow and it took her a long time to get through the book (By the way, this is not one of my reviews.), I first try to understand what the reviewer is really saying, In this case, I'd see that while I met some of my goals, because I want my readers to enjoy the setting and the characters, I'd also notice I didn't meet another of my goals, which is I do not want readers to want to put my book down. So it might be that I need to increase my pacing and suspenseful elements. I then keep that information in mind as I read others' reviews and decide if the reviewer was right. If so, I have some writing work and learning to do.

As far as the hate-everything-reviewer goes, most of the time that reader is NOT YOUR READER anyway, and there's no point in spending a lot of time worrying about how to fix something to that reader's tastes.But, if the reviewer mentions an element in my book that mine didn't have or didn't do well but that he really want to be there, I consider whether or not his points are valid and whether or not I should work on what he said. After that, I move on.  Part of marketing work includes trying to find those readers who like what we write, so I try to hang on to the praisers I find and not worry about the rest.

Finally, most of the time it's not recommended that an author respond to a reader's review, but this "rule", like so many others, is one that needs to be followed or not followed according to the situation. In the following case, I thought I should respond to a question a reviewer had because my answer could also help those who read this blog. She mentioned this about my character, Tom:

"I thought his profession was interesting as well and I'm kind of curious to know how that was decided on for the story and the research the author did for it."  htp://www.wishfulendings.com/2015/01/blog-tour-review-giveaway-betrayed-by.html#more

Answer: I came up with the initial idea for Tom's profession while I was watching a historical documentary about one of the World Wars. I don't remember which, probably WWII, but in either case, it talked about how a battle situation was won because they had a magician figure out how to deceive the enemy through an illusion. I loved that idea and ran with it. As far as the research goes, there are always small bits of information I have to look up as I write the story, but most of Tom's character and especially his tricks came from the book, Hiding the Elephant, by Jim Steinmeyer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Marketing Tool--Blog Tour

No matter how we're published, authors have to market their books. For many, including me, that's a hard thing to do, because we have to not only put ourselves--our work, our words, and in some cases our hearts--out for the world to see, but because it's also very difficult to say, "Hey, check out my book. It's awesome, perfect, everything a reader could ever want . . . "  LOL. And yet, somehow, somewhere, we have to try to spur "word of mouth" advertising.

Blog tours can help. Sometimes publishers will put them together for authors, and sometimes authors will put them together for themselves, but this time, my publisher, Covenant Communications, put together a blog tour for Betrayed. The tour is on day 2, and so far I've seen three great advantages: I've received some dream-come-true reviews which have been posted on important sites like Amazon and Goodreads; tweets about my book have surfaced through Twitter; and I am finding new readers.

The bad side of tours? They can be somewhat costly and time consuming to put together, and the cyber-world seems to always be changing, so it's hard to guage how many people are actually seeing it. But that's the case with every marketing tool. As for me, so far, so good--I'm happy with Betrayed's Blog Tour.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, November 21, 2014

Betrayed by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Introducing the cover (which I absolutely love) for my next romantic suspense novel, Betrayed. It will be released on January 2, 2015 and is now available for pre-order here. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Awakening by Dorine White

Just in time for Christmas, Author Dorine White's Young Adult novel, The Awakening, will be released on December 2, 2014. Here's a sneak peak.

Nightmares really do come true, and for fifteen-year-old Kyler Birkwood, they are just beginning. Raised on a farm by his Aunt Martha, Kyler has no clue about the magical heritage swimming through his blood. When he discovers evidence of a mythical creature, a terrifying beast thought only to exist in fairy tales, his safe world shatters.
Left at a school of magic to hunt for clues, he is overwhelmed and disbelieved. As loved ones begin disappearing and Orcs roam the land, Kyler must undergo a journey that takes him from the High Courts of the King to the unknown forests of the East. His magic just awakening, Kyler is the lone hope for a world that will not listen.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What She Did Right--Showing Silence (Escape to the Sea by Tera Mecham)

Author Tera Mecham's new novel, Escape to the Sea, is a sweet romance about a young woman who finally finds love, marriage, and delicious romance with a handsome man after having been jilted at the alter two years earlier. While there are many great things about this story, such as the exotic settings and Mecham's ability to effectively and sweetly show the physical and emotional attraction between a man and a woman, one of my favorites is that Mecham beautifully shows moments of silence rather than telling us that time has passed. For example, during a dinner scene, Mecham writes: "A soft breeze blew across the table, and I placed my hand
on my napkin so it wouldn’t flutter away." If the author intended only to show action during the conversation, she could have left it at "I placed my hand on my napkin" or even "I moved my napkin to my lap." However, with the added details, Mecham shows both a moment of silence and a description of the setting. LOVED IT!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Fearful Thing By Kathleen Marks (Ronda Hinrichsen)

I am nearly finished writing the first draft of "A Fearful Thing", a Dalton & Dalton Mystery. It is a historic paranormal romantic suspense novella with characters I really love writing about.Think of "Castle" meets "The Parent Trap" plus a glowing cat. :) Anyway, I recently received the cover and can't wait to show it off. So here it is.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What She Did Right: Uniqueness (The Hitler Dilemma by Carolyn Frank) by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Since there are only a set number of story lines in the world, authors struggle to find unique ways to share their stories with their readers. Some utilize wondrous settings or give characters extraordinary abilities. Others shock or mystify. I mix ideas together and see what comes out. But I'm happy to report that Carolyn Frank has incorporated one of my favorite methods in her latest historical novel, The Hitler Dilemma. It is based on the true story of Max Adam, a German soldier who did not agree with Hitler, but because he was a German citizen, had to fight Hitler's war. I've heard and studied a lot about WWII over the years, and I can't remember ever hearing the story from that particular point of view. For that reason alone, I applaud Carolyn Frank's work. But I must also say that this frequently heart-wrenching story is likewise poignant and insightful. Read it. You won't regret it.