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Sometimes the Voices Don’t Agree

Almost every writer out there knows about the “voices.” It’s the characters in our heads that demand we tell their story. The problem I’ve discovered, is that those internal voices have something in common – as twisted and screwed up as the characters may be we understand them. They make sense.

Why is that a problem? Because in the real world people don’t make sense. Their voices are sometimes shouting two things at once and those two things can be contradictory. It shocks me because I like to think that my readers are a cut above the average. Science fiction and fantasy are the realm of dreamers and thinkers, after all! But in spite of that occasionally it still happens that someone slips into the wrong line. I have no other explanation for why someone would rate a book 1 star and say of it, “Save yourself some frustration and don’t get sucked in.” Um, as a reader I want to be sucked in. I want to find myself immersed in a story.

I’m counter-complaining about my Vitalis series, by the way. It seems people are still bitching about paying a devastating $.99 for the novellas. Or, as they label them, the ‘chapters’. This is speculation on my part but perhaps they seem like chapters (even though each book consists of well over a dozen clearly labeled chapters) because they got sucked in and read them quickly. I’ve bitched before that this was my intent upon writing them, but it keeps coming back to haunt me.

So this person bought it, read it, got sucked into it, and then got frustrated because he had to buy the next one (for, GASP, another $.99 – and the first one is free, by the way. Or buy the Vitalis Omnibus to avoid the frustration of switching books). Okay, that defies my logic but I’ll entertain the process and continue. So seven novellas later a reader has spent $5.94 for a total of seven books that add up to over 400 pages of science fiction that sucks a reader in. I don’t have one handy at present, but the last Dean Koontz novel I bought (the third Odd Thomas book, though the title escapes me), was not that long and it cost me well over $10. I’ll be the first one to admit I’m no Dean Koontz but there are thousands of other authors out there with books that offer the same ratio of lesser length yet higher cost. Shame on me for offering a discount to my readers! Clearly I deserve a public flogging by way of review and a kick in the pants via a poor rating.

Reviews like this hurt sales. Hurting sales means it’s harder for me to A) stay positive and keep writing for those that enjoy the books and B) be able to afford to write. It’s impossible for me to stop contrary people like the reviewer in question from slamming me, but for those with at least two more active gray cells I ask of you to think clearly before leaving a review on anybody’s work. Consider whether the review makes sense objectively. Where you frustrated about something? Were there other parts that offset it? Would you be just as happy sending the author some feedback to let them know your thoughts rather than trying to screw with his or her livelihood? I speak for many of my fellow writers when I say that we enjoy receiving feedback, even the less than pleasant kind.

With all of that said, I’m working hard on my eighth Vitalis book (Resurrection). Yes, I said book. It will not be a novella. Just yesterday I reached a point that takes it to being longer than even the first Vitalis book (New Beginnings) and I’m only halfway through it. I have a lot more of Vitalis in me to write too, I just hope I can afford to do so.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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