Nothing Like a New Release – Update on Self-Publishing


Master of Illusion Book II. New release from the Historical Fiction Series by Anne Rouen

It has been a lot of work: editing, checking facts, little rewrites here and there, attending to all the publishing details like ISBN and CiP, agonising over a choice of cover from the number of really beautiful designs presented to me. But the excitement of the launch beats everything!

After the great reception and the wonderful reviews Master of Illusion Book I received, I just couldn’t wait to do it again. And my latest review from a judge of the Writers’ Digest Awards has re-fired all my enthusiasm.

Your first book is like your baby. You cannot bear to part with a word of it. Only the strongest representation will induce a rewrite. This is more due to the belief that this story has been given to you; come from outside yourself; rather than overweening conceit about your own abilities as a writer.

I found I wasn’t so precious about Book II, cutting out chunks on the editor’s advice without turning a hair. I think that with Book III, I will be positively blasé! But I have to say I love it when my editor suggests a little rewrite – one more chance to revisit the magical world of opera/ballet, opulence and charm of nineteenth century Paris.

Life on the land is extremely heartbreaking at the moment, as all my farming friends will agree. But after I have fed my few old sheep, checked the horses, the water and put out the drought blocks for the cattle, I can step through the vine-covered door of my little stone hut and become Anne Rouen, resident author of StoneHut Publishing.

Here, immersed in the lives of my characters, the problems of the present world pale into insignificance beside the vibrance – the dazzling brilliance – of la Belle Époque.

Would I do it all again? Absolutely! The whole experience has been so uplifting that I will most definitely do it again.

Here’s a little secret: Book III is finished, ready for polishing – months of hard work by me and my editor – to make it ready for its new release and start the excitement all over again! I’m hooked!

Master of Illusion Book II continues the story of the Master of Illusion and begins where Book I ends: the after party following the Grand Opening of their new opera house. I take this opportunity to assure my fans waiting on the book that, not only will it answer all your questions, but some you never thought to ask.

Master of Illusion Book II is currently available as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords. And coming soon to the other platforms. Enjoy!

A Muse on Reviews: Ethics

Reviews under review. Photo courtesy Imagerymajestic

Reviews under review. Photo courtesy Imagerymajestic

As an author, I find it uplifting to receive a ‘good’ review. It is equally devastating to receive a ‘bad’ one. Especially, if it is unjustified.

Most professional reviewers take the task seriously. Authors wait on tenterhooks for their valued opinions. Professional reviews carry a lot of weight.

These wonderful people give their time, insight and considered judgement. Their reviews, whether favourable or unfavourable, are always constructive, sending a vital message to the author.

Customer reviews are essential to an author’s credibility and we are so grateful that our readers take time to say what they think. The majority are positive, but some are not.

If you are thinking of giving an unfavourable review, I would ask you to consider the following: Is it ethical to slam a book because:

  1. You don’t like a character?
  2. You don’t like a dynamic?
  3. You don’t understand the genre?
  4. You think the story should have a different ending?
  5. You don’t realise it is one of a series and legitimately leaves questions to be answered in subsequent titles?

 Have you taken into account:

  1. The quality of the writing?
  2. The strength and believability of the characters?
  3. The authenticity of the setting?
  4. The correctness of the language for its era?
  5. The twists and engagement of the plot?

It is the responsibility of the author to present a polished work, the creation of his/her mind, in a professional and interesting form. It is equally the responsibility of the reviewer to acknowledge this fact.

If you must give a book an unfavourable review, by all means do so, but back it up with valid reasons that provide useful feedback for the author. The review will then be a relatively positive experience for both.

So much better, don’t you think?

Then there are the ratings. How we look for the magical 5 stars! I wonder if you know that there are differences between some platforms about the meanings of the ‘star’ rating. Amazon, for example, regards a 3 star rating as a negative, recognising only 4 and 5 star ratings in their rankings, whilst sites such as Goodreads, recognise a 3 star rating as a positive. Before you decide on your rating I would recommend having a look at this, rather than giving a book a negative rating, when perhaps you did not mean to.

Yes, we authors love ‘good’ reviews. Who wouldn’t? Yes, we hate ‘bad’ ones.(Ditto.) But we’re OK if they’re ethical and make a fair point. We are mostly happy to learn something to improve our writing and thus our readers’ experience. It is what it is about, after all.