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A place for Round 3 Raters (and writers!) to discuss their experiences
Posted: 9/4/2014 6:38 AM PDT
Perhaps a revitalization...
Most of my working life was spent in hospitals. In 1979, after the quite dramatic suicide of a young mother I sat down and started cataloguing the incidents of those years.
I was quite familiar with the publishing industry of the time and in particular the support provided by The Canadian Arts Council. However, time changes all things. Periodically over the last thirty five years I have made considerable effort to render those notes to a sequential and consequential story. In March of 2000 I decided to ramp up the effort. I completed that effort toward the end of 2013.
The book has been edited 5 times by three different editors. It is robust viable and far too long (250,000 words).
The current global publishing industry is in major trouble and made worse by some of the players. Let me offer you this. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/02/17/cheap-words?currentPage=all
- from The New Yorker; very Troubling.
There are guidelines throughout the Internet for avoiding publishing pitfalls. Very naively, it had never occurred to me that length (in a book) would be an issue. I had never intended to write a long book. However, agents, agencies and publishers develop horrifically lose bowels at the notion (cost vs potential). The guidelines available go so far as to suggest appropriate word counts for various genre's. Here is a very good site with recommendations that are very similar to other sites. http://www.literaryrejections.com/word-count/
Perhaps this will be useful.
cheers - FrankFegan
Posted: 9/4/2014 5:41 AM PDT
Posted: 9/3/2014 9:09 AM PDT
This would seem to be lacking currency with all the contributions dated 2011
Posted: 9/26/2011 12:43 PM PDT
The funny thing, for me, is that webook seemed to have such a good thing going for themselves... and yet they just let it drop. It wouldn't seem to take that much work to keep this thing going, or even string people along, yet they hardly seem to take the effort. Allowing spam to pile up on forums for day after day, for example... how much work does it do to get on there and delete spam?
There a lot of changes I would make to the site, some of which even WOG would approve of; but first of all they should pay attention. I mean, even at a couple bucks a pop they have to be making something, no? I never seem to run out of round one ratings to rate.
Posted: 9/14/2011 9:15 AM PDT
So, we aren't amateurs? What are we? What we really, other than people giving and getting reviews we could get any where else? Has waiting a year to have Von give me his 2 cents, worth the price of admission? No, it isn't.
Sorry, you've been screwed, too. But I'm not about finding the silver lining or the planking pot-o'-gold here. I'm about bitching at this stupid process and the fact that Webook can't even clean up it's own mess worth a crap. And another thing, I NEVER said that every review was WORTHLESS or a WASTE of time. But I can tell you this Von's wasn't, particularly now that everything else has driven off the Planking Cliff!
Posted: 9/14/2011 8:43 AM PDT
Well, Stuart, I did NOT get what they told me they would deliver. When I entered (along with Kreeves, Lanette, Crusoe and 2,000 others in the launch phase), there was a promise of three $1,000 prizes for the top three Round 1 entries and a $10,000 grand prize among those for the "winner" in Round 4. Twelve or so from those initial 2,000 entries (mine among them) made it through Round 3 and were eligible to compete in Round 4 for the prize.
And now there is no Round 4 and after repeated requests for information about the prize, there is no answer. Webook enticed us with their prize offer and we dutifully lined up and paid our entry fee. You entered with the expectation of having a professional review your work. I had a different dream, the farfetched idea that I could get a major writing credit by winning that grand prize and watching my entry make it this far and earn the highest score to date of ALL Round 3 entries (not just those eligible for the prize) only to see an abrupt and deceitful end has been phenomenomally hurtful.
And yet I keep rating because of all the other writers who have waited this long to have SOMEONE, even if it's only me, read and appreceate their work. And I can say that the fourteen anonymous reviews I received (and yes, I had one bad one) were helpful and insightful. There's something very different about the anonimity instead of critiques from writers you meet at sites and on boards. I love receiving critique from those, too, but when it's anonymous there is a certain lack of holding back.
I know your comment weren't directed specifically at me but the tone of your derision for "AMATEURS" had a certain shotgun distaste that you might not have considered.
Posted: 9/14/2011 6:34 AM PDT
It's not directed at you personally, but at the system. Let's face it, we're all amateurs...ME INCLUDED. And that's exactly the point of this. I entered and PAID for this site for a reason, because of the HOPE that somebody, who has a REAL Professional background (AGENT or Editor), would read it and discuss it with me. Instead, what I'm getting is the same thing I could get on BookCountry, Writers.Net or YouWriteOn. You can interpret what I said to be directed at you personally (that's your choice), or you can take away exactly what I meant by it. WeBook has a failed program, by which they are making money and not delivering the payoff associated with it.
It's like me telling you, if you are in SALES, and selling a product for which you and I have agreed on a compensation program and a way to award you monetarily for your performance, midway through the year, "GUESS WHAT?" I changed my mind, and this is now your new compensation plan, which, by the way, pays you less than before. Then I look at you when you complain about it and tell you SO WHAT. It is what it is. I CHANGED MY MIND, and I did it without waiting until the original agreement I signed with you, ran out.
Now, imagine you are in a room with like minded SALES STAFF. I'm on your sales team with a different territory. I watched you get paid for Q1 and Q2 and come into the office and SHOW OFF to everybody your BIG FAT CHECK you got paid, and I just wrapped up Q3 and got PLANKED in the ass, making 75% less than you did, having hit the same sales threshold numbers. So please don't tell me you're going to walk around the cubical control room and give a "shout out" to every sales person that just got screwed, "I know you're not happy about that pay cut, but YOU SHOULD REALLY LIKE THAT BUSHAL OF FLOWERS FROM FTD they subbed out for your PAYCHECK!" THEN...Then come to find out they went down to SAM's Club and bought flowers and stuck then in a vase and said they were from FTD. I don't even get the PLANKING Cup that comes with my roses.
YOU GOT what they told you they would deliver, or I guess you did to some degree. Sorry, but I WON'T! Simple as that. What I said is clearly defined. Make it about yourself, if that helps you feel better. The writing is on the wall. I can get this anywhere else and with more clearly defined roles by the reviewer and NOT pay for it.
Posted: 9/14/2011 5:25 AM PDT
Skyval - I'm sure you recognized that some, that's SOME, people should never have been allowed to rate R3. I know I speak for most if not all the writers that made it to R3 when I say that what you and the majority of the other R3 raters have done is greatly appreciated. Yes, I've bitched up a storm, but there were a lot of reviews I received that were very helpful because they were insightful and given by people who either knew the genre or earned my respect with opinions, although not always happy ones for me, were helpful. I've said it before - I know the majority of the raters are not keen on romance, but raters like you and Lanette at least gave them a fair shake.
And wasn't the reason we ALL entered was for the opportunity to have our work evaluated by agents or "literary gurus", as promised in the initial announcement back when we were young and hopeful? You of all people should be disappointed in the crash and burn of the process because you EARNED the right to have your work reviewed by professionals by making it to the Final Round with a score of - 93%?? - don't remember exactly but I know you were way up there.
The biggest frustration is waiting literally months and months to make it up through the ranks, only to have some planking rater who is not in any way, shape, or form, qualified to access the writing take an instant dislike to your sub because of language, sexual content, or the fact they "don't get it".
Hell, I "don't get" sci fi - but I know a good piece of writing when I read it and if I'm not qualified as a fan of the genre to rate it, I don't ask myself "did I like it?" - I ask myself, "would someone who reads this genre like it?" I've had comments like that in R3 - raters who said they are not fans of romance but could see that someone who was a fan would like it. At least they acknowledged it, and because of that, I appreciated the honest attempt to rate fairly. And I KNOW your standards are high, but I also know no matter much you did or didn't like the author personally, or whether you are a fan of the genre, it does NOT effect how you rate the sub.
Posted: 9/13/2011 9:12 PM PDT
Wow. Thanks for that Weight. Feel pretty stupid now that I wasted everyone's time rating. Yeah, you paid your money like everyone else. Yes, it's disappointing the rules have been changed. Since you know there won't be a professional review at the end and you're stating that's the reason you entered, why not delete your entry so your work won't be subjected to any more "amateurs"?
Sorry, can't help feeling offended.
And no, I haven't rated your round 3 entry. Should I?
Posted: 9/13/2011 5:22 PM PDT
I'll tell you what's worse than anything though. What this has all amounted to is this: We have paid for critiques from amateurs.
WeBook has changed the rules, and, what we were expecting (A PROFESSIONAL LOOK), has now been packaged up into the bright, shiny toy you get in a damn racoon trap. Everybody that's paid and gone through the LONG ASS wait of getting to this level is now confronted with the FACT that we could have gotten this type of feedback for FREEEEEEEEEE somewhere else. That's what chafes my ass the most. It's not so much Von's pitiful excuse for a so called "EXPERT" review and asinine scale he uses for his rating "system", but the fact that I paid for his crap when I could have gotten that type of PLANKING review from any moron, on any other writing forum, and gotten for it nothing. Let me repeat that: FOR PLANKING NOTHING. And I might add from someone who would have read a blurb about the book and had the freewill to make a choice to read the excerpt and not made to.
WeBook does not deliver on it's promises. Instead, we are left with a system that fails us on so many levels it's disheartening. What's worse, is that we paid to find ourselves caught in this senseless trap. UnPLANKING Believable.
Posted: 9/11/2011 7:06 PM PDT
Seriously, Stuart - you need to cut loose and stop internalizing so much. Oh - and from now on when I want to say a bad word, instead of "bleep", I'm going to use "plank"
So - are you planking kidding me? I've rated almost 700 planking entries, have 35 ongoing projects, have had 6 subs make it to R3...opps, make that 7, as I have one that made it but I haven't subbed yet, 2 currently in R2 at 71% and 76%, and 1 that made the Final Round....and I have NOT been invited to rate Round 3 subs but the planking cross-eyed mouse did??
Posted: 9/11/2011 5:30 PM PDT
Matt 7:1-3 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite...
The problem I have is that you shouldn't be rating round 3s AT ALL (and not JUST because you suck at it, because let's face it... you do), but because you're "qualifications" OR PLANKS are deplorably inadequate at best. Half of which are WeBook's fault, I know. Just because some bumbling, cross-eyed mouse happened to work their way through a maze and pull a handle for some cheese, doesn't mean they belong in the thing. There are better selections of raters out there. The standards for who gets to rate and the reasons why they are there and what is expected of them, should be more clearly defined. The fact you've never gotten anything through any round on the WeBook site is a MONUMENTAL freaking clue that you CAN'T write. So, now...now I got some idiot who can't write rating my writing. Talk about the blind leading the blind. THAT'S STUPID ON SO MANY LEVELS I COULD WRITE A THESIS ON IT. AND GATHERING FROM YOUR REPLIES HERE, YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND THAT EITHER.
Clearly, your own writing wouldn't warrant you a position on anything. Your ability to review is poor at best. Your Christian values are biased ones. You even made the general statement of something like... the language was such a turnoff from the beginning that you almost didn't finish it. That tells me right there your frame of mind is that because it has F-bombs in it, it already RATES LOW ON THE STUPID SCALE YOU MENTIONED. THE REAL PROBLEM GOES BEYOND THE FACT THAT YOU SUCK. THE SYSTEM SUCKS FOR ALLOWING YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A FORUM TO SUCK SO MUCH WORSE.
Posted: 9/10/2011 9:11 PM PDT
You haven't heard of it, Squirrel? It's kind of like that place that old elephants go to die....but in this case, it's aspring writers.
Posted: 9/10/2011 9:00 PM PDT
What's this about an Aging Showcase?
Posted: 9/10/2011 8:29 PM PDT
No problem. I had the same semantics issue, too, as did Von and Squirrel. I guess we're all in the same boat.
Posted: 9/10/2011 8:18 PM PDT
Gee, thanks for splaining things to me. See, I only writes stoopid romances with stoopid premises that includes...s.e.x....gasp. But I'll be sure to look up semantics in the dicshunary so I'm better edgecated next time and can maybe get some of them Expert Raters to "like" my sub. Wouldn't want to miss out on that fabulous Agent Showcase.
Posted: 9/10/2011 7:25 PM PDT
Kim, Von and Squirrel came to a consensus, and what it came down to is what Squirrel and I were saying is very close (not exact) to how Von does things, but communication broke down over semantics.
Von did not downgrade Stuart's book because of religious reasons. He downgraded it because of the jumping timeline. It confused him. It's because of the jumping timeline that Von didn't "like it". It's that phrase which caused the confusion in semantics, but when it came down to it, the writing didn't pull him in because he was confused.
Posted: 9/10/2011 7:00 PM PDT
As an "Expert Rater", more is expected of you than R1 or R2 raters. Obviously, you are unable or unwilling to live up to those expectations. I don't like reformed, Christian viewpoints, or sci-fi, or fantasy - but my personal preference for a genre does not factor into the way I rate because I don't think it's right to downgrade on that basis. I don't know if you're just not getting the point or you're so into your Christian viewpoint you can't see past it - either way, it's like talking to a brick wall.
Posted: 9/10/2011 6:44 PM PDT
Nope, not kidding.
I think it is rather stupid, personally, to be so extremely limited on content that you will only read and rate highly stories about unicorns. But, on the other hand, I don't think we need to whine about things not being 'fair' when we have people rate our stories and include content as one of their factors, maybe even their only factor.
If I chose to write books from an extreme, reformed, Christian viewpoint I can't very well complain when all of the atheists, Jews, and liberals hate my books, can I? Or if I write hard sci-fi I can't complain against people that like space opera.
Posted: 9/10/2011 6:36 PM PDT
You're kidding, right??
When reviewing someone else's work, consideration should be given to many factors: how is the writing, spelling, grammer, is it original, does the dialogue read like a real conversation, are the characters three dimensional, etc. In your scenario, if I happen to hate unicorns, it's completely fair to desregard other aspects of the novel and give it a low score!
Posted: 9/10/2011 6:21 PM PDT
My question would be why you don't think this was 'fair'? You didn't like it, given. I wouldn't like it, if the case was reversed. But how did her reaction not reflect reality? There are many, perhaps most, readers that, confronted with that kind of thing, would, indeed, 'not want to read that'.
A book about the details of organizing a basketball team might be the best written thing since 'Leave it to Psmith', but, if nobody wants to read that, that may well be reflected in the rating.
It seems like you really have the idea that 'content' should be irrelevant to our writing. IMO content is, like spelling, grammar, characterizations or whatever, are all part of what goes together to make up the book. You could have, instead, written a fantasy story about a girl riding a unicorn in search of a lost prince. You didn't. You made a content decision... that that reader didn't like. The content of the book was your decision, their reaction to that content was theirs.
Posted: 9/10/2011 6:13 PM PDT
I've got about two more cents worth...just a prime example of getting downgraded without having given the story a chance. One of my novels is about a woman who was assaulted at the age of 15 and is blind as a result. One of the comments that was left on a low score was, "You're a good writer, but this is horrific - I don't want to read this."
The thing is, the novel does NOT revolve around the attack or go into gory detail about what happened, but focuses on the struggle to adjust to a life blindness and overcoming her fears so she can put the past behind her. The rater obviously had an aversion to the subject of sexual assault, but by not reading further, the novel was judged on a preconceived notion of what it was about. I wasn't downgraded for my writing - but for the subject matter!
It is frustrating, to say the least, because all any of us want is a fair assessment of our writing, regardless of personal preferences or issues with the content.
Posted: 9/10/2011 6:09 PM PDT
I like writing in first person too.
As for the '2', again, I think we should use all of our numbers at each stage and, in this particular case, the 'readability' issues we have been talking about were seriously handicapping for me. I spent pretty much the whole book basically lost as to what was going on. So, while I might agree with you that the various bits of the story themselves were pretty well written... it was, for me, like a puzzle with nice pieces that I can't figure out how to put together. I was lost. That, for me, is a two.
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:50 PM PDT
Ok, I lied. Here's my last post tonight, taking it back to Weight of Glass. I haven't read his 50-page entry, so I don't know if it is successful or not, but I have read enough of his other work to know that he is aware of good writing and that he works toward real characters with internal flaws and external obstacles, that he cares about creating a mood and atmosphere and creating tension. If he is not successful at it, I think a 2 is a harsh judgement. I reserve a 2 for writing that has serious flaws in its goals as well as its execution, flat characters, no drives, no conflict, no world. I give a 1 to work by writers that don't appear to know what they are doing at all, or don't care and seem merely self-indulgent. I give a 3 to work that is merely competent, but doesn't have anything special. I give a 4 to work that has something fresh or interesting, with good characters, but something is missing or they have some problem to solve. Obviously I give a 5 to work that is the same as the 4 but without the problems.
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:35 PM PDT
Last post of the night. One of the reasons I reacted against the use of "like" as a standard of judging is that I have seen, in a number of forum threads here on WEbook, commenters say essentially: "When I see a story in the first-person, I give it a one." Obviously they don't "like" the first-person voice. I happen to write almost exclusively in the first-person, so I find that an abhorrent reason for rating down stories. It is perhaps an extreme example, but a cautionary one. And if they were rating in Round 3, with only 10 votes deciding the outcome, it would be more unfair than if there were 140 votes total. I just think "like" is a slippery slope. 'Nuff said.
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:33 PM PDT
I'm basically with you... except for me if it does repulse me, the author needs to make sure I don't stay merely repulsed. Where is the hero come to save me? Where is the growth in the main character to make it worth while. Sheer repulsion, well, let's just say I don't like it ;)
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:22 PM PDT
Yes. By real, I didn't mean exhaustive. More like, have I forgotten that I'm sitting on a chair in my living room reading a book. Am I in a vividly created world with a character who seems to take on his/her own life. What that character does or says may shock me or repulse me, but if it seems to be genuine, I recognize that that is a writer's achievement, and not an easy one. Too often writing is flat and glib, or centered on the writer's own self-pleasure. So when I read something that seems real (meaning that I'm drawn into to) I give it credit. Not quite the same as "like" but I'll drop the point.
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:07 PM PDT
>>if you didn't like a character who committed incest, or a character who plotted revenge for incest, you would rate the book down.
Well, hopefully no one would like the character who committed incest. And hopefully everyone would be 'turned off' by that. Doesn't mean the book can't still be a great one... if the author understands our dislike and uses it to make the book work.
I didn't downrate the incest book because of the incest. I downrated it because of the story flow. And the language.
One area where we do disagree, perhaps, is this glorification of 'real'. Quite frankly 'real' doesn't make an appealing story. A good story takes real things and frames them, brings out the signfigant bits, leaves out the unimportant bits, clarifies the tensions, etc. How many of our books include, 'then I went to the bathroom' for example...with graphic detail. That just doesn't make a good story.
Good fiction is 'realer' than life. I paints in more vivid colors, brings forth the important contrasts, tensions, etc. None of us want a 'fake' character, but we don't really want a 'real' one either... not truly. All those hours of boredom? No way.
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:02 PM PDT
>>There is a difference between "Do I like this?" and "Does this draw me in?"
We are probably a lot closer than we seem, then, because this is very close to what I mean by 'do I like it'. This is what Iisted, earlier:
1) For one page entries: Would I turn the page? If I want to read on and give it a three or below, I consider that cheating. Or the reverse.
5) For five page entries: Would I buy or check out this book? ditto above
6) For fifty + pages, "Would I recommend this book to a friend." ditto above
Now, there may be some clash. You might try to objectify yourself and be 'drawn in' in spite of the harsh language on the first page, or the graphic rape in the first chapter. Me, not.
Let me give an example of something where we might even agree. Was reading a recent entry that was basically focused on a four year old girl. Was actually finding it a bit hard to read because it so successfully focused on the four year old... very much from that point of view. I was definitely drawn in, despite the difficulty.
Suddenly we are in the middle of graphic sex between an adulterous couple. Now, even leaving aside the graphic sex, and the adultery, what happened to my four year old perspective? It wasn't like we were with the four year old watching the sex, either. The four year old was completely off scene!
So there, even leaving aside the graphic sex and the adultery for me, the story was broken. My four year old perspective was broken, lost. Add to that that I didn't want the sex or adultery in the first place, and the author lost this reader. If it had been a book about the adults, about the adultery, then it wouldn't have been nearly the same break... even if I didn't want the graphic sex I might have been able to look past it and still be drawn in.
Posted: 9/10/2011 5:01 PM PDT
Just read your previous response. Maybe we're dealing with semantics. Still, somehow I got the impression that if you didn't like a character who committed incest, or a character who plotted revenge for incest, you would rate the book down. I'm just saying that's not enough reason. An author shouldn't be required to only create characters we like (otherwise books would be like situation comedies -- bland), but to create characters that are real and whom we may follow despite ourselves. Maybe that's what you're saying too. Maybe it's the word "like" that is the problem. It can be much more restrictive and arbitrary in other hands.
Posted: 9/10/2011 4:52 PM PDT
btw, I agree with you (von1) that this isn't English writing class. In fact, spelling and grammar are one of the last and least things I consider when rating. Even poorly constructed sentences can be overcome. When I talk about applying standards to the writing, I don't mean syntax and punctuation.
But the question when reading a work should not be "Do I like it" but rather "Does it seem real?" Do these characters come alive? Is a world being created? Does that world have depth? Even a Vampire Fantasy takes place in a time and place with characters. Do I believe it in the context of the story? Or are they cardboard cutouts that merely fulfill plot requirements in a sterile parking lot of a fictional world? There is a difference between "Do I like this?" and "Does this draw me in?"
I'm funny. I can't stand gangster films or movies that glorify criminals. Yet even I will recognize that The Godfather is a great movie. It's not on my favorites list, and I still don't even like it. But I can see the quality in it and I would never rate it a 2 because I don't "like" it. You might say that "Well, millions of people do like it, so my 2 wouldn't affect its final score," but WEbook doesn't have millions of people reading each of our entries. And with only 10 votes, the outcomes for the Academy Awards might be quite different.
Posted: 9/10/2011 4:47 PM PDT
>> This doesn't have to do with "liking" it, but is the writing well done, have they told their story well.
I think this sentence illustrates one reason, at least, why we are disagreeing. You see, to me, that is about 'liking' it. A well told story, even a story we might not otherwise like, is a well told story... and I, and others, will 'like' it more than the same genre poorly told.
On your point about webook, truly, not my problem. If webook, for some reason known only to them, just use ten people per book, then that is their problem. My problem, as a rater, is to rate the book. My track record, at least according to the WB staff guidelines that they used to pick me, is that I have a tendency to rate about what other people, or the professionals, rate. Some higher, some lower, some way off... a lot on.
And, in the end, I personally think what you are suggesting is impossible... at least the way people here have listed it. If I remember correctly one person complained and, in their complaint said, "I went and read a lot of other romance novels and many of them did the same thing..." Well, seriously? And someone who normally reads Sci-fi and Hist Fic is supposed to know that? A Sci-fi book, popular, great author, might start a chapter with a literal couple pages out of an encyclopedia. I, personally, don't expect readers of erotica to know that.
However the reader of erotica, reading through the sci-fi book might say, "Hey, I don't like sci-fi, and I have never seen anybody start a chapter with an encyc entry before, but it really worked with the story and entranced me about what is going on..."
So, I think you may have misunderstood what I mean by 'I liked it'... which seems to be much broader than what you seem to feel. I have managed to 'like' stories well outside my genre. But, in the end, that is the way I rate.
Posted: 9/10/2011 4:38 PM PDT
As usual, the amazing Squirrel is spot on.
Posted: 9/10/2011 4:30 PM PDT
Again, Round 3 gets 10 votes. In no system is 10 votes capable of standing-in as a representation of the general reading public. Those 10 votes are supposed to be more informed. If I ask 10 scientists what they think of global warming, it has a lot more meaning than if I ask 10 people off the street what they think. Ostensibly, the scientists bring an informed decision, applying standards of logic, replicability, precedence, etc.; whereas, the random public sampling merely tells you their likes. And even then, 10 random samplings are not enough to say you can extrapolate to a general public opinion. But 10 scientists might be enough to predict a consensus. So the quality of the standards brought to the decision are what is important.
I also think you are incorrect about "publishable." The reading audience has shrunk and many/most publishers are not looking for a mass-market general appeal blockbuster (which in some respects, gets to the lowest common denominator theory). Most books now appeal to niche markets. That's why there are genres and specialty aisles in the bookstore. Otherwise, publishers and bookdealers would just pile the books up in the middle of the store and everyone could sift through. But that's not what happens. People who like mystery/crime go the the Mystery/Crime aisle. People who like science-fiction go to the Sci-Fi aisle. If a Gothic Vampire Romance reader doesn't like my Comedy Romance (not my genre, btw, just an example), does that matter at all? Is that relevant in any way to the niche market that does like Comedy Romance and might like my book? Obviously the answer is no.
But WEbook is not set up as a representative sampling of the reading public, and they do not poll enough people to give representative results. We, as readers, are supposed to step outside our genres, step outside our "likes" and apply our specialized knowledge as writers (or as extensive readers) to work we might not ever consider reading. Does it have good characters, who strive for something or are overcoming something. Do they have a goal. Is there a conflict? Is this something fresh? Can I predict the outcome? This doesn't have to do with "liking" it, but is the writing well done, have they told their story well. Those are valid reasons for rating. Some of the 5's in my Round 3 submission came from people who began with "I would never pick this up in a bookstore" or "This is not my genre." Yet I'm glad they didn't dismiss it out of the block.
Someone shouldn't rate Crime and Punishment poorly because the main character commits a callous murder and they find that amoral. But does the character come alive? If Raskolnikov seems cliched and cardboard, then give it a 1 or 2, but never because you don't think a main character should commit a crime.
So your "likes" are irrelevant unless you can apply some more objective standard to sussing out quality writing. I may like what you don't, but hopefully we can both recognize good and bad writing, at least. You may say, "If enough people 'like' something, that shows it's good." But enough people aren't reading these works. As I said, only 10 in Round 3. So popular consensus can't be the goal. Informed judgement is the goal.
Posted: 9/10/2011 3:57 PM PDT
>>One other quick note. The question "Is this publishable?" is not at all the same as "Do I personally want this published, especially for moral reasons?" One implies objective standards of writing, the other deals with idiosyncratic preferences.
If by 'publishable' you mean 'will sell in the real world' then, I hate to disappoint you, but, that is also based on idiosyncratic preferences... that of millions of potential readers.
And, if you read my earlier answer, I said that I did my best to eliminate 'do I want this published' and concentrate on 'do I like it'... ie did the book, even a book I might not ever pick up for moral or other reasons, draw me in by its writing?
Posted: 9/10/2011 3:53 PM PDT
>>the thought is that the readers at Round 3 level are capable of giving good and detailed feedback on all work
Actually I didn't think that this is why we were picked. My understanding was that we were picked because a) we reviewed a lot and b) our reviews tended to reflect the opinions of others: ie when we gave somebody a five a lot of other people thot the book was great and contrariwise for one's, etc. Especially if our ratings matched that of the professionals. Certainly no one ever saw my 'good and detailed feedback' before I was picked. No one even talked to me. If they had, I would have told them exactly what I am telling you now: that I review based on what I like. That there were subjects, and genre's, that I hated... like I imagine everyone has, and that a book in that genre or covering that subject would have to work especial hard to draw me in.
But that, as I understand it, reflects reality. People buy, or don't buy, books on the same criteria. So a book that gets through me is a book that, assuming other people pass it as well, has a good chance of being bought, read, and recommended out in the real world.
Posted: 9/10/2011 3:42 PM PDT
One other quick note. The question "Is this publishable?" is not at all the same as "Do I personally want this published, especially for moral reasons?" One implies objective standards of writing, the other deals with idiosyncratic preferences.
Posted: 9/10/2011 3:39 PM PDT
No, not a 'quota' system, but if we are only to give fours or fives to people at a certain level, then why have the other grades? How do we distinguish between the entries? My fours and fives at round three are... round three fours and round three fives... books that stand out at that level. My ones and twos are likewise; books that didn't shine compared to other entries at that level. No, it wouldn't mean that the first two levels were worthless, it would mean that this was a higher level. Someone that scores an 8.5 in highschool diving would not expect to score an 8.5 for the same dive in the Olympics.
Sorry you don't like my methodology, but you haven't convinced me. As I say, this is not college English class, where I would grade on technical merit. And, as I say, I read everything, even outside my genres, and things outside my genres that draw me in anyway get the appropriate rating. But in the end, out in the real world, a book is being judged by 'do I like it?'. Did the author force me to like their book? Were the characters so interesting, the plot so compelling, the word choice so exquisite that, will me nill me, I read the book. When I pass a book to an agent it is my way of saying, "Hey, I would like to read this book out in the 'real world'."
As I say I would like to see a system where any reader could read any distance in any book. I think the current system is strained... almost contest like... instead of, as advertised, 'page to fame'... write us one page that draws us, five pages that keep us, and fifty pages that entrance us. I would pass anyone to the agents who managed to get ten percent of all readers to keep reading to the end of fifty pages. Any book in the real world that managed to get ten percent of regular readers to buy it would be a best-seller.
Posted: 9/10/2011 3:12 PM PDT
Von, I find the whole premise of your answer flawed. First, when you say:
"So just because something got to round three doesn't mean I think it 'must be worth' a certain rating. I think that, in general, raters should give as many ones as fives, as many fours as twos. ... not just alternate between fours and fives."
The idea that raters should operate on some sort of quota system -- "Hmm, I've given a few fours, I'd better hand out some twos to even it out..." is disturbing. Work should be judged on its own value, and I believe the premise of the site is that work has been sifted and validated through Rounds 1 and 2, so ideally you are seeing the cream of the crop by Round 3. I would be surprised to come across something that merited a 1 or 2 at that stage. It would mean that the first two rounds were essentially worthless. Obviously, there are exceptions: a work can fall down after its initial opening burst, etc.
But your main point, that work here should be judged by "Do I like it?" is a poor methodology. If WEbook were conducting a control study and guaranteed a demographically representative reading audience, you might have some validity. But this site seems to be skewed to certain genres and ages. So someone who likes paranormal gothic vampire romances should give a 1 or 2 to everything else? Maybe, if there are also enough raters who like literary fiction or historical drama or mystery/crime. But WEbook is not a mini-sample of the general public and shouldn't be gathering a popularity poll on the submitted work. Even pollsters use a complicated screening process to put together their mix of participants so the poll has meaning and isn't simply arbitrary. And a poll of only 100 people would be considered wildly inaccurate. So the idea that Round 3 is a poll of what readers like is wrong. The reading is supposed to be more in-depth than that.
And Round 3 only gets 10 votes -- that's certainly not enough for a representative sampling of individual "likes" to even out. It can be too easily skewed by one or two outlier opinions. That's why not all WEbook members are allowed to read and rate Round 3 -- the thought is that the readers at Round 3 level are capable of giving good and detailed feedback on all work (which is why it's not sorted by genre) regardless of their preferences. I've read comments on these forums that some people give a 1 to anything written in the first-person voice. I guess they don't "like" it. But hopefully, those people aren't rating in Round 3.
Posted: 9/10/2011 10:12 AM PDT
(The main question then becomes, "Is it publishable?)
Well, if anything you are making it worse. Indeed, I try to stay away, emotionally, from this issue. Because otherwise I might get really, seriously, subjective and ask myself 'do I want this published?' IE I might throw my scores in favor of books I wanted published, and against those I don't... morally speaking.
In the end I think my ratings are 'fair'. The standards I use are, in the end, the same ones that readers will... as you point out. In the end what isn't 'fair' is the system. I truly would like to see a system where every book got it's whole 50 pages on, and reviewers could to go one, then five, then fifty... as they chose, instead of letting the general audience choose. That way those of us that want to read a certain kind of book, or even a certain book, could do so. And if even ten percent of reviewers chose to read all the way through fifty pages, well, that should be a book that was elevated, IMO.And, in the end, everyone would have a chance to get all of their fifty pages read, at least by someone, as opposed to so many getting cut off at one page.
It is true that I (and everyone) will be biased in favor of stuff they 'would read' normally. But I, at least, don't quit easily and, as a result find Gems. "The Daughter of the Guillotine', for example, is a book I would never have picked up... but is probably the best book I have read on the site... winning it's way past my prejudices (I HATE the French revolution), because of its excellent writing, characterization, plot, etc.
Other books have instinctively drawn me in and then failed to promise on what they delivered. Books in my genre, books with a plot idea I liked. So, in the end, I think I rate 'fairly'.
Oh, another issue. I tend to restart each level. So just because something got to round three doesn't mean I think it 'must be worth' a certain rating. I think that, in general, raters should give as many ones as fives, as many fours as twos. ... not just alternate between fours and fives.
Posted: 9/10/2011 9:42 AM PDT
(And, it must be said, on the book we are discussing, the thing that I really, really didn't like was how much it jumped around time wise. I became unable to follow the story, thus the emotions, thus the characters, because I never knew when or who I was.)
That's exactly what I told everyone is the reason you didn't like it, and not for the reasons perceived. I had the same problem, too until I paid closer attention. BTW, the other reviews point out the same thing, so it's something Stuart will have to take a closer look at.
Von, I can see where you're coming from. When you go to a bookstore, you look around for something you want to read. You go to the section of the bookstore where the books you like are shelved. You look at titles (possibly), back cover blurbs, and the first few pages and wonder if you'll like it. Unless it was already recommended or a well-loved author, everyone chooses books like that.
The major difference between choosing books to read for pleasure, information, etc. vs. a contest is the books in the contest aren't published. The main question then becomes, "Is it publishable?" If so, why? If not, why not? Not everything that is published or publishable is going to be liked by everyone. I don't like romances, and I detest erotica, but I still ask myself, "Is this publishable?" (BTW, if I think something is publishable, but I personally don't like it, I usually give a 4 if all the elements are in place- good writing, tension on every page, good characters). I admit a certain amount of bias towards certain stories. I mentioned earlier that I read a published book two years ago that was horribly written. It probably deserved a 2 because of the writing and terrible, flat characterizations, but I read it anyway instead of putting it down on page 1. Why? I loved the story. I still can't believe Zondervan published it, though.
I give detailed critiques to help my fellow writers improve their craft because it's more than just simply a contest. If that's all it were, there would be no reason for feedback. The purpose of feedback is to help each other improve. That's another way in which this is different from selecting a book off the shelf.
Posted: 9/10/2011 8:13 AM PDT
There is no 'pass' button for round three raters. Once you have downloaded the file it says :
Once you download the file, you will not be able to skip to another Round 3 submission until you enter your review.
And, of course, I wouldn't know who wrote it until I had downloaded it, would I? Nor would I know about your 'buffo' names or sexual content.
And, btw, I have read some of your stuff. Past page one, too.
As for your 'judge fairly' we obviously have different ideas as to what that means. This isn't college English class. Again, my classification for writing is:
1) For one page entries: Would I turn the page? If I want to read on and give it a three or below, I consider that cheating. Or the reverse.
5) For five page entries: Would I buy or check out this book? ditto above
6) For fifty + pages, "Would I recommend this book to a friend." ditto above
Indeed, I would make it so you can't even read on unless you give a four or five. It seems, to me, that you are lying. Perhaps I am too much influenced by the site 'flogging the quill'.
I have no intention of 'setting' aside anything. Except, as I mentioned, any personal animosity I might feel toward the author (which is easy to set aside, as I pay no attention to the authors name). I give a very honest, fair, rating based upon exactly what I say I rate on... "did I like it?" It is the first thing I ask anyone that reads my books, and, IMO, what will best predict sales... not 'did Von like it' but 'did the various readers like it'... 'how many of t hem loved it?'
(And, it must be said, on the book we are discussing, the thing that I really, really didn't like was how much it jumped around time wise. I became unable to follow the story, thus the emotions, thus the characters, because I never knew when or who I was.)
Posted: 9/10/2011 7:15 AM PDT
And I repeat - you cannot possibly judge fairly on the grounds of "did I like it" if you do not like the genre or take instant offense to language or sexual content. You have to be able to set that aside - which you clearly do not do and clearly have no intention of doing.
Just do me a favor and push the "pass" button when my sub comes up because I can guarantee you'll be "off put" by the sexual content and el buffo names of my male characters.
Posted: 9/10/2011 6:03 AM PDT
>>then you cannot possibly be objective when rating.
I am not trying to be 'objective' when rating. I thought I made that clear. No reader will be 'objective' when reading... how does it help writers if raters are 'objective'. 'Did I like it' is precisely the rating that will matter when the book hits the shelves... did I like the first page enough to turn to the next... did I like the first five enough to buy the book... did I like the book enough when I'd read it to recommend it to my friends.
Now, if what you mean by 'subjective' is whether I like/dislike the author or have 'butted heads' with him in the past; then I plead innocence. I don't even remember the names of authors on this site (except Rudyard Kipling, I remembered him).
I read the page/pages/excerpt and tell you... if I liked it. If the combination of the various factors: quality, plot, character, moral tone, etc etc. led me to ... like it.
Posted: 9/9/2011 11:15 PM PDT
von1 - you're right, there really are no "rules' regarding how you rate a sub. I do, however, find a major flaw in your standard use of "did I like it?" - If you don't care for the genre or the use of what you personally consider "off-putting" language, then you cannot possibly be objective when rating. Quite frankly, I am "off-put" to know you would score someone a 4 because you "liked it" even though the author didn't bother to take the time to spell check or submitted a horribly grammered piece. In PTF, the writers should be submitting pieces that are polished and ready to present to agents as such.
I'd like to believe that when a person takes on the responsibility of rating someone else's work, they could at the very least try to maintain objectivity, regardless of their own personal preferances. Obviously, you feel it is a license to slice and dice or in some cases reward sloppy work. You can ask anyone that's been on the forums - there was a time when Weight of Glass and I head bashed at every encounter. I'd never read his work, so when his sub happened to pop up for rating I fully expected to hate it because of my own hard feelings towards him.
I gave it a 5.
No, it was not a genre I would have chosen, but it is a phenominal piece and it deserved an unbiased rating. I gained a hell of a lot of respect for WoG - if I could write like that I'd be patting myself on the back and calling myself a freaking genius. Maybe you should consider the "quality" of your reviews and try to grasp the concept that as an R3 rater it is your responsibility to be objective and leave the rather flippant "did I like it" system to the R1 and R2 raters.
Posted: 9/9/2011 7:50 PM PDT
Well, I'm not going to rebut your rebuttal of my review... nor comment on your opinion of my quality of writing.
What I am going to comment on is the underlying assumption that most of you seem to be making about the nature of reviews. To the best of my knowledge there is no particular law or rule as to how reviews are to be made. Most people seem to assume that there is some kind of rule that reviewers have to judge books based on some kind of set of objective criteria: quality of writing, etc.
Well, that's not the standard I use. I use 'did I like it?'. Sure, quality helps. Even the most off-putting book may draw you in (a bit) if it is particularly well written... if the word choice etc. is particularly good, the plot especially deep, the characterization intriguing.
But, in the end, books sell, and are read and enjoyed, by whether people like them. Whether they go to their friends and neighbors and say, "You've just got to read this book!" And so, perhaps as the odd man out, that is how I review the books here. Sure, I comment on the other things, but my one through five goes to 'did I like it'. I will give a poorly spelled, horribly grammered book with a story line I really love a four. And I will give, well, your book a two. Because I didn't like it. Because I would tell all of my friends, "No, you shouldn't read this book. It may have been technically OK, I really didn't notice, but I didn't like it and I don't think you will either."
As for why I am doing this... well, because I like reading. I have, what, some 900+ reviews?
As for how you knew I wrote the review... perhaps it was because I have started signing my reviews?
Oh, and by the way, there is a famous book, by a world famous author, that webook threw on the site just for fun. And, guess what? It didn't get rave reviews. And I'm sure Rudyard Kipling just doesn't care... (Oh, and BTW, I loved that book, gave it a five, it is one of my favorite books, I read it over again every couple of years).
Posted: 9/8/2011 10:09 PM PDT
Weight - I received two 2's on my Round 3 submission. One said they're "simply not interested in the genre and downloaded my file by mistake." The other 2-rater gave a long and detailed review. I didn't agree with much of it, but it was well-considered on their part. But if I had to guess what rating they gave based on their review, I would never have guessed a 2. It seemed harsher than their feedback warranted. And I'm stuck in Round 3 even though I've had 10 votes (@70%) for two months.
But even so, I feel much better about the Round 3 ratings and feedback than I do about the Round 1 process, which seems completely arbitrary. I can't tell you how many of my Round 1 subs are marked for "spelling and grammar" when I know they are near flawless in that regard at least.
Posted: 9/5/2011 12:57 PM PDT
Skyval - I agree with you in that a story can fall part after 5 pages. On the other hand, someone who stopped reading after 10 pages and thinks they have read enough to review the story ought to reconsider how dedicated they are to the task they accepted. If a story can fall apart, it can also pick up - by not reading the entire sub, the rater is not giving the writer a fair shot. I think we've all been told at one point or another that a section of our story seemed to lag behind - wouldn't it be much more constructive to read all the way through to see if it was just a particular spot that needed jazzing up?
And, I know you don't care for romances, or the POV switches, or my style particularly - but you took the time to tell me what did or didn't work for you, and to acknowledge it probably did work for people who were fans of the genre. Your reviews were helpful and I believe it's because you truly want your fellow writers to succeed - your own personal dislikes of the language or sexual content didn't factor into it. That is what earns you respect as a rater - no, you're not an expert but you do give good, sound advise on improving the writing.
As for the agent reviews - after the one I got saying she "didn't like women who relied on a man to tell them they are beautiful", I have to agree, their opinion would be their opinion. I think we're all pretty much burned out on PTF - it's nice to have some in depth critiques, but I think the reason we all put in subs was to have a chance at getting notice by an agent. Since the agents seemed to have gone into hiding and WeBook has yet to make a decision on the Final Round, what is the purpose??
Posted: 9/5/2011 9:22 AM PDT
I get why you're rocked by this, Stuart. While I did well in Round 3 (out of 14 reviews) I did get one 2. The review wasn't helpful at all. The guy (seemed like a guy) just clearly didn't like the writing style and indicated he'd stopped at page 10. Okay, I get that. We all get at least one like that. The consensus on the other 13 reviews, however, not only boosted my morale, but most every one picked up on things I can really use. Hopefully you'll get something constructive from other reviews.
I'm pretty sure the guy who gave you a 2 rated mine a 4 so he does give out higher ratings sometimes. He made it clear he didn't like the "harsh language" and subject matter, but he did set that aside.
That being said, I can't buy that just because an entry makes it to Round 3, it deserves any type of rating out of the gate. But it does deserve a review outlining why a rating was given. If a rater has previously rated an entry, they've only read Page 1 and then Pages 1-5. That's 45 more pages for the entry to fall apart and I've rated a lot that have really fallen apart after page 5. (My opinion of course.)
Haven't rated yours on Webook although I read it previously. You may have made changes since then. I rated a lot of Round 3's for whatever my opinion is worth to the writer, but I'm pretty jaded on Webook at the moment and have fallen behind on rating. Guess I should get back in there because I know the writers in Round 3 have invested a tremendous amount of time in this and would like to get reviewed, even if it's by a sorry excuse for a writer like me!
And, NO one is an expert. Not a Webook Round 3 rater, an agent, or even a so-called professional. All a matter of opinion on anyone's part. But on Webook, the only reviews you get in Round 3 are from other unpubbed writers so all we can do is take them as they come. I'm disappointed that we aren't getting an agent review after elevating just because that'd be cool, but still, their opinion would be their opinion.
Posted: 9/3/2011 5:56 PM PDT
Stuart, I'm a conservative reformed Christian. My beliefs are very important to me. So important I am not me without them. However, my characters are flawed, the people in the Bible are seriously flawed. I can also read and rate objectively. I admit, your book is right up my alley (pardon the cliche) because I eat up stories about buried family secrets. I love that stuff. In fact, two years ago I read a book that was horribly written, but it had to do with family secrets and I couldn't put it down. But other stuff I don't devour as readily, I have still rated objectively. I have rated round 3 submissions that fly in the face of my Puritanical views on sexuality, but I still focus on writing and characterization when I review. I wouldn't read it for pleasure, but I am always objective. I don't think I'm the only Christian who can be.
The biggest flaw I saw in the rater's review is that he did insert his own enjoyment as a basis for the review, and he should have put that aside. Perhaps, that is also how he missed the very things he was confused about. It was obvious he was confused about not just the timeline, but also the number of children and what happened to the mother -- all things that were clearly mentioned in the 50 page sample.
Posted: 9/3/2011 3:40 PM PDT
I never said they threw Christianity out there as a crutch for their review; they didn't have to. Once you dug down enough into who they are, what they write and what they BLOG about, it became VERY apparent the nature of my book would not fall within their religious upbringing, values or TOPICS for discussion. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to put those two things together. THEN you can begin to isolate the more stupid comments derived from their review and the fact that they are biased and jaded.
On another note, thanks for the review Lanette. I appreciate it.
Posted: 9/3/2011 1:46 PM PDT
I saw the review. He didn't throw his religion around at all as the basis of not liking it, nor did he criticize the fact that a preacher is the villain, nor did he criticize the lesbian character. I do, however, disagree with him on characterization since the characters are broken and the writing shows that. As to the plot bouncing around, that confused me too the first time I read the entire book, which I also mentioned in my initial critique. If someone doesn't realize the italics are the sister's memoir and not notice the dates, the book can be very confusing. However, this time I paid closer attention to things like the top of the page when it showed it was a particular character's memoir, and the date at the start of one chapter was 1991 -- something extremely imortant I missed the first time which really threw me and the reason I thought it deserved a 4 instead of a 5. Having read the whole book before and having a much clearer sense of what was going on and reading subtle clues I missed before, I changed my perspective.
If anyone is wondering, I read this book and reviewed it through a different website several months ago. I read and loved it before I barely knew the author's name.
I can't imagine such beautiful writing deserving a 2, and I think the rater did you a great disservice by relying on personal tastes instead of rating it objectively (see what I wrote to all raters above), but there was nothing in his review about the book being anti-Christian.
Posted: 9/3/2011 6:19 AM PDT
Ah, Stuart…I have waited so long for someone else to express the frustration I’ve been feeling since my first sub hit Round 3. I applaud everything you’ve said and, having read your work, I can honestly say – no, it is not my genre, but it IS solid, quality writing that should never have gotten a score that low.
WeBook staff could also take some responsibility in this –perhaps one of the qualifications should be that you have to have a sub that at least made it to Round 2. Because, I have to ask how well the current system is working if a person can get all the way to R3 and end up with a score of 2 on their sub??
I had 5 subs make it to R3 only to bomb out because of people like little Miss Christian who use this opportunity to express their own personal beliefs when judging someone else’s work. Has anyone else here had that many subs make it into R3?? I got hammered for switching POV – something perfectly acceptable in romance writing. I got slammed for writing “soft core porn” – right…blow me. And I got asinine comments like:
“I read about halfway. The premise is not one I’m particularly interested in.” – really?? Then why did you even read it?
In response to the name of a MC, Colt Strickland: “…a name which dispelled the illusion for me immediately. It may as well have been Buck Magnum, Rhett Mustang, or SuperMan Toughguy.” – Yes, we should all downgrade a novel because we don’t like the name of the freaking main character.
“In several scenes, you had a few POV switches. This was jarring and felt amateurish.” Seriously?? Pick up any Harlequin Romance, you dumbass, and you would see POV switches from sentence to sentence – but I suppose you think those published authors are amateurish too.
But the best comments left by an “Expert” rater: “You use weenie verbs.” “The premise is stupid.” Wow – now there’s someone whose opinion I can really put some stock into.
I was brought to an all time low because of people like the one who gave Stuart’s sub a 2 and almost threw in the towel on writing altogether. So I wandered to other websites and found my confidence again.
1. The sub that got a 1 by an R3 “Expert”? It is THE highest rated straight romance on TextNovel with 17,500 views and holds the #1 position by view in their annual contest.
2. The novel that WeBook staff didn’t allow into R3 with a vote of 63 even though others with lower scores made it in – ended up #2 by member votes in the annual TextNovel contest.
3. Of the all time top 20 romances on that site, 14 are mine.
4. Online-novel blog: Of the 3 novels submitted since June: All hit the “Top 3 Most Popular List” – One has held the #1 position two months in a row. The others hit #2 and #3.
5. Currently on WeBook – 7 of the top 15 romance novels on the “Read Projects” page are mine – so how is it that these so called “Experts” think they are qualified to tell me that my work isn’t good enough?? I’m sure I could come up with enough weenie verbs to express my opinon…
Lanette – I know you totally dislike sappy romances, but your reviews in R3 have always been fair and I respect your opinions because of it.
Stuart – I say we throw the Christian to the lions.
Posted: 9/3/2011 4:55 AM PDT
They told me on the review.
Posted: 9/3/2011 4:35 AM PDT
How were you able to learn who gave you that rating?
A note to all raters: When you come upon a submission that is not in your genre or is not something you would read, judge it on its qualities of writing, characterization, and pacing. Is it something that could be published? Why or why not? Do the characters have depth? Do they seem like real people? Look for tension. If it's lacking, there's a high probability it's not marketable. If there is tension on every page, there's a good possibility it could get published.
In the early days of rating Round 3s, I came upon one very well written submission that I just couldn't get through because it's not the sort of thing I would ever read, but it was close to bookshelf quality. I told the author where I stopped and why. I went over what I believed to be good about her writing and the characters; then I gave her a 4. Actually, I didn't give her a 4 because we should not think of ratings as something we give but as something the author earns. One's own self-righteousness is not the basis of another person's earnings. Do you see how that changes things?
I want to say more, but I want to rate Stuart's submission and read the comment in question before I do. I'm getting through these a lot slower than I used to.
One more thing. I realize not all raters lurk these forums, but if the person Stuart mentioned is reading this, message me. I would love to have a theological discussion. I have fantastic theological discussions with my husband all the time, but it's been awhile since I've had one with someone who has a dissenting view.
Posted: 9/3/2011 12:31 AM PDT
FACT: WeBook needs more transparency and more rules based on whom and why it selects its ROUND 3 Raters. FACT: The term “EXPERT” gets thrown around on the forums as though it has significant weight. FACT: Round 3 Raters are not “EXPERTS” at reviewing. FACT: A select portion of round 3 raters do not know what they are doing. FACT: Some (Not All) Round 3 raters milk the term “EXPERT” as though a pen with which they can say whatever they want.
And before anyone stands up on their soapbox to bark back at me, I’m going to examine the FACTS and lay the groundwork for why the rating system at “WeBook” fails miserably to live up to Round 3 expectations.
Things you cannot argue back with (because I know there coming):
A. “First off, why don’t you just leave if you don’t like it?” Answer: I paid to enter like everyone else. Secondly, you’re not the boss of the place. And third, that’s not up for debate. So, don’t do it then.
B. “What do you expect for the price?” Answer: Don’t do it then.
C. “It’s not my genre, what do you expect?” Answer: Don’t do it then.
D. “Then I want get to rate anymore. It’s not like I have a choice.” Answer: You made the choice to take on the responsibility. If you did not understand that, don’t do it then.
E. “You should respect the time I put into reading your material.” Answer: I don’t have to respect anything that hasn’t earned the pedestal with which you so gallantly hold your opinion on. You want my respect, EARN IT! Again, don’t do it then.
F. “I’m entitled to my opinion.” Answer: You are entitled to follow the “rules” as they have been laid out for reviewing and as it applies to the writing and not your life choices or biases. Because it’s not about you, it’s about the writing. If you don’t think that’s the case, don’t do it then.
Yes, for those of you still reading, I received a bad review on my ROUND 3 submission. In fact, a 2 was bestowed on my sub. The problem I have with this rating and the “Supposed Expert” review is based upon many things (which I plan to elaborate on), but primarily on the fact they should not be rating round three submissions at all. To start with, if you have a biased tendency (High Riding Christian in this case) to rate things poorly based on the fact that a sub contains: mature themes and language you don’t care for, a drunk and a lesbian for the protagonists, a rape scene, some serious revenge plotting, murder, an Antagonist that is a BAPTIST Minister who RAPES his step daughters, contains a graphic hand-job for a favor scene, THEN YOU SHOULDN’T BE RATING.
A. My very jaded reviewer began with this darling: “…it is the kind of book I would never, ever, read.” OK, I get it. It’s not your bag of tricks. But to start off by telling me you are closed minded and biased to what you have read, is to point out that it is ABOUT YOU. I don’t care that you would never, ever, read it. You signed up for this. Otherwise, quit!
B. They followed up with another beauty here: “I don’t know what people who read this kind of book expect…” Obviously you don’t, because it’s clearly something you “would never, ever, read.” So why did you? Were you made to? Did someone point a gun to your head? Guess what, they didn’t.
C. Then they follow up with a bunch of gibberish that would imply the whole plot of the story should have been revealed in the first 50 pages.
D. Then to add biased insult to injury this comes out: “The language was extremely off-putting and I almost put the book down just because of that.” So you weren’t even going to give it a chance from the get go. By the way the F-bomb is only mentioned 5 times in 50 pages. I would hardly call that OFF-PUTTING…unless your Christian Values and opinions direct every single thing you do. For those of you reading this, they do for this particular “SUPPOSED EXPERT” rater.
E. Then to finish it off: “Hopefully those who like these kind (sic) of stories will be able to give you better reviews.” That has to be the stupidest finish to any review I’ve ever received. Like you’re “praying” I get some good ones. Please, save your breath. That just makes you sound stupid.
So here’s the problem. I saw it was a poor rating and I thought OK let’s see where this is going. Then I read it and was like what the hell, this idiot didn’t need to get it in the first place (NOTE TO WEBOOK: “Control what goes where and according to a reviewer’s top 3 genres and nothing more). However, I paused to ask myself this: “Maybe this person has some background making them worthy of being able pound me into the ground with stupid nails.” So I went to their BIO page on WeBOOK. Low and behold, what did I discover? They have three webpage portals. The curtain has just been pulled back on the “Great OZ,” I thought. What you find is that one is a BLOG on Christianity. No problem with that. We need Christians. But PROBABLY NOT on WeBook rating ROUND 3 submissions when they can’t be unbiased.
Then I was like, well, let’s see what they have gotten through Page To Fame themselves. Wait for it…NOTHING! That’s right, not one single thing. No round 3. No round 2. Not even a pitiful round 1 pass. Obviously, I began to wonder why this person is reviewing anything when they can’t get votes enough on their own writing to move through any rounds. Shouldn’t we be rated by our peers? Shouldn’t we be rated in ROUND 3 by people who have been there and understand a little about what it took to make it?
But then I asked myself, “Do they have any expert writing skills themselves? I mean really sound chops with the ability to turn a phrase and hold the reader’s attention?” Luckily, they had links to their own writing; whereby, I discovered they wrote Christian based fiction. Imagine my surprise. Yet, that’s not what surprised me. Because I’ve read good, compelling Christian fiction before. The SURPRISE was that they wrote in waves of REDICULOUS PASSIVE VOICE with two-dimensional, cardboard cutout characters I could find at Wal-Mart on the School Supply isle. What I can honestly attest to is the fact that in its current condition, the material I read will not be picked up or published by anyone other than the writer themselves.
Clearly, if you are rating me a 2, I have to confess I would need negative numbers to bring you in on the bell curve.
With all that said, I’ve been reviewed by a so called “EXPERT” with no qualifications to be an expert other than they selected a few hundred matches on some writing, they can’t write themselves (not to a level entitling them to review anything on WeBook anyway), they have no understanding of the stupid amount of time it takes to get to ROUND 3, because they’ve never been there themselves (which is simply a joke in and of itself), only to have someone make dumb jaded comment after dumb jaded comment.
And if that particular person, who I have not named, comes on here thinking they’re going to make some grand rebuttal, I can assure you I will be happy to start pulling examples of your BAD writing off your sites and RED LINING them for everyone to see. Turns out I’m an EXPERT at something too.