Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reader’s expectations, meeting such, attaining goals

Reader’s expectations, meeting such, attaining goals

As written, I have found the world of Smashwords to be curious. I have posted much free stuff there, achieved a degree of notoriety judging from the many downloads, and continue to be perplexed.

‘The Power Series’, a near full length story which I posted here and then made available on both Lulu and Smashwords for free, has been panned for the second time.

I cannot fathom what the expectations are of the Smashwords readers. More importantly I have no idea of their literary tastes, knowledge of writing and their ability to distinguish style from the quality they expect to encounter.

Here are some of my unwritten warranties in offering stories...

1. Typos painstakingly minimized to the best of my ability.

By the time a story is posted or published I have read and honed probably a dozen times. Nothing is 'slapdashed’ from my wordprocessor, ever. On occasion there may be translation errors in copying text from Wordperfect to Blogspot, but even those errors I work to go back and correct.

2. Proper grammar, again to the best of my ability.

3. Minimization of profane words.

    When such do appear it will be mainly in dialogue, the utterances of a character. 


I have read and, to a certain extent, still read lots of smut. It has been a lifetime habit. I have learned what stimulates, which is a paramount goal, and what distracts. Typos, bad punctuation (no punctuation?), misuse of words (smut writers need to focus on the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’), revolting profanity, all distract. In encountering such I sometimes go into ‘edit’ mode, desiring to mark up the pages instead of relaxing and letting my eidetic mind become immersed in the storyline.

So, here is what I have encountered on Smashwords.

There seems to be a propensity to critique rather than enjoy. And a certain huffiness... ‘how dare you try to entertain me with a free story I may not like.’

The latest ‘Power Series’ review...

Overactive verbage (sic)...not impressive. Must be some ego! Did not finish.

Okay. Let’s address ‘verbage’. In proper English the word is ‘verbiage’. But the misspelling, when deliberate, is known to be used critically as in rhyming with ‘garbage’. Is the misspelling deliberate? I will not know.

So in donating a story of some 28,000 words, one which seemed to receive a good reception here on the blog, I am awarded with one succinct line.

I donate, post and offer free stuff, to make people comfortable when it comes time to purchasing a Chris Bellows story... to imply that the aforementioned warranty applies to all my stuff... to offer assurance that the base writing meets expectations which the reader acquires from the many samples... that there is value received in the exchange.    

This does not work when a reader, despite all warnings, is aghast with the storyline and subject matter, or is seeking for free the next literary masterpiece from J. D. Salinger or Margaret Mitchell.

So, I am unpublishing ‘The Power Series’ on Smashwords, downloaded 911 times after being posted there for 133 days.

It remains free on Lulu. Feel free to review it. But please take the time to give your critique substance.   


Victoria Vista said...

That's really sad CB that someone was that small minded. You must pose a threat to them. :)

I did go to LuLu and gave you two reviews. I had already told you months ago how much I enjoyed and was rocked by the Power Series and for those who like dark wild rides I have stirred them you way.

Chris Bellows said...

Thank you Victoria, as always, for your support.

And a nicely written review!



Anonymous said...

I commented earlier on your power series, and I would say it again - I loved it. Very much. I cannot presume to speak for readers (tastes vary).

I consider myself a typical adult with normal tastes (but indulges occasionally in erotic fiction). The way you wrote it, it just evokes that special feeling that makes me thing 'Wow, I don't mind being the male victim in your story'. I can't explain it (but I think you know what I mean). What I wouldn't give for just a fraction of your writing talent.

While there were small snippets here and there I didn't particularly care for, I felt that overall, it was a very well-written masterpiece. And here you are, gracing my internet browser by giving it away free.

I will be honest - your latest offering doesn't really appeal to me, but that's exactly it. You can't please everyone. I find I prefer your 'power' and 'anguished' style of writing (even if there are recycled elements in the former).

Still, that is no reason not to be constructive with one's comments and criticisms. Do continue your writing, because you will continue to have at least one fan (albeit a non-paying one) in me. :P