Tag Archives: criticism

Vicious Life Cycles ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge


Dear Barbarinie:

It sucks that you picked vicious life cycles as today’s topic. Sometimes you have to face it. Life is not all skittles and beer or rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes life wants to push you down and fuck ya stick it you where the sun don’t shine. Not so much life, really, but people in your life or situations that come about that involve people in your life. You know like the ebb and flow of the Atlantic tide.

Vicious life cycles are something like generational sin. It goes on and on until someone decides to stop it. Not that they can because you have tried to right the wrongs. Just because you speak it true, won’t make it real. You cannot control how others will react to your desires. You are not the Christ (coming up in a future post).

Vicious are the things in life that you want to change, you try to change, but you don’t have the power to change them. So what can you do?


1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In a day/week/month/year it won’t matter anyways.
2. Realize all people are messy. They deal with the same things you do.
3. Show grace. Everyone needs to be shown a little clemency.
4. Know when to just shut up. Remember what Thumper said in Bambi.


Practice these few things and that will be the beginning of stopping the vicious life cycles you find yourself in with people. Just know life is not always going to be smooth as velvet 🧶

Go have a good day now.
Your constant and faithful,

Can you believe we are on our last week of the challenge?  How’s everyone doing?  Having a good time?  I am going to be bummed to see it end.  How about you guys?  Are you going to keep at it and continue blogging on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?  How do you fit it all in? Just curious.

Ignore Negativity ~ Letters From the Heart #A2ZChallenge2021


Dear Sunshine:

Today’s submission couldn’t have come at a better time. You beat yourself up all day yesterday for being an unproductive member of the blogging society. You even read a couple of blogs and didn’t post a comment or like them. Shame on you! You slob, do your job. That will teach you to stay up late, drinking and partying half the night on a school night!

Speaking of one of the other blogs, lets give a shout out to John over at The Sound of One Hand Typing! He enlightened your musical knowledge. Tall Cool ☺ne has a song. It’s included with today’s contribution for your listening pleasure.


Pay attention to ignoring the nay-sayers. You are doing better at not getting involved in the controversial posts and conversations you see on social media. Your next step is to ignore them completely. Don’t read them, don’t write about them in your journal, stay away from them completely. No good comes of it.

Let’s use the COVID vaccination as an example. People are taking about it and have lots of opinions on yeah or nay for vaccinating. You were contemplating it and could go one way or the other, didn’t really matter to you.  After reading Steph’s post on Corona , it put your thoughts in different perspective. Tall Cool ☺ne, your kids, your parents, your friends, everyone around you has got the vaccination or is scheduled to so it was time to get on board. As of writing this post, you have your first booster scheduled (good for you).

Ignore the negativity. It serves no purpose.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,

How’s everyone’s challenge going? Are you all having a good time? Visiting lots of other blogs?  I’m trying to visit five new blogs each day but it’s not Have you ordered a t-shirt yet?  Have you found all of the letters so far in the scavenger hunt?  Don’t forget to check out the master list and select a few that you may not normally visit. Good luck and have fun.

Fixing Faults ~ Letters from the Heart #A2ZChallenge2021


Dear Barbie

My dear girl, one of the best ways to fix some of the faults that were pointed out in yesterday’s letter is to give yourself a break. Yes, you heard right. Take a break. Take time to smell the roses or flowers 💐. Pour a glass of that fancy water you saw at your favorite store –  where you can shop and drink beer at the same time. Put on a pair of shorts to go with that new A2Z t-shirt you’re sporting → don’t forget the sunscreen.  You need some fresh air and organic vitamin D (sunshine)  so plunk your ass down in that porch chair and let’s have a little chat, shall we?

STOP HERE: NOTE *** At time of posting, we are taking a turn and re-writing what we had planned to post. Instead of examining each one of the faults from yesterday, we are going to focus on the one thing that will tie it all together.

Revelation: Most of your faults are self-induced. Do you remember how you felt when you woke up around 2AM this morning? It was complete darkness. When you said  you thought the power went out, Tall Cool ☺ne said that it had not because he could hear the cat fountain bubbling water. Complete darkness and your eyes were open. Do you remember that feeling that came over you? It only lasted for a few seconds but it seemed much longer. It was a scary feeling wasn’t it? Darkness everywhere. You cried out in your heart.  You were so scared because you thought you were blind. Darkness. In a few moments the outside electrical pole lights were restored and vision came back to light.

Patience is a virtue and if you don’t get that under control, one day it will control you. Take a break and rest. Wait and be understanding of things that take time while you still can, otherwise there will come a day when you don’t have that choice.

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,


How’s everyone’s challenge going? Are you all having a good time? Visiting lots of other blogs from the master list? I’m trying to fit in newbies each day but it’s not easy because I always find another blog that I love and have to visit on top of the ones already on my daily jump in and visit list. Did you get a t-shirt yet? How about that scavenger hunt? How’s everyone keeping up with that? Good luck!

 

Examining Faults ~ Letters from the Heart



Today, for your listening pleasure I’ve included a song from one of your favorite bands. This song always brings forth some sort of self-examination.

Dear Barbie:

These letters we are writing to our older self are not only to humor you in your old age, but to help you in the now and present time. Isn’t is easy to look at someone else and pick out everything you see wrong with them? It’s E-Evil 👿 and easy to find fault with someone else. It takes a strong person to admit their shortcomings to themselves, let alone share them for everyone to see. Everyone should take a few moments every now and again to examine their own faults. The first part of fixing something is recognizing it’s there. So let’s go through the list, shall we?

→ You are as impatient as the night is long.
→ We already know you leave the cupboard doors open from a previous post.
→ You interpret a situation, then become irritated when the person doesn’t respond the way you think they should.
→ You snore.
→ Your hair is everywhere.
→ The piles of clutter are out of hand.
→ You take on more projects than you can handle by yourself and get upset when Tall Cool ☺ne doesn’t want to participate.

Ok let’s not beat you up too much. That’s a pretty good list to start. Very good, now you can ponder over that list, and tomorrow we will take a look at fixing some of those faults.

Galatians 6:4 ~ Let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another.

FOR MY FELLOW A2Z BLOGGERS:

I got my  A2Z Blogging T-Shirt yesterday so I can sport it today.  YAH for me.

Anyone reading who want’s to sign up for the challenge do it today, because the master list closes tomorrow. 

I’m trying to do some of the BONUS CHALLENGES for fun, are you?  

Until next time,

your constant and faithful,

What is A2ZBlogging? Using this premise, you would start beginning April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.  It doesn’t even have to be a word–it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself.  The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day.

Tame The Tongue

 

Remember the old adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Too many times I’ve said something and then wished I hadn’t. Open mouth, insert foot. Most times it’s been both feet. Words are something you can never take back. Once they are spoken they are out there for the duration of whenever that other person decides to let it go. Sometimes they never do.

We should use our words to encourage and motivate, build up and praise, compliment and applaud one another. How many times do we take the opportunity to say “hey good job on that project you completed”, or “wow that’s a nice coat you’re wearing today” or even just “thanks for being here today”? In my workplace it’s hardly ever. (Not that they can see a smile or a coat I’m wearing, but that is just an example.) More times than not people are complaining about having to be at work, or the weather, or the customers, or each other…and we work from home!

I can’t say I haven’t had my share of tongue flapping. Proof is in my earlier blogs. I could flap my jaws like nobody’s business. James 3:8 No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Proverbs 18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. I’ve grown a lot in my last twelve years of blogging. I cannot say it’s been an easy road. Wisdom comes with experience and if we don’t learn from past mistakes, we are not growing at all. 

People always have an opinion. Opinions are different than words. We are all entitled to our own opinion. What some people do is take their opinions and convolute them into something that they believe is truth. Sometimes those truths are not real and people who spread these words hurt other people.

Example: Terry and Toni work the same shift on the same team. Every day Toni clocks in fifteen minutes later than Terry. Terry starts noticing this and decides to clock in fifteen minutes later than his scheduled time. Later that week Terry’s boss comes to him and asks him to stay fifteen minutes over to make up for coming in late the day before. Terry is pissed. Instead of asking questions to find out if there is an underlying reason why he had to make up his time but his teammate Toni never does, he starts spreading rumors about Toni and why she comes in late every day. The rumors he spreads are false and hurtful to not only Toni but Toni’s family.  What Terry didn’t realize was Toni only took a 45 minute lunch to allow her that extra fifteen minutes in the morning to take her children to daycare.”

It’s just a silly made up example, but those types of things happen every single day. People make stuff up about someone they don’t know anything about and rumors start to fly. Look at politics. I’ll be honest , I don’t. My favorite author started making his views about politics known, and quite honestly, I think it’s disgusting. I feel bad for all of the people who are in politics and I pray for them…both sides.  They have it hard. I know we are entitled to having our own opinion, but if it involves putting someone else down, keep it to yourself. Tame that little beast in your mouth.

Take the time to build up, encourage, compliment. All good things. That’s what the world needs more of.   Galatians 5:16, 22 Walk then in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of your flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.

That’s all for today my friends…. until next time.

Cheers!


Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Respecting Relationship Boundaries



Boundaries are anything that help differentiate one person from another. Age, gender, social status, skin color, vocabulary, where we live, even our emotional state can provide a certain protective boundary. Sometimes boundaries are misunderstood.

We all want relationships. The most basic need in life is for relationships. We want input and teaching from others. We want to learn different things and share the knowledge we’ve learned. We want friendships. In desire, everything comes with a price. We give a little, we take a little.

Standing up for our boundaries can be misconstrued. Sometimes people will think we are being rude and insensitive. Trespassing on other people’s boundaries carries consequences. If I do this, I know this will happen, if I do that, I know something else will happen. From a young age we learned these basic instincts.  Don’t touch the hot stove or you will get burned.   

Attitudes and beliefs are what we accept as being true. There are some people who want us to change our beliefs and attitudes to what they believe and accept as being true. Perhaps some family members, friends, relatives, or even neighbors to name a few.  People who refuse to respect the boundaries we have set ooze negative energy and leave us feeling worse whenever we’re around them. Be on guard for these toxic personalities. Quickly set boundaries and let them know what will and what will not be tolerated. 

Do you have anyone like this in your life?

• Lie on a regular basis
• Take advantage of your kindness
• Don’t respect your boundaries
• Manipulate you in order to get what they want
• Put you down
• Don’t encourage you to pursue your goals
• Don’t consider other people’s feelings or needs
• Feel entitled
• Are frequently angry or aggressive
• Rarely apologize
• Blame others and don’t take responsibility for their actions
• Drain your energy
• Have a lot of “drama” or problems, but don’t want to change
• Think the rules don’t apply to them
• Talk, but don’t listen

People might be angry or offended by our choices even though we aren’t setting boundaries to be mean or difficult. Boundaries are a way to protect ourselves and maintain individuality as well as sanity. Stay safe and be sure to practice social distancing virtually as well as while you are out in public. When boundaries are not accepted, sometimes we have to accept that we are better off without the toxicity in our lives.




Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Ballerina

music-box-ballerina

Once upon a time when I was a young girl I remember going to one of my cousin’s house to visit with my family.  We seemed to visit them quite often.  I remember they had a nice house in a quaint little neighborhood.  My sister and I would play with our cousins in the basement where there was an old piano or we would go to the school a block away and have fun on the playground.  I remember they always had really cool toys; fun stuff that my sister and I didn’t have.

On one such visit I was so very intrigued by a jewelry box that played music and had a ballerina that twirled, that I took it.  Stole the little twirling ballerina off the pedestal and stuck it in my pocket.  I knew it was wrong and I had that feeling in my stomach that I shouldn’t have done it.  Boy, did I find out how wrong it was and let me just say that feeling got even worse when my mother made me bring the ballerina back and apologize to my aunt and my cousin for taking it.  The eighth commandment … “Thou shall not steal”.  I still get goose bumps when I think about that learning moment.  I hated my mother for making me do that.

Parents teach their kids morals and values at a very young age.  I’m not sure at what age children test their boundaries and the authority of their parents.  Maybe it is two years old when you tell them not to touch the stove because it’s hot and they look right at you with that shit-eating grin and touch it anyways.  Being a parent is not easy.  I always wanted to be a cool parent, not like my parents.  I wanted my kids to like me.  My parents didn’t let me do everything I wanted to do; they didn’t buy me everything I wanted, I didn’t even own a pair of Levi’s until I was a freshman in high school.  They made me do chores and work for things I wanted.  I do recall a pair of green striped Adidas© sneakers that I got for Christmas in the eighth grade.  I loved those sneakers and had them for many years … in fact I think my son wore them out when he was ten years old. He’ll be 24 this year.   I’m not sure how old I was when I realized my parents were cool.  If parents are doing their job right their kids aren’t going to like them much.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Lessons learned in childhood will last a lifetime.  As our children grow up we hope that we have instilled in them our morals and standards by which we live.  I have a hard time remembering what it was like to be that age when I didn’t like my parents.  I say to my kids, “I was that age once too, been there, done that.”  But I think I should just be able to tell them to do something, and they should listen to me and do what I say and that is that.  End of story.  I forget they have to test the waters just like I did.  They will go through the exact same learning process as I did.  Would life be easier if everyone just listened to their parents; if we could instill our wisdom in our kids, if our parents could instill their wisdom in us?  Our parents are still telling us do this, do that, and we’re still trying to do it our own way.  Do people ever really grow up and listen to their parents?
Live, learn, teach.  We can only hope for the best for our children, as our parents hope for the best for us.  Ultimately we are all held accountable for our own actions.

New Year Resolution

New Year Resolution

calvinandhobbes

Happy New Year! Someone told me once you could say Happy New Year for the whole month of January. I figured I better get my greeting in before the end of the month. Is everyone still sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions? Or, have they fallen by the wayside?

I’ve been doing a Bible Study, and this morning I read something that convicted me. I recently agreed to participate in this ‘Pay it Forward’ network thing on Facebook. The sad part for me, (and granted my patience probably isn’t what it should be) is the fact that I don’t have five friends agreeing to take part in the connection of kindness with me. It’s okay, I’m going to move forward with the four who did agree.

But as I pondered on that thought, I realize that I rarely celebrate with the “friends” I have on Facebook who have good news in their life. I see post after post about the things they are accomplishing and sharing with everyone, yet I’m reluctant to “LIKE” or comment on them.  We all want to matter. We all want to be significant and important. We want people to notice what we are doing. These desires are innate. It is how we were made. Recently I haven’t posted anything about my accomplishments because I think people are going to think the same as I do. “Who cares?”

I know, shallow, huh?

Then I read Romans 12:15-16 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in own your own sight.”

When we claim the name of Christianity we are to carry ourselves in a manner that brings glory to God. I’m not saying we need to throw His name in everything we do (like some people do). We don’t have to talk about it, we just have to show it. He knows our hearts, and He knows why we do what we do, and He knows He’s the reason we are able to do the things we do. Some people are so busy trying to convince everyone else that Jesus is the reason they do what they do. In most circumstances nobody cares. And Jesus already knows. So it makes me wonder who they are trying to convince.  Themselves?

I realize social media is not a good supplement for true friendships and fellowship with live human beings. But for some people that’s all they have. In the new age of social virtual life, we need to be more cognizant in our virtual friendships. We should rejoice when they rejoice, weep when they weep. We should make it a point to be a caring and compassionate friend for those in need. 

With that being said, I’m taking the ‘Pay it Forward’ kindness act one step further. I implore you to think of someone who has recently had good news in their life. Now think of a creative way to go all out to celebrate that good news with them. How does that make you feel? Write about it and share this on your own blog.

Went Fishing

Image

Update to Promotional Criticism

I really don’t know what to say about the hoop-la other than ‘wow’. The bait worked well. This subject really struck a nerve with too many people in the café. Last time I checked there were still more comments being added to the stream. The forum sort of reminded me of another forum I used to be involved with. It’s a place where you stroke the forum leader’s ego, and as long as you do that, all is well. Cross that person and you are voted off the island. I’ve been in too many places like that. I don’t stroke egos, and I don’t expect mine to be stroked either. I write what I write the way I write it. Like it, love it, hate it, or don’t read it.

I don’t mean to sound like I can’t take criticism and maybe I come across that way. But the original question I posed was if the description was not clear.  She decided to take it and turn it into something more than it was. It was her who first offered her opinion about the images. I do appreciate all of the insight and wisdom that others shared regarding my book description and the image that the forum leader picked to have a problem with, and shared on her forum. Not sure if the other members actually went to the FB Fan page to see for themselves, or just took for granted that their leader knew what she was talking about and trusted her.  You do know what happened with the Koresh followers, right?

I have worked very hard on this book for over two years.  My opinion is if I were to take others suggestions, and let them tell me how to do things differently, I give up. Then it’s not my work, it’s what someone told me to do.  I want to see how well the book does based on what I have done with it. Not because I made a change that someone I don’t even know suggested. I know what’s in the damn book, and I am not one to deceive people with things that are not there. Funny how one picture of provocative women caused such a stir in the writing forum.

I mentioned I was going to read The Bell Curve, and actually started it. It was on the bookshelf collecting dust, waiting to be read. After 20 pages I have decided it probably will go back to the bookshelf. It is a little intimidating and it bothers me that social class plays into how people are treated. It did help clarify my feeling of being an idiot savant in the writing forum.

Most people who dole out their list of credentials, letters after their names, achievements, awards, certificates, degrees, etc. annoy me. There is a certain condescending air to them. Does it mean they are more experienced in what they do, than someone without the list of accolades? Not really, it just means they are paying a lot more student loans back.

I believe if you are going to do something, do it well to the best of your ability, and keep doing it.  Perfect practice makes perfect. Listen to what people have to say. But that’s all. Trust your own judgment. You are the one who put your blood, sweat and tears into your project. Only you know if it’s good or if it needs work. What’s that old saying? We are our own worst critics.

 

Promotional Criticism

(This has been copied and pasted so please disregard grammatical and punctuation errors.)

Blackhorse 2015 Cover Art

I had an interesting interaction this morning and feel a need to put this out there. DON’T ASK QUESTIONS THAT YOU CANNOT HANDLE THE ANSWERS TO. I’m writing this from me personally, but I mean it as an overall suggestion about asking anyone for advice. Make sure you really want to hear the answer.
A person asked if an image on their page made me want to read their book. Quite honestly, it made me want to run from the page, but I didn’t answer that blatantly. I said it screamed of topics other than what I was told the book was about, and the person took offense. I want everyone to know that If you ask for my opinion, I am going to respond honestly, even if it stings. It’s who I am, and I cannot, in good conscience, give fake answers just so authors think they’re on the right track. It doesn’t help them in the long run. But I’m also not the end all with book marketing. I have nothing to hide in any of this fun publishing world. We’re here to help each other, not harm each other. I’m one person, with one opinion. I’m not an expert in any of this. None of us are. This industry is an ever-changing one that takes continual efforts to stay on top of trends and techniques in marketing, writing, and the like. My opinion is that of ONE person, not the masses. Please keep that in mind when asking anyone for advice. And if you are wondering, yes, I’d give the same honest answer again in the same situation. And yes, I get negative feedback, too. You must be able to receive as effectively as you give (even when it stings).
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44 people like this.

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Massimo Marino Someone needs to thicken their skin 🙂
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Travis Simmons Melissa, I will admit when you first started critiquing my book covers, it stung, but I didn’t stop asking, because I knew you are a lot like me: you give honest advice to help the person. And, using your advice, I now feel completely confident in my covers. You give great advice, and it’s never from a bad place. A lot of times I feel people don’t want advice, they just want a pat on the back. I’ve had friends who want me to beta read for them, and when I start giving them constructive feedback, they don’t like it. Now I don’t beta read for those people, but the ones who understand that I’m being helpful enjoy my help. Also, they will never be able to take comments from editors well if they can’t take a little feedback about an image they are using! Editors don’t have time to handle people with kiddie gloves!
6 hrs • Like • 4

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Allison Tidwell How is that person going to feel when actual book critics respond? It’s part of the business. If they can’t take constructive criticism then they are in the wrong line of work.
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Melissa Foster Travis Simmons sorry:-) But I’m glad you stuck it out. You care about your work, and I could tell that from day 1, which is why I took the time to give complete answers. I also accept criticism. It’s part of the process. I’m years into this business and I still have people who knock my work (writing, covers, input), and even the stuff that makes me want to hide under a bed still gets the same ear as the good stuff. I listen and evaluate with a fine toothed comb. There might be a smidgen of truth among the garbage, but when we aren’t open to it, we might miss it. So yeah, I know it’s hard, and important. Allison Tidwell exactly. Massimo Marino I think we need alligator skin in this business lol
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Carol May Vaughn If only we had MORE friends like you…
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Ann Bracken One of my critique partners was hemming and hawing until I told her to be my friend and spit it out. What resulted was a much better story. Criticism stings, but can be invaluable.
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Crackerberries Anderson First of all, I did not ask if the image made her want to read the book. Melissa asked what the book was about and I asked her if the description was not clear. She then went on to tell me how the image on the page looks like an erotica book is coming and screamed of lesbian love and dirty hot sex. I responded and said the military was changing and didn’t it kind of make her want to see what it was all about. Then she went on to tell me about her husband and what she thought about marketing and blah, blah, blah. If someone is going to share insights I think it’s important to be honest about the whole interaction, not just to make yourself look better. And I admit I am new to this world of publishing and thanks to people like Melissa my skin grows another layer every day.
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Melissa Foster Crackerberries Anderson let’s be honest here, you asked if the image made me want to read the book. I did not name you in this post for good reason. I was making a point, not pointing a finger, but since you would would like to be named, here is our full conversation:

Crackerberries Anderson
Jun 4th, 2:25pm
#ShareTheLove4Authors from the World Literary Cafe (WLC) community! Great page!

Hi Melissa, if you would like to return the favor, my page is https://www.facebook.com/Crackerberries.Blackhorse.2015
Thank you! Have a great day.

Melissa Foster
Jun 4th, 2:58pm
What exactly is the subject of your book?

Crackerberries Anderson
Jun 4th, 3:31pm
It’s a Military novel spanning over a 20 year period. The Blackhorse Strategic Regiment is home to conspiracy, racketeering, and treason within the United States Military. Just out of curiosity, is the description not clear?

Melissa Foster
Jun 6th, 5:56pm
The image on your page looks like an erotica book is coming. Is that what you were going for? The Comstock image cries lesbian love or dirty hot sex I definitely don’t get a military vibe from your fan page.

Crackerberries Anderson
Jun 7th, 5:58am
The military is changing. Kind of makes you just want to see what it’s all about doesn’t it?

Melissa Foster
Jun 7th, 7:42am
Maybe for some people but not me. My husband is a retired colonel and yeah, the military is changing, but those pictures don’t tell me anything about that. I’m not here to judge how you market your book. I was just curious. Good luck!

Crackerberries Anderson
Jun 7th, 8:15am
Thanks.

Crackerberries Anderson
Jun 7th, 8:28am
Some people remember that old saying ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. Also, you being in the business as long as you have shouldn’t be so negative to jump on someone who is just starting out. And yes, you are exactly judging my marketing skills. My husband too, is former Army MP and he’s helped me write an excellent book. Thanks for you good wishes.

Melissa Foster
Jun 7th, 9:23am
I’m not judging. I saw another post on your page that also asked if the pic was really from you, which is why I had asked. You asked if the cover would make me want to read it and I answered honestly. That’s not judging your marketing skills, that’s giving an opinion after you asked.

You had sent me your link to like your page, and the reason for asking my initial question was because before I like a FB page and make sure it’s something that my readers won’t find offensive. I needed clarification, which you gave me, and after reading the other post on your page, I passed along that the image didn’t seem to convey a military presence to me. I’m sorry if you took offense to that. As I said in my note to you, I’m not here to judge your marketing skills, but as an author advocate and mentor I always try to give honest answers, even if they’re tough to swallow–and I accept your criticism and appreciate your candor.

As for “Don’t judge a book by the cover” – yes, that’s an old philosophy, but I think you’ll find in this day and age, unfortunately, it’s almost a given that books are judged that way in the realm of sales. You have about 3 seconds to hook a potential buyer’s interest, and the cover has a big impact.

I’ll close with this thought, and hope you understand. Opinions are just that. Personal feelings on things. My opinion is solely my own, and just because I read an image one way does not mean that someone else will read it the same way. I assume the other person who posted on your wall about that image was a friend of yours. Maybe asking that person their opinion would be better. My business is publishing and marketing, and I apologize if my opinion offended you. I certainly did not mean to do so, and I meant “good luck” with the sincerest hopes.

Write a reply…
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Crackerberries Anderson Exactly I asked you if the description was not clear…. thank you for sharing.
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Bazzi Annamaria Melissa, honesty can be brutal, but it’s the one thing that really helps. the publishing world is harsh world and if an author can’t take the truth he/she shouldn’t be in the business. in this group, i’ve found, that people answer with great honest, and that is what helps us go forward. Melissa Foster, i’m glad you’ll continue to give your honest opinion when asked. I personally wouldn’t want it any other way. thank you for being who you are and creating this group where we know we will get good feedback and honest answers.
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Melissa Foster Yes and you asked if it made me want to see what it’s all about, which is what I answered, and this was the image in question:

COMSTOCK
“Crackerberries Anderson
Jun 7th, 5:58am Jun 7th, 5:58am
The military is changing. Kind of makes you just want to see what it’s all about doesn’t it?”

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Crackerberries Anderson Yup that is one and if it doesn’t make you want to read, that is fine and if you don’t like my marketing technique that’s fine too. Thanks for the free promo, BTW. And I am completely honest and I did mention I was new to this. Do you people remember what it was like when you first started out? Give me a break okay? Geees.
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Allison Tidwell I would have jumped to the same conclusion looking at the book cover.
Nothing on that cover suggests a change in the military. It looks like erotica. Not all young women want to become hot, bikini clad military personnel. Many female soldiers I know want to be considered equal to their male counterparts and want to be taken seriously for what they have to offer. I’m sorry, but the image sends out an entirely different message, and it isn’t a good one. But again, I am one person and my opinion, you can take it or leave it.
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Melissa Foster Crackerberries Anderson absolutely, which is why I didn’t make this personal when I posted originally (I was surprised that you wanted to by posting what you did). This is a very tough business, and I’m truly sorry that you weren’t happy with my opinion. We’re ALL still learning. My post here in the private group (the initial post) was about accepting criticism, and again, you were not mentioned bc it has nothing to do with pointing fingers, but rather learning/growing/accepting that sort of thing.
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Crackerberries Anderson Thank you … I learn a new lesson in this business every day. I appreciate it…
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Crackerberries Anderson And I should add my publisher chose the book cover because it was more intriguing than boring military covers.
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Allison Tidwell I think it would have been cool to see a close up of the two women’s faces with camouflage makeup on and sporting their military-issued rifles. 🙂 your publisher doesn’t sound like he/she relates well with a female audience. Good luck

to you Crackerberries on getting your book published. Many good writers don’t even get that far.
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Crackerberries Anderson Thank you Allison Tidwell I’m pretty sure the cover works well with the book… we’ll see how it all turns out. But I do lve your idea of the camo and chicks with rifles … maybe I’ll have to work on a new trailer.
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Melissa Foster Crackerberries Anderson the other great thing about this business is that nothing is permanent. If you have trouble with the cover the publisher can always modify, or maybe it’ll blow us away and be exactly what the audience wants ❤
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Helga Zeiner that is only fair, Melissa Foster and we expect nothing else from you. However, it can happen the other way around too. As you know, I was not happy with a cover design that was made for me and told the designer so. The reaction I got back still stings, so I understand your frustration. It is a pity that we can all handle honesty as well as pretty white lies.
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Erica Marchant I am the same way. People take offense because they only want to hear something good about something they worked
So hard on even if it’s untrue. I would rather you be honest so I can fix the issue.
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Marlene Hudson It’s like those asking for constructive criticism – followed by keep it positive; if you don’t have something nice to say, I don’t want to hear it. Really? 😉
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Paul Stawski Melissa Foster Keep doing exactly what you’re doing in exactly the way you are doing it. Exactly. And thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
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Jerry Hatchett Amen and amen, a thousand times, amen!
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Marjorie DeLuca Truly honest, constructive advice is priceless and we all appreciate it. That’s what helps us grow. So keep on doing what you’re doing Melissa Foster and don’t look back!!!
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Jerry Hatchett After reading the whole thread, wow. Given the tissue-thin skin shown in response to such professionally tendered thoughts from Melissa, I can only imagine the response she’s gonna have when reviews start rolling in, if they ever do.

First, Melissa is spot-on; the cover in absolutely no way hints at a “military novel.” It screams erotica and thus will be of no interest at all to the overwhelming majority of readers looking for a military novel.

Second, it looks like something that was whipped up in a couple hours by someone with zero experience or skill in graphics; I could go on for an hour about all the things wrong with it.

Third, someone wanting to be an author said something about “not judging a book by its cover.” REALLY?

Just when I think I can no longer be shocked by what I see from the “writing” world, I am not only shocked, but blown away.
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Jerry Hatchett BTW, what feels like a thousand years ago when I had only been writing fiction for a couple years, I applied to and was accepted into a very selective online crit group; you had to submit writing samples, be voted on, etc.

I was absolutely certain I was all that AND a five-dollar bag of chips. Submitted my first chapter to the group. The crits rolled in. I’ll preface this next part by saying I am about the unweepiest guy you’re likely to meet. The crits, which I thought at the time were harsh and mean but which I now recognize as the most helpful and professional gestures I could have ever hoped for, brought tears to my eyes. Literally. But I read them over and over. After a few days of licking my wounds, I looked at the crits and thought, “OMIGOSH, THEY’RE RIGHT.”

That was a life-changing moment for me, and I mean that in the most literal sense. It was at that moment that I understood that they accepted me into the group because they saw raw talent, but that’s nothing more than the seed that must be present. I vowed to myself and to my crit partners that I would do whatever was necessary to learn to write at a pro level.

I immersed myself in the craft. I read every craft book I could get my hands on. I studied. I devoured bestselling thrillers to try to pick up on what they were doing that drew people in. I relentlessly sought out and begged for honest, competent crits, because YOU CAN’T FIX WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW TO BE BROKEN.

A lot of years later, I still have a ton of improvement ahead, but I can indeed now write at a professional level and feel good about people paying me money to read my work. I also know who I am as a writer, and who I am not. And it ALL started with accepting a few brutally honest crits.

Now? I’m sad to say I almost never agree to read and crit others’ work. I do so only within a tiny group of writers who have shown that a) they have talent, and b) they want to become professionals. It’s NOT because I don’t want to give back. It’s 100% because I encounter so very few who actually want honest feedback. The overwhelming majority of people I observe in this endeavor may say, “Be honest,” but what they really mean is, “Be honest and tell me how great this is!”
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Christine Cunningham Just to add my two cents, if you want to build an audience for your book it’s vital to honest with your audience. Baiting and switching will shrivel your audience in the blink of an eye. Today’s reader has tons of choices and once burned it’s not likely they will give you another chance.
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Crackerberries Anderson Thank you Jerry Hatchett for your brutal honesty…I did point out that I was new to all this and hey, I do what I do because I like it. So critic away and whatever will be will be. Maybe this one won’t be the next great best seller, maybe it won’t sell at all, but you know what, at least I’m trying and I’m not giving you my resume of how great I am. I’m not, I’m simply a story teller and story tellers tell stories…
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Melissa Foster Jerry Hatchett it’s all a learning experience. I’ve stopped critiquing work, too. I will help a handful of people who are truly interested in honest feedback, but reading and critiquing take time and to put in the effort and have it all ignored is a waste for both parties. When I first started working with my deve editor she gave me 15 pages of notes and I tossed it aside and thought, “My readers will love it my way.” **rolls eyes**

Now, although that book sells very well, I see EXACTLY how much better it could have been. I work with her very closely now on all books and would never put out even a short without her eyes on it.

We all start, learn, and hopefully grow along the way
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Michael J. Tobias Thank you so much for posting this, Melissa. I get asked my opinion on occasion and I have adopted a routine: Do you REALLY want my opinion? Or are you looking for a pat on the back? Yes, that is blunt, but I’m tired of getting asked for my honest opinion when people don’t want that. Honest feedback is, to me, a precious gift. I don’t treat such gifts with disdain and I don’t want to waste any thought or you know, think about how to help you, if all you’re looking for is a pat on the back.
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Christine Cunningham A cover like this would catch my eye and portray the message a little better in my opinion. You keep the sex appeal, but make the girl look more like a badarse who is taking her military career seriously.

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Jerry Hatchett Crackerberries, you’re welcome. My suggestion would be to solicit criticism and not respond at all for a while other than to say thanks that someone spent their time for you. Let it roll around and revisit it over a period of a few days or a week. See if you still feel the same way after that time. Each person has an opinion and not every opinion must be accepted. BUT, when you start to see a pattern emerge in comments from multiple people, you ignore at your own peril. Good luck.
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Jerry Hatchett Exactly, Melissa. Maybe it really was pretty good as it was, but what might it have been if we had listened? 🙂
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Crackerberries Anderson Thank you for your suggestion Christine Cunningham but the picture Melissa shared is a promo, not the cover. The Comstock House is only part of the story…. not the whole story. Might I add this book is fiction and be it a military thriller, science fiction, or as Melissa referred to it an erotica lesbian love or dirty hot sex isn’t grabbing the potential reader’s attention what we’re after?
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Jerry Hatchett Grabbing attention in a way that accurately portrays the book is what you’re after. Do it in any other way, and you’ll open a whole other nasty can of worms. People will buy it, feel misled, and bury you in one-star reviews for it.
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Melissa Foster Crackerberries Anderson if your book is not erotica or sexual then you do not want to solicit the reader’s attention in that manner. It will lead to poor reviews and losing readers by misleading them. However, if your book does have those elements then you’re on target. However, “military thriller, science fiction” does not mean “erotica” or “lesbian sex” at least not by any definition I’ve ever heard.
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Melissa Foster Crackerberries Anderson I just reread the book description: ~~After supervising military intelligence, and less than a month away from retiring to his hometown of Winston-Wisdom, Sergeant First Class Jon Hunter has one more mission. Operation Goatfish involves transferring nuclear weapons from Bonfire Island in the Pacific Ocean to a more accessible location in the states. Only the elite are chosen to be involved. Jon, a dedicated and decorated E-7 for the US Army, gets a bad feeling about Captain Todd Carlin who is in charge of the mission. Jon travels to Fort Wyatt Military Foundation to see what is behind The Blackhorse Strategic Regiment, and uncovers Captain Todd Carlin’s real MOS.

That doesn’t say anything sexual in the info. To me, the images are misleading, but again, just my two cents. I might also suggest that you check out Blackhorse Regiment, because it’s a real military outfit and I would wonder how they might react when this is published if it does portray them in the light of the images. Again, not my place to judge, just a recommendation.
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Crackerberries Anderson Mine is Blackhorse STRATEGIC Regiment. I’m sure the cover is an accurate portrayal as well as the promo trailers and pictures…After all I did write the book and I did mention the military is changing. It is a thriller and it does have sexual and erotic scenes. Read it and then tell me what you think. Thank you all for sharing your comments, I do appreciate it. I don’t think you’re judging (too much) but I do think that I’ve touched on a nerve with a lot of people. Hmmmph, imagine that?
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Melissa Foster Is there a reason you don’t have any reference to erotic or sexual scenarios in the description? It just seems to me that the pics and the description don’t jive. I wonder if there’s a reason you’re trying to keep it from the reader in the description.
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Melissa Foster Oh, as far as a nerve goes, I’m not at all against erotic or lesbian sex in books. I write graphic sex in my romance novels on a daily basis 🙂 I just believe in being transparent to the readers so you gain the right audience.
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Crackerberries Anderson As I mentioned it’s part of the book, it’s not the book.
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Crackerberries Anderson How many books have you read that give you every detail on the back cover of what takes place in the book? I’m teasing and tantalizing with things that happen in the book.
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Melissa Foster Oh, i don’t at all think the summary should give you everything. But I do think that there’s a big difference in readership of erotic scenes and military thrillers, so my marketing sense tells me to include a hint of that or perhaps bare the consequences of poor reviews because of it. But I guess if your cover is going to be more erotic or imply erotica, then it may not matter what your summary says. They’re just so far from one another that I think it has the potential to backfire and confuse/alienate readers, but again, just one opinion.
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Crackerberries Anderson I’m going to read The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray. It looks like a great book to help me understand this whole book publishing experience. It amazes me that so many people have taken the time out of their day, on a weekend, on what too many people here have implied is trash, to comment and share their opinions on a ‘hack’ such as myself. I’ve done nothing in the literary world. I’m not even published yet. It’s gotta say something about the book if it gets this much attention. 🙂
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Melissa Foster Crackerberries Anderson you happen to belong to a very giving group. We help each other to understand the ins and outs of the industry. I can’t tell from your post if your comment about The Bell Curve is supposed to be a spear toward the helpful, intelligent people here, but I will hope for the best and won’t assume that.

In any case, the people in this group care about helping others, but it doesn’t sound like you are looking for any sort of advice. You obviously feel as though know what will work, but please don’t confuse attention over appropriate marketing strategies with if your book will sell. Given the feedback in this particular thread, there is nothing to say it will, given the images you’re posting to try and make it happen.

The fact that you’re not published has nothing to do with receiving answers in this group. If you’re a NYT bestseller or not yet published, everyone gets the same attention in this group.
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As of time of this post, the beat goes on. What is all the hoop-la? https://www.facebook.com/Crackerberries.Blackhorse.2015