Thursday, June 23, 2011

Daring To Share Can Be Terrifying

I’ve spent weeks sending individual notes to every person who added Warriors of the Cross to their 'to-read' list on Goodreads. In my messages, I've included the free link to Amazon or Smashwords and a notification about how to download the book for FREE. My hope was to garner interest in Guardians of the Cross, which should be released within the next few months.

Realizing a percentage of these people would eventually post a rating/review, I could have cherry picked the people contacted. By this, I mean I could have targeted people who have historically rated books with four or five stars. If I'd only contacted those individuals, my odds of getting great reviews would have been vastly improved. Unfortunately, I wouldn't have been satisfied with the results. My goal was to get a true rating for Warriors of the Cross. As such, I refused to shy away from people whose average ratings were barely greater than three. I knew they would be tough on me. I braced myself and hit the send button time after time.

I'm happy to report that even with those hard to please critics in the mix the average rating for Warriors of the Cross on Goodreads - right now - is 4.30 (33 ratings later), and the average rating on Amazon is 4.14 (14 reviews later). AWESOME!

Embedded within these ratings are the most wonderful reviews I could have ever hoped to have gotten. These reader's words, kindness, and passion for Warriors of the Cross will forever be engrained into my memory. For them, I've been motivated into getting Guardians of the Cross published as soon as possible. I'm including a few of the comments I would rate with 5 Stars because they mean so much to me. Please note: A few are just partials.
  • Michael Maedo (Breathtakingly beautiful): This is the first book I have ever written a review on for amazon. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would. I voraciously read multiple books a week but this is one of the best books I have ever read. The love of God and the desire to do the right thing permeates this book but does not hit you over the head. Brody, Allison, and Clark are so real. I feel like a better person after having read this book. I can't wait until the next book comes out.
  • Rae (Warning remember to breathe!): I stumbled across this title and am glad I decided to give it a try. I won't rehash what the other reviewers have already said, except to say remember to breathe! This is a book that you will hold your breathe from page 1 due to the fast pace of the action, emotion, events and suspense that never stops from one page to another. I am eagerly looking forward to the next one in the series. Great Read!
  • Laura Mcguire (Make sure you have time!): Warriors of the Cross is one of the best books that I have read since I got my Kindle a couple of years ago. I have spent many hours reading lots of books but few have held my attention the way this book has. Make sure you have some time to sit down and read it because it is very hard to put down. I am longing for more and I will be waiting anxiously for the next book in the series.
  • Karen in Williamsburg (Couldnt put it down!): Thanks so much for writing this book! I love that you have taken my 3 favorite genres (romance, paranormal fiction, and Christian fiction) and blended them so well and seamlessly that I don't know how I will ever read one by itself again. I don't think I have ever read a book before that has managed to do paranormal while still keeping Christian values. Right now, I am in that stage of withdrawal/mourning that we get when we finish a book that has no sequel (yet).
  • Emily: ...I have had very few books that I can't get out of my head, and this is one of them! Great job! I can't wait to read the next one in the series. UPDATE: It has been 2 days since I finished this book. I can't get it out of my head...I have tried and stopped reading 3 books since then...I think I'm going to have to read it again starting tonight!
  • Loren: Love this book! Started reading it last night after receiving a link from the author. Best link ever! Before I knew it it was well past my bed time and into the early morning hours. As soon as I got up this morning I had to know how it ended. The characters are amazing and I fell on love with them almost instantly. Allie is so loving and positive and I enjoyed reading about her. I love Clark for the same reasons as Allie although he is a little darker and it was hard to read his motives but Brody is my favourite. The story is a breath of fresh air different to a lot of the books I've been reading lately. I'm not particularly religious but enjoyed the religious aspects of the story. Overall it was a great and addictive read and I am eagerly awaiting the next book!
  • Amanda: I loved this book. The characters pulled me in, the book was well written with a great story line. I can't wait to read the next one and I'm thankful that the author sent me the link for the free download. The only reason it doesn't get a 5 from me (and it is really darn close), there are things I still have questions on and I didn't feel those were adequately explained or not explained at all. Overall one of the best books I have read this year. I am hoping a sequel is coming out soon.
  • E: ...Now, to be honest, I'm not a fan of romance. At all. Something about it just turns me off. Luckily, this book was so well-written that I actually enjoyed the entire romance aspect. Add in the paranormal aspect and this book was golden. The paranormal was on the religious side, which was new for me as I'd never read anything of the sort, but I enjoyed it very much. I particularly enjoyed the medical/more realistic pieces of the book that balanced out the supernatural, as well as most if not all the characters. Okay, Suri was just plain mean, but every other character was at least likeable. I found myself sympathizing with poor Allie and especially Clark more than once. Other than that, the pacing was impeccable, and it was a fairly quick yet fun read. It was interesting the whole way through, but the ending is what made me love the book rather than just really like it. Granted, cliffhangers are usually just annoying, but this one has made me very excited for the next book. As a whole, the book was intriguing and worth every moment spent reading it. I can't wait for the next to be released!
I don't want you to think the review/rating process has been all sugar plums and gumdrops. I've received my fair share of negative reviews and constructive criticism. For those who have offered sincere suggestions for improving the book/story, I want to say THANKS. It will take time to weed through the recommendations and even more time to make the updates.

In the spirit of this week's topic, I thought it would be appropriate to share a beautiful blog I read this week. When THANKS Is Not Enough, by M. Leighton. In it, Michelle eloquently expressed the exact emotions I experience every time someone reads Warriors of the Cross and becomes an ardent follower of the story and characters. I, like Michelle, am humbled by the great reviews and ratings received from the readers who have fallen in love with Allison, Brody, and Clark.

Click below to download M. Leighton's Madly for FREE.

Here are my new Goodreads fans. A few of them are the originators of my favorite reviews as listed above: E, Rae, Tara, Ms. Twilight, Amanda (1), Amanda (2), Christy, Sheila Ann, Emily, and Amber.