Have Your Say! What Do You, The Reader Think?
by Helen Hollick
There is no point, beyond self-satisfaction, for writers to write books if there are no readers to read them. Authors appreciate reviews because they can give valuable feedback and boost a flagging confidence. And yes, poor reviews can do the exact opposite, but here at Discovering Diamonds we do not do poor reviews. If we are not too keen on a book that has been submitted to us we do not review it. We do not always give 5 star praise either: very often we will include some small bit of constructive criticism into a review, and often we will add a few of the not so good things about a particular novel - maybe there is a little too much head-hopping (change of point-of-view of the characters) or some scenes did not flow, or there were a few too many anachronisms (an author really cannot say 'he puffed up the hill like a steam-train' if the setting is Saxon England - it just doesn't sound right!) But even with these observations, all the books we review are regarded as a 'good read'.
Which is where you, the reader, come into the equation.
You want good books to read. Of course everyone's idea of what is, or is not, 'good' is different, you only have to look at the diverse comments on Amazon to see that! But reviews and comments can give an indication of what a novel is about, which in turn can help a reader choose. Or to quote a phrase from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl, reviews are 'more like guidelines really'.
On top of all that, though, as founder of Discovering Diamonds, I want to reach readers, not just writers who are keen to get a good review for their book. (Although I am well aware that writers are also readers!) So, over the next few months this page will focus on the Reader's Voice, it will be a place where you, the person buying (or borrowing) a book, or looking for a book to read, can share, discuss, or even shout about your views, ideas, thoughts, wants and don't wants. It's not a forum, but not far off it! We'll be exploring what do you as a reader think about trends in book covers (oh those endless headless women! *sigh*) or alternative history, or fantasy mixed with history. Should historical fiction be more historical than fiction? Do bloopers matter? What is or isn't acceptable in historical 'romance'? Is sex, especially violent sex, overdone, or added just for the sake of it? Should we review erotica or not? Are the Tudors the only era worth writing and reading about? Why are there not many reviews for young adult or children's historical fiction? (Where are the authors for this genre!)
We want your feedback - after all Discovered Diamonds, as much as I and 'my' team enjoy putting everything together, are somewhat wasting our time if there is no one out there reading, and even more important, enjoying, what we are aiming to do!
So, to get started: several years ago, my ex-agent told me that adults were not interested in reading novels about pirates. She was somewhat disgusted that my pirate, in my Sea Witch novels was a bit of a womaniser, and liked his rum (well, isn't that what pirated do?) I subsequently went my own independent, way and I think I am well and truly proving her wrong. But why, as readers, do we like the 'bad boys' of fiction? The swaggering rogue with the charming smile, but a sharp dagger easy to hand in his pocket...?
Perhaps you can think of a few novels which have the bad boy-type as the protagonist? Ross Poldark in the recent TV series springs to mind! Although I personally think George Warleggan wins the Rat of the Year contest hands down! Isn't he brilliantly nasty!
What attracts us to novels about pirates?
Sea Witch on Amazon
Sea Witch on Amazon
Leave your comments below, share a few thoughts of what you would like us to host on this reader-dedicated page - and please do spread the word that readers are heartily welcomed here at Discovering Diamonds!