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As you know, I was bitterly disappointed when Satalyte shut up shop as it might have meant the end of my admittedly short career as a publi...

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are available as e-books from Smashwords. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

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Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
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Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Effective reviewing



In response to my last post, fellow author Sue Bursztynski said, in part: 'I'm afraid that as your reviews build up, you will get some bad ones, some one and two star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Everyone has a different taste .... But I have a thick skin and so do you, I'm sure. A professional has to have one or never write again.'

I started to write a response to Sue's well-informed comment, but it was getting so long that I decided it was worth a post of its own.


A writer who has been brave enough to share his or her work with a critiquing group does develop a thick skin, and I think this is a highly underpublicized benefit of such activities. I joined critiquing groups quite early in my writing apprenticeship. Because I was already an experienced theatre reviewer, I always tried to make my critiques gentle, finding something good to say before suggesting possible improvements. I'm sure most of my crit-buddies did, too.


But when you have six or seven short stories or novel chapters to crit, the reviews tend to become more cursory and a lot less tactful, and I soon realised that I was as susceptible to unmasked criticism as anyone else. I found myself hurt, angry and otherwise distressed whenever someone responded negatively to my writing. A few years later, when I started to submit to publishers, I was again disappointed and hurt at every rejection letter. How could anyone not love my stories, my characters, my wonderful world-building?


Well, get real, Satima! It's a buyer's market out there. Less than one per cent of submitted material gets published, and it's not always because it's not good enough. Publishers, at any given time, tend to be looking for something in particular. If they know, for instance, that another publisher has just taken on a fantasy novel set in Siberia, the opposition will very likely be looking for a similar book, perhaps also set in a cold, inhospitable place. So you can submit the best vampires-in-space novel ever, and it will get the standard rejection slip before the reader has finished page two. Furthermore, even at this early stage, reader taste comes into play. If the slush readers (there is often more than one) don't like the book, you're fried to a cinder.


If it's any consolation, at some point you will start getting the odd personalised letter that says, in effect, 'Gee, I really liked this, but we are looking for inter-galactic murder mysteries right now'. This means you're getting better at your craft, and all you have to do it get your book on the desk of an editor who's been instructed to look for vampires-in-space or whatever it is you've spent so much time writing. A tall order, but it happens.


Give yourself a time limit - a long one. For example, 'If my vampires-in-space novel hasn't been accepted two years from now, I'll self-publish'. Of course, you can just cut straight to the chase without submitting to any publishing houses, but self-publishing, done well, costs money. You'll need to allow several thousand dollars for artwork and editing, and you will have to spend an enormous amount of time on publicity.


But I digress ...


Essentially, we fiction writers are producing a marketable commodity - books. Books are entertainment, first and foremost, and as with any form of entertainment some customers will prefer a particular genre, character type or writing style over all others. I've been lucky so far - the worst criticism has been that The Dagger of Dresnia lacks a map! Yes, when I get my first one or two star review, I'll be disappointed. However, I won't turn into a nervous wreck, because I'll know that the reader was actually hoping for another kind of book; one I hadn't written.


It sounds strange, but it's said that books receiving lots of reviews, even bad ones, sell better than books that get few or no reviews. So if you want to do your published friends a favour, review their books! If you're not sure how to write a review, check out my page called 'Write a review worth reading'. It gives you the quick Cook's Tour.




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