Author: Carrie F. Shepherd
Genre: Epic Fantasy Adventure
Length: 490 pages
Release Date: April 2014
Imprint: Mythos Press
Synopsis: Ishitar is born on the cusp of a great war between the two ruling Gods of the Heavens and Hells Realms. With his father in control of a repressive society and his mother fighting for free will for all, he believes the game that they play to be just that: a game. Little does he know that the players that he sees are not necessarily the ones who will influence the outcome.
Every author understands the value of a five star review. This is the kind of review that drives up the potential that readers who read the review will take interest and buy a copy themselves. Yet, not every book is made for every reader. Most are written in a specific genre and targeted to an even more specific market. Someone who doesn’t generally read the type of book you’ve written might pick it up based on the review and realize that the content of the work is simply not to their taste. When that happens, you may just open your Amazon or Goodreads.com review page and find that you’ve just received a less than perfect, or even negative, review.
The first time I received such a review it was from a reader who is an avid follower of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series. Luckily he had sent me an email to my author’s account rather than posting it online, as both of my novels encourage feedback from my readers and provide them with this information. This gave me the time I desperately needed to process the humiliation of receiving my first a less than perfect review in the privacy of my own home.
Upon initially reading the review, I was devastated. Being a George R. R. Martin fan, myself, I was struck with horror that he negatively compared the body of my work with that of a favored author. His critics were that I had too many characters that took too long to develop, that the story was full of spiteful, longstanding rivalries and petty revenge and that the relationships between some of the characters were immoral. The review ended with his opinion that only one author can have a plot that involves a multitude of characters in any feasibly sound way and that one author was the talented Mr. Martin.
Fortunately, I was frank enough with myself to understand that, although both The Scribing of Ishitar and Martin’s novels were both part of the fantasy genre, my series is more deeply buried in the mythology of various religions whilst Martin’s setting is mortality and war. Perhaps my reader was right, however, and changes needed to be made with regard to the reduction of characters and a few stories that are intricate to my series’ plot.
As I pondered this predicament, other readers sent me messages and posted reviews. All with a universal, and very important, message: the manner in which I have written my characters and the depth of their feelings and loyalty toward one another is what makes The Scribing of Ishitar a success.
Now bolstered, I returned to his e-mail and read it again. This time with an eye toward what I could take from the review rather than from my initial surprise from receiving such harsh criticism. As I did so, I came to the realization that he was comparing a cart full of apples to a bucket of fresh picked oranges. I also realized that some of his feedback was, indeed, valuable as Fall From Grace was meant to be the base of the story in which all of the following installments were to build. Looking at the review from that perspective, I was able to incorporate some of his comments into my writing, improving my skill so that by the time Ashes to Ashes was complete I had a fluid story with stronger characters who are solidly written.
My reader’s review has taught me the most valuable lesson I, as a writer, can learn: read those negative reviews and take what you can from them to improve your craft. But never take them personally, or to heart. After all, every reader is entitled to their preferences and opinions.
Carrie F. Shepherd grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Raised outside of the predominating religion, she sought answers of her own. Fascinated by the mythology of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, she delved into the old stories and meshed them with the new to create a fascinating world of good versus evil.
When not immersed in the world of the Gods, Carrie's full time job is in Regulatory Compliance. During her time off she enjoys hiking on cooler days or, when the weather permits, hanging out with friends and family by the pool.
Carrie now lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with her fourteen year old daughter, her dogs (Commander Jon Snow and Sir Buns McGee of Bratwurst) and her cat (Blizzardfur).
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