Tag Archives: reviews

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENCOURAGED

"Who needs your old opinion anyway!"

“Who needs your old opinion anyway!”

My mother encouraged me to become an actress because it’s what she first wanted to be. She encouraged me to marry and have children because she wanted more of them. She encouraged me to be an artist because I worked as a specialist in black-and-white 19th century illustration adaptation application and she delighted in coloring the pictures.

But she never encouraged me to be a writer.

Perhaps that’s why becoming a novelist came later to me than most.

Even though I was steadily employed as an editor, columnist, and essayist for newspapers and trade journals most of my life, I never ventured beyond being a designer and freelancer until after my mother passed away in 2006.

Only then did I begin writing, Imogene’s Eloise;.

Wanting approval from unwilling parents might be the first obstacle every writer endures.

It quiets confidence.

But if you’re blessed with the talent, or possessed by the desire, or are willing to perfect the skill, you’ll  eventually begin writing to an audience of strangers and delight in their kernels of encouragement.

I publish this piece in the wake of my previous blog, When Bad Reviews Hurt Good Authors, and in light of being told that Amazon, with it’s 11+ million titles, doesn’t begin pushing a book until 50 reviews have been posted by verified buyers.

I don’t know if that’s true, or not. But let’s suppose it is.

Fifty confirmed reviews is a lot to ask of readers and expect for any book, especially when most of us abide by the standard ‘if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all’ rule of etiquette.

The primary flaw in such protocol occurs when an author knows, or even suspects you’re reading her book. By censoring yourself out of kindness, you inadvertently, (1) contribute to author-angst and, (2) prevent a genre you enjoy from being recognized by the mainstream media.

Trust me when I say, if we’re ever to secure safe haven in all societies and attain the respect we deserve without sacrificing the virtues inherent to our culture, we need the attention and support of the mainstream media.

And, we need it — not just for the token gay spotlight of celebrities who can afford armed guard protection in public, walled estates in private, and a select circle of friends mirroring themselves — but for the vast majority of us who join in exalting those privileged few, while being baffled by continued anti-sentiment towards homosexuals.

Could it be that acclaimed lesbians and gays are elevated as the untouchable ideal, while we who are uncelebrated are seen as the ignobly real?

And, if so, isn’t it time we cease living in their illusory shadows by working to better define our own?

Before he died in 1882, the English author, Anthony Trollolope, insisted a novelist must —  through a framework of personal ethics — inspire readers to identify with a book’s characters and, in doing so, act in a manner that benefits humankind.

I might have failed in doing that.

While vigorously welcoming and greatly appreciating enthusiasm shown for my novel, Imogene’s Eloise, I fear the reviewer who settles on simply saying, “It’s entertaining.”

Yes, novels need to please, first and foremost.

I dare not hope for more.

And, yet.

I do.

I hope for a reader who will ponder both the obvious and the subtext in my writings and feel emboldened, or is healed of hurt, or resolves the past, or embraces the present, or is enlightened to the levity that life seeks as nourishment in order to survive, well.

Not that I won’t rejoice in whatever reviews I get!

And, not that I’m ungrateful for my 1.3 million ranking on a list placing 9.7 million books behind mine.

And, not that I don’t know in my heart, if my mom were alive today, she’d forego the content of Imogene’s Eloise in favor of the cover.

Indeed, it’s all encouraging.

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Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine 2015


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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O6BOB2M/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true story traces the unpredictable journey of a young woman living alone amid the political unrest and social taboos of Manhattan during the 1960s and early 70s, oblivious to her own feelings and those of others until being smitten by the sight of a stranger in town for the weekend whose name and number she’s prevented from getting. In trying to appear calm, she downs a glass of gin she’s mistaken for ice water, awakening the next morning in a fog — but determined to find that one person in a city of millions before time runs out. On a fast paced track towards an ending you can’t possibly imagine, Imogene’s Eloise challenges any doubt you might harbor in the existence of love at first sight and will fortify your faith in the promise of happily ever after.

Now in paperback & always at the KINDLE nearest you.
I urge you to take advantage of the 7 chapter free read to determine the caliber of my writing and worthiness of content before buying.

SIGNING OFF

Me, Minus 33 Years

Me, Minus 33 Years

My face popped up in the right hand corner of the screen as guest anchor, Peter Jennings, introduced the closing story on ABC World News Tonight one Friday in 1981. I’d authored an oversized, limited edition reference book under the Americanized spelling of my last name and it somehow engendered enough interest to garner a mention on national television.

I look back at it as pure luck now because, as any author (past or present) will confirm, writing a book can be exhilarating — but marketing it is exhausting.

Back then, individualized press releases were expected to be composed and printed to accompany personally written letters, each snail-mailed at considerable expense to those listed in Editor & Publisher Yearbook nationwide. Even for a book as minor as mine, the effort required to sell it seemed mammoth compared to the time it took to write. That made getting featured during prime time on ABC with Peter Jennings equal to an eagle feather in a yarmulke.

The follow-up was a headline and shout-out in the Sunday New York Times — not by a book reviewer, but by the much respected and often feared antiques and arts columnist, Rita Reif. I’d caught a wave, did some appearances, signings, a few more interviews, and a stint on PM New York, all culminating in a monthly column syndicated in a dozen trade publications for a couple years. It was a flattering, generally enjoyable, often tiresome experience that I was grateful ended after it contributed to resurrecting a fad that others were tooth-and-claw dedicated to treating as a full time endeavor.

Because, regardless of how glamorous it may sound or look, that’s what even miniscule fame and fleeting fortune boils down to; an eagerness and need to become the product by foregoing (and oft times, forgetting) the person.

I was never willing to put anything before my personal life.

I’m still not.

Fast forward to the present when everyone can be an author, cyberspace has taken over the vast amount of book promotion, cable and YouTube have obliterated the allure of network news, and most the magazines and newspapers in which my name, or byline once appeared are history.

In a time when Amazon gives every author a one-time-only opportunity to write a description of one’s novel for access by book reviewers nationwide — and even after being reminded that the 25,000 word maximum description must entice those reviewers to choose my novel over all the other hundreds of cyberspace book releases bombarding them every week — I chose to submit just 35 words about Imogene’s Eloise in free verse form:

“This is a history you haven’t read elsewhere,
about people you don’t realize you know,
containing phenomena you’re unaware of,
within a love story you’ve never heard,
that has an ending you can’t possibly predict.”

Thank you, Peter Jennings.

And, rest in peace.

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This essay is copyright by Marguerite Quantaine © 2014.

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http://www.amazon.com/dp/0940548011/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_kOpBub0DCT8E8