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So you didn't like my book...an author's response.

Posted by allysonmdeese on May 13, 2013 at 9:35 AM

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So You Didn’t Like My Book: An Author’s Response

 

Written by Isaiah David Paul

 

Usually, once I publish a novel, I only check the reviews about once a month or so—unless one of my readers or editors bring a review to my attention that I need to check out.

 

Since the publication of the bestselling Isaiah David Paul novel, Broken But I’m Healed, I’ve released three other projects and I’m currently scheduled to release three more by the end of this year. I’ve gone on to edit other books, ghostwrite a book that has received critical acclaim and I also serve as a business manager of Victor L. Martin, whom is finishing the last five years of his sentence and writing new books. In short, I’m doing everything possible to keep Victor busy with new titles and myself busy with new titles so that I can continue to build IDP’s unique brand.

 

I also stay busy reading commentary about publishing and studying the industry. As a self-published author, I rely on the continuing education opportunities to increase the opportunities to expose my novels and the critiques on authors in general to make me a better writer. For example, I like many people say the word “towards” and easily incorporate the word into my novels. Editor after editor have expressed the desire about wringing my neck for continuing to add the “s” after toward. And backward. And forward. I’ve stopped after a while, but every now and then one of those bad habits slip through the cracks.

 

But as I revisited the reviews on Amazon.com, I noticed that the ranking of the novel slipped from a four to a three. While I’ve been told by many that they loved the story—I’ve read the complaints about the way the story was told. I chose to do two separate timelines and weave them together because that’s not seen commonly in faith fiction. Well at least not in the books I’ve read. Also, I wanted to show Maria’s past as well as hint at her future. Calvin’s story, which first appeared in Elissa Gabrielle’s award winning anthology, The Soul of a Man, had already been told and hinted at the dissolution of their marriage. When I wrote the story from the beginning of the time period and then went to the end—the story did not seem that exciting to me. I felt that starting with the present day—going back to where the marriage first had problems—and then coming to the end was much better and the test readers agreed with this story plot.

 

The other complaint I’ve received is in the number of typos and errors that slipped through the cracks. For that I apologize and ultimately take full responsibility for. Those are easy to fix when I do the second printing of the book in June. I know the damage is already done for the past readers—but I can change it for the new readers going forward. Many times, most authors that are confronted with books with typos blame everyone but themselves—or worse yet, deny that they are there. When I reprint books, I always skim through the novel to catch anything glaring that was missed. It has always been my belief that a second printing or a third printing should not have as many errors or most of the same glaring errors that appeared in the first edition. I never understood how a book can get multiple printings and the only changes that are made are the number of printings credited on the copyright page. Authors whom I’ve published can attest that when I let them know that their book is being reprinted, I typically give four to six weeks for them to review a book and to change anything they feel needs to be changed before I do new printings. So in conclusion, I apologize for my short comings and I will fix them going forward. For the readers who sent me pages and passages to reconsider, you will be credited and of course, get copies of the second printing.

 

The other major complaint is that many of the readers would have rather had more of Maria’s back story. How did she become the woman that she was and what happened once she was kidnapped? How did she escape her captors? I touched on some things throughout the book but I apparently did not do enough to satisfy your appetite for this story. The original premise of the book was to talk about their marriage being in shambles. For this I have a remedy. I’m going to respond to this constructive criticism and give you exactly what you want in her story. The novel, Maria Maria, will come out in December and answer many of those questions. I originally did not want to do a full novel on Maria because I felt there were a lot of stories that were female driven and I didn’t want her story to come off as a street-lit novel. However, I’ve found a way to do that AND keep it secular enough to publish under the Isaiah David Paul name and not sacrifice or compromise my beliefs as a Christian.

 

Which brings me to my final point and one that I respectfully disagree with many of the readers with. Please allow me the opportunity to respectfully disagree and to agree to disagree with you. I’ve been accused of passing off a secular and according to one reader “a highly erotic story” as a Christian book. First, for those of you who are reading me for the first time, let me say that I don’t write traditional Christian fiction or faith-filled stories. I’m one of the grittiest faith-fiction writers on the market. My brand of Christian Suspense and Christian Romantic Suspense novels in an urban (and dare I say “hood”) setting is not going to sit well with everyone. My books are mainly geared toward readers who aren’t saved and those who want to read about Christians in their desires to live for Christ outside of the church.  My books do have an element of urban fiction and may touch on sex because I spent many years ghostwriting in those two genres for many clients. My books have characters that are not perfect—weren’t born or raised in the church. I don’t write church dramas—nor am I an author who profits on writing about a faith that I don’t believe in. I’m not going to point fingers and start a witch hunt among the authors. I am going to say that I acknowledge that I’m held to a level of accountability for any book that I present under this name. I’ve admitted that Worth Fighting 4 is not a faith fiction novel, but I am upfront about that in the Isaiah David Paul versions of the books. My characters are not perfect—they sin, they repent and most importantly, they try to live for Jesus again. Some short comings are not going to be solved over night, but I feel that my characters always have room to grow. From the former adult video stars to the prostitutes to the murderers, they all come to not only love Christ but to spread his Word. And there are many passages (without ruining the book for those who haven’t read it) in which the gospel is spread, a soul (or two) are saved and most importantly, I express the importance of having a relationship with Christ. And for the sins that do appear in the book, my characters repent.

 

I didn’t write this article to bash anyone who gave Broken But I’m Healed a one or two star review. For those who gave constructive criticism, know that I am going to take them to heart and use them to fix the book before I go to second print. For those who gave Broken But I’m Healed three, four or five stars, I appreciate your love and understanding for what I thought I had done.

 

I love interacting with readers and doing group discussions. And I even love to hear about what you like and don’t like about my books. I want the constructive criticisms, not the degrading notes and threats on my life that some readers post under guises of a book review. And I don’t want you to feel like I’m one of those authors whom if you hate my book, I’m going to bash you publicly or defame your name. As an author with a slew of titles under a variety of names, I’m past that stage. I accept that I am not the writer for every reader and as I insist on writing more about the black male experience, my books will not be read by every reader. As a reader, I know what it’s like to get a book in my hands and want to throw it out of the window while I’m driving or tossing it in the trash. I know what it’s like to try to have a conversation with an author and to be utterly disrespected.

 

I don’t want to be that author. I want to be the author you can converse with, discuss books with and most importantly, one that you can read and learn from. My goal with my Isaiah David Paul books is not to promote sin, but to encourage any and every one to come to know the love of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To look beyond where they are in their lives and give Him a chance. Regardless of your sins, I believe you can accept Jesus and He will meet you where you are. In my first faith-fiction novel, Love Him Like I Do, I talk about a former adult video star who gives up that life and not only learns to spread the Word of Jesus and help a friend; he also has to deal with the fact that everyone with internet access can download his videos. He learns to live with Christ in spite of.

 

So in closing, I’m sorry you didn’t like my book(s). And I hope that I haven’t ruined it all for you. There are five other books that I’ve written under this name and I pray that you’ll enjoy those and my upcoming ones as well. Keep reading and keep encouraging those of us who want to be better authors get better.

 

www.isaiahdavidpaul.com

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