Controversy: Good or bad?

HOLLOWMy first book, Hollow, is featured in the Halloween reads on the indieBRAG website this week.  I was thrilled a few years ago when my first foray into indie publishing was awarded this prestigious award.

Since then, I wrote three more books in this series featuring former pastor’s wife, Bunny Elder, and have begun a new series, as well.

When I first published Hollow, I didn’t list it as Christian Fiction because I considered it to be more a book about a woman who happened to be a Christian than inspirational reading.  Some readers complained about the Scripture verses and overt religious content, even going so far as to accuse me of trying slip one over on them by not labeling the book Christian. So, I added the Christian label.  You guessed it; this brought complaints and bad reviews from readers expecting a very different kind of novel.

While most reviewers seemed to get it, a few did not. However, the ratings remained in the 4.5 star range.

Once the series was complete, I set this book as perma-free. That’s when the attacks began in earnest. Even though I tweaked the description to alert readers to the nature of the book, the ratings have fallen to 3.7 stars, as of this morning, although the others in the series remain above 4 stars.

My question for you is, “Can the controversy surrounding this first book be turned into some sort of advantage, or should it be ignored?”

October means Halloween. Halloween means “Hollow” promotions

Hollow is free in digital format all month long in October. I have scheduled promotions on a variety of ebook sites/newsletters being sent to readers during the month.
J.B. Hawker on StoryFindsIs featuring Hollow from October 2 – 8, and you may see it featured on other sites throughout the month.

If you have read and enjoyed Hollow, but haven’t had time to post a review (Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, or B&N), I would love it, if you would post one today.

Many of the promotion sites require a certain number of reviews or a certain star ranking to include a book, so every single good review helps.

Thank you, again, for all your support and encouragement.

Launch Team Volunteers Wanted

My current work in progress,  A Body in the Belfry, the second book in The First Ladies Club series, releases in mid-December, so now is a great time to join my Launch Team.

Members of the launch team will receive an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of the book (ePub or Mobi) in exchange for posting honest reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble or other outlets of your choice on the release date, as well as spreading the word to all your friends, neighbors and far-flung relations in the meantime via word-of-mouth, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

If you blog, post a review on your blog, or post an interview with the author (that’s me!)

Send an email to jbhawker@jbhawker.com with the Subject: Launch Team and I will add you to the list.  As soon as the completed manuscript is available I will email you the ARC.

In the meantime, I will keep you up-to-date on the progress of the book, including the final cover reveal and promotional snippets to help you increase interest in the book.

Thank you for all your support!

Nonfiction

I currently have one weekly Christian devotional guide published and am working on a daily version. These are written under my full name, Jonna Hawker Turek, and are taken mostly from my weekly inspirational blog, Power Walking with Jonna, on WordPress.

devotional guideWriting and promoting nonfiction is completely different from producing my novels. In the novels I can try on and discard one persona after another, but nonfiction calls for authenticity and transparency. With one genre I exercise my imagination and with the other my character.

Publishing anything makes a writer vulnerable, but I am learning to take the critical reviews of my fiction without flinching; looking for the helpful within the hurtful. I haven’t promoted my devotional guide since publishing it a few months ago and I haven’t received any reviews, yet, but I’m afraid I will be completely defenseless when the unflattering ones inevitably do arrive.

This writing game isn’t for sissies.