What do readers say?

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

If you wondered if I’d abandoned my website–I haven’t. I have a valid excuse for my absence. I had a complicated eye surgery, couldn’t read or use the computer for several weeks. That sucked, more than my bloodshot eye.

In the meantime, Once Upon a Night flew the nest. Back in April, I offered it for free through Voracious Readers Only. Since then, I’ve received more than 200 requests for downloads.

It’s been the first time I’ve exposed any of my books to the general public. A strange, uncomfortable feeling, not unlike, for example, my private nightmare called public speaking.

It took some time for my book to gain momentum. Now I have many ratings and quite a few reviews, mostly on Goodreads, but some on Amazon as well. The overall response has been great. The most common complaint is that the stories are too short. Which I regard as a compliment anyway.

It wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, naturally. One reader really really didn’t like that the main male character of the first story was officially still married. (When we meet him, he is legally separated). She had other complaints as well (to make it plain, she trashed it). But that’s fine. I think that the sentence:

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

is the most idiotic one ever written. Many would disagree, though.

The same reviewer, however, honoured me with one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever gotten.  She said she’d been able to get through the book because I had a beautiful writing style. I asked myself how many times I’ve read something I didn’t like just because someone had an exquisite style. Zero times. Zilch.

My. Beautiful. Writing. Style.


It’s fascinating how some readers like the same things that others don’t. One review was the mirror image of the above mentioned–she liked the book, but thought my writing needed polishing. One gave me a good review accompanied by two (or three?) stars. Some found the plot standard, for others it was intriguing. Some liked the structure, some didn’t; some found the two-sentence epilogues written as postscripts awkward, others loved them…

Some found in Once Upon A Night what I’d hoped my readers would. Some found entirely different angles to perceive it, surprising even me.

I’m still very nervous when I get a message that there is a new review. Goodreads is like dating sites–most are there to find a partner (the next read), but some have other intentions. So far, I’ve been lucky.

At the end of the day, what counts is that my book found its readers. I’ve gotten the privilege of sharing my word–and my words–with others.

What a feeling.

As for music for this time, how about Black Horse and a Cherry Tree?

About jfkaufmann

Not unlike my characters, I lead a double life: by day I'm a mother, a friend, a colleague, and the queen of my kitchen. When the moon rises, however, I shift into my other self and, as Queen of the Night, I reign the magical world of my imagination.
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12 Responses to What do readers say?

  1. Jack Eason says:

    Giving away books in the hope that one day you will be taken seriously is a complete misnoma. Anyone who does this (I included myself in that number when the days of my books being eagerly sought out ended) is only pandering to the hundreds of thousands who do not treat Indie authors with the respect we all deserve by buying a copy.
    Even less feel inclined to write a postive review. Many so-called reviewers seem to think that issuing spoilers and insults is the way every book written by an Indie should be treated. They are wrong…

    Liked by 1 person

    • jfkaufmann says:

      There are so many things in the publishing industry, both traditional and indie, that have been so fundamentally wrong for so long. Otherwise, “The Alchemist” wouldn’t be “one of the greatest and most influential books of our times”.
      I’m afraid I’m too old to consider a writing career, so I’m fine with not being taken seriously. It’s a great joy for me to write and to have a chance to see my book published.
      I agree about reviews and reviews. What we see most of the time are not reviews but opinions, which say nothing about a book.
      My last post, Story of O, was a review. A futile attempt to correct a decades old and so persistent misconception. I posted in on my library site. One of the reviews, who felt it was important to publicly express her ‘reflections’ about Story of O, said the book should be thrown in the garbage.
      Will Pauline Raege be ever taken seriously? I don’t think so.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Will she or won’t she bother to read and reply to the comment I wrote three days ago????


  3. joylennick says:

    Hi JK, How lucky to have so many reviews…When I was publlshed by mainstream publishers in the 80’s, I was over the moon so many books sold (factual and of modest size). Fast forward to CreateSpace, Amazon and the year 2,000 plus and the circulation,.advertising and promotion is a sad joke. I have yet to read your book, but am pleased to hear it has created so much interest and wish you well with sales and the next one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jfkaufmann says:

      Thank you so much, Joy.
      After so much struggle and many failed attempts to promote my books, I gave up. It took too much energy and time (and money!), leaving me frustrated and with very little time for what I like to do the most – writing. I have a full-time job, two teenage sons…I’m so grateful to Voracious Readers Only for this opportunity.
      I agree about Amazon and CS advertising and promotion. It’s worthless. Amazon didn’t want to publish several reviews for no apparent reason.
      Once Upon is free on Smashwords July 1-31, if you are interested.


  4. Wishing you continued success with your novel. I found you via Jack Eason who posted a link to your blog on my #ABRSC Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club. Thank you for the link to Voracious Readers. Would you recommend this? And did you try the paid version or just the free one?


    • jfkaufmann says:

      Thank you for you comment and sorry for the late reply.

      I’m a relatively new author. I write for pleasure, not for profit, so Voracious Readers works for me. My book has been on Amazon since January, with me being the only buyer. Now at least people read it. It was important to me to know how the readers would respond to my novella, what they would like and what not. I got some feedback, and that helps. It didn’t reflect on the sales, though.
      The guy who runs VRO is very nice and always ready to help, and the monthly fee for offering your book through his site as a free read is really moderate.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kathy Carroll says:

    Enjoyed reading Once upon a night. Was really
    interested in Hannah and Edward getting stuck
    in the elevator. I’ve always been afraid that would
    happen to me. Would love to read more of your


    • jfkaufmann says:

      Sorry, Kathy, for the late reply.
      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you liked Once Upon a Night. It’s history is interesting. I wrote it backwards, first Blind Date, and then I decided to give Nick a chance to give us his side of the story. (Once Upon a Night). It was also an experiment with short forms. It was more difficult to write than a novel.


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