Why is a single complaint so powerful?

I now have the cutest puppy, named Annie.

Her arrival has brought much happiness to my hubby and my lives. The new dynamics within our home is amazing, as we speak to each other about Annie throughout the day. Chatting like never before as we have something special we share in common. Our kids are grown, the grandkids are growing up, and not close enough to visit frequently, therefore our nest was empty, so to speak. Annie has filled a need we had not been aware we had.

But, I am discovering others don’t appreciate the joy a pet brings to a home. Some of these people are complainers and make complaints about any thing they feel isn’t right – including my quiet, affectionate six month old puppy.

I live in a life style village where well behaved pets are welcome. I always heard there were grumbling residents who complained, and some of them are valid if the pet barks consistently and destroys the peace that a neighbour expects. Within a village, this can be addressed, not like the problem it can be out in the residential sub divisions.

A fellow resident decided to address their concern today.

An unidentified villager complained about me walking Annie along a pathway, past the windows of the community lounge, across tile pathways that lead from the fenced in pool, gym and along to another village street.

The complaint had me thinking.

Why is it that one complaint can be so powerful?

Why do council or village management (in my case) listen and accept the complaint as valid, instead of looking at the bigger picture?

More upset is created to the average law abiding person by this attitude than is necessary, in my opinion.

I decided to address my issue on our village facebook page, hoping not to ruffle feathers, but to open up an awareness of the way it seems to be in todays world. The complainer has all the power to stop progress, and take away the enjoyment of others.

Quote from my post:

Dear village friends and neighbours.

Almost three weeks ago I became the happy owner of the cutest little puppy, who we named Annie. Many of you have met her, as she enjoys being cuddled and talked to by people. Also she is progressively socialising with other dogs within the village.

All in all, most of us are becoming one friendly, happy pet friendly family of residents.

Unfortunately there are one or two residents who don’t seem to like pets in the village and who complained about our pet even before she arrived.

I understand barking dogs are annoying, and I’m happy to say Annie has only barked when meeting another dog who she hasn’t socialised with yet. She is very quiet at home. Neighbours who have spoken with me, are saying they would not know I had a dog if I hadn’t told them.

But there seems to be an ongoing problem somewhere. I want to address this, as I strongly desire us all to enjoy living in our lovely village.

Today I learned that one resident has complained because I walk Annie from the kitchen path, past the pool area and down the lane via the gym. Today I was told dogs are not allowed in this public area by Tony. (Our village manager)

This instruction annoys me as it is unreasonable.

Can anybody who knows why this might be a problem for the complainer, please explain what harm a quiet, clean little dog is doing taking this pathway with its’ owner, when on a leash?

My thoughts on this is that these repeated complaints are causing emotional tension by taking pleasure and enjoyment (that I have enjoyed after living here these last 8 years), away from me.

I and the 20% of other responsible doggie families in the village, surely have rights to walk within our common areas as well.

I understand why the pool and BBQ areas are out of bounds. Walking along the paved areas disturbs no one. I consider the complaint is unfair as it doesn’t affect that person negatively in any way.

Finally, this one complaint is from a resident who is unwilling to talk to me about his/her concerns. I am happy to chat with him/her if he/she will discuss their problem one to one.

Unless they do this, their grumbling will continue in the village about such situations making the atmosphere in the village not what it should be for all affected.

I invite him/her to meet me in the lounge and I’ll shout you a drink and we can talk this over.

Glennis

How can I be sure I’m choosing the right book cover design?

Hi friends,

I need your opinion, please.

Is it really important to select a professional cover designer who has solid experience in creating bestselling cover design that does its intended job?

I recently read the following blog.

– Do you the author, feel a need to gather opinions about your proposed cover design, and do so only from a qualified focus group composed of prospective readers in your market segment who are interested in this specific topic?

As an author, it’s easy to seek input from people you know, like your spouse, friends and co-workers. They care for you and want what’s best for you, so it’s safe to trust their advice, right? WRONG!

In reality, their opinions are pretty much useless.

They are most likely not your target audience so what they think, well, it simply doesn’t matter. If you develop your book to make your friends and family happy, you end up with a book which won’t appeal to your buying audience.

When surveying your focus group, do not ask “What do you think about my cover design?”

Ask this question, and this question only: “Would you buy this book?”

Then sit back and wait for the answer. You are not soliciting opinions about design. Don’t even mention it. You only want to know if the cover compels them to buy.

Quote from blog – 8 mistakes will absolutely kill your book.
— Read more www.selfpublishedauthor.com/content/8-mistakes-will-absolutely-kill-your-book

Much of what is written above, I agree with.

Of late I have considered what actually works for me regarding book covers. My opinion is as valid as any one else’s, so my thoughts follow.

My second novel is soon to be published. A cover must be designed. I want to get it right as the series needs a certain unique look.

A respected author I follow on Facebook commented after reading my novel that my cover needs attention. The comment explained font size challenges that I am aware of, but what surprised me was that she believes the cover should have a person pictured on it.

I am wondering why she believes a human figure must be on the cover?

Do book covers really need someone as the focal point?

Would you buy a book without a person on the cover?

Does this human image actually encourage a potential reader to pick up a book and consider reading it?

Does it depend on genre?

My genre is historical fiction based upon genuine historical events in a family. Would a picture of an 1870s woman, or man or couple, display adequately the possible content of the book?

Not in my experience.

Many of my readers gaze with interest at the country scene with the stone building of ‘The Fortune Seekers- Dan and Charlotte’ and comment that they love my cover.

I ask, ‘Would you buy this book?’ The answer seems to be ‘maybe, as the picture on the cover has me interested.’

Personal promotion

I sell at Sunday Markets, enjoying chatting with those who stop to read the large blurb on my signage. Potential customers buy my book because of the relationship we form after our two way conversations. Success depends upon my ability to enthuse them to read it because it contains something they are interested in learning, exploring or understanding at an emotional level. Their interest is sparked when discovering they are talking with the author. Their smiles widen when I offer to sign their book.

Remember- WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) After a pleasant chat, and my personal signing, plus a book mark to move forward as they proceed into the story, they leave with happy memories related to the book. It’s a unique experience, not often happening to book readers.

Did the cover help? Maybe, maybe not.

But, in a bookstore or catalogue, what attracts a potential reader?

As an author I see many cover ideas on Facebook every week, and I read a number of books each month. For me it’s the Blurb followed by a quick preview of the style and opening pages that interests me.

A cover that is bright, simple, balanced and hinting at its possible genre by its title and picture will draw me. Whereas the beautiful faces, perfect figures that tend to be everywhere on the book shelves and ebook lists don’t.

An author friend published a few short stories last year. (Red cover, no picture at all, just the title and author name.) Knowing and enjoying his books, the plain cover didn’t put me off.

Saying that, I add that a very different, surprising, original book cover actually draws me to it. Whether or not it is professionally designed.

Uniqueness for me is the essence – whether it is the colours, font, or the fact that it piques my curiosity, urging me to read the back blurb, or skim over the first few pages to see if the writing style draws me quickly.

That, for me, speaks of a book cover doing its job.

How about you?

I am interested in your thoughts fellow book readers, especially when considering a book by an unknown author.

I am eager to hear whether a cover encourages you to buy a book.

Thank you.

Glennis

How can I be sure I’m choosing the right cover design?YouTube clip

Helpful Reading list to Be Original in your writing

Latest post on the Advanced Fiction Writing blog by Randy Ingermanson

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How To Be More Original

By Randy as Admin on Jan 18, 2018 05:56 pm

As a novelist, it’s hard to be original. How do you learn to be more original, when it feels like your writing is too much like the books you’ve been reading?

H.B. posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:

I’ve been reading lots of YA recently (hunger games, divergent etc) and recently started writing my own novel. I am only a teenager, but I write in the hopes that I will edit my work and publish it when I’m older. Anyway the book I’m writing at the moment seems too close to other books I’m reading – it has attributes that are very similar to novels in the same genre but I’m not coping on purpose, it just happens as I’m writing! What should I do?

Randy sez: There’s an old saying that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I suspect that the problem is that you’re reading books that are too similar to each other. You’ve read the Hunger Games series and the Divergent series, but those are quite similar books. Naturally, when you go to write your own novel, you’re going to produce something like the things you’ve been reading.

Solving the Problem

The solution is pretty simple, but it’s going to take some time.

Read more.

Read widely.

Read stuff you like.

Read stuff you don’t like.

The more you read, the more you’ll expand your horizon on what can be done as a novelist. That will keep you from getting into a rut.

Some Recommended Books

 I’ve tried to read at least something in practically every major category, even categories that I don’t particularly like. Here is a random collection of books that have helped broaden my horizons. It’s a very small selection from my library, but it cuts across all the main categories:

• The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The quintessential fantasy series for adults.

• The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling. The quintessential YA fantasy series.

• Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. An exciting science fiction novel about an earth-orbiting Battle School where pre-teen military cadets are groomed to save the earth from an alien invasion.

• The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. A massive historical novel set in 11th century England about the building of a cathedral and the internal politics of a monastery. Most of Ken Follett’s fans think this is his best novel.

• The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean Auel. A long historical novel set in ice-age Europe about a four-year-old human girl adopted by Neanderthals.

• Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. A time-travel romance novel set in 18th century Scotland about a British nurse in 1945 who falls in love with a Scotsman after finding herself unexpectedly transported to 1743.

• Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. The quintessential historical romance novel, about a strong-willed self-absorbed young woman growing up during and after the Civil War.

• The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. A literary novel about a pair of genius Jewish teen-age boys from rival religious communities who start out as enemies and become best friends.

• The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. A dystopian futuristic novel about a young woman being used as a concubine in a world where most people are infertile.

• The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. The quintessential Mafia novel about an organized crime family fighting for survival in the brutal New York underworld.

• The Firm, by John Grisham. This was Grisham’s breakout novel about an ambitious young lawyer hired to work in a cushy law firm who discovers that his company is a front for a money laundering operation.

• The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy. This was Clancy’s first novel about a Soviet sub commander who tries to deliver the latest submarine intact to the Americans at the height of the Cold War, with the entire Soviet navy in hot pursuit.

• The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, by John LeCarre. In 1961, a washed up British spy is approached by East German spies hoping to persuade him to defect. In my opinion, the best spy novel ever written.

• The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle. The quintessential series of mystery stories and novels.

• The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. A non-linear story about a man with a genetic defect that yanks him back and forth in time—and the woman who loves him.

• Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen. A classic romance novel about a young English woman who has the audacity to want to marry for love, and the three very different young men who pursue her.

• Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead. A bestselling YA novel about a group of young vampires in a special academy where they learn how to defend themselves against the evil Strigoi.

I could go on much longer, but this is enough for now. Most of these are classics in their category, and I’ve read almost all of them several times. These cover most of the major categories of fiction. Most of them are not suitable for children, but I will note that most of my writer friends were reading books not suitable for children at a very early age. And so was I. People who are destined to be writers tend to grow up fast and read books that would horrify their parents.

How to Be More Original

My opinion is that every novelist needs to read thrillers. And romance novels. And fantasy. And science fiction. And classics. And dystopic novels. And YA. And horror. And historicals. And mysteries. And religious fiction.

You don’t have to read a lot of books in a category you don’t like. But you should read at least enough to prove that you really don’t like the category. The goal is to learn what’s out there, and what can be done with the written word. My list above is tilted a bit towards thrillers and historicals, because that’s what I like.

Reading in a wide variety of categories is the best inoculation I know against the dread disease of accidentally writing like your favorite author.

If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer the ones I can, but no guarantees. There are only so many hours in the day.

The post How To Be More Original appeared first on Advanced Fiction Writing.

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More to read:

The Road to Glory for Novelists

Your Novel’s Best Reading Level

How to Use The Force to Write Your Novel

New Snowflake Method Audiobook

How Does a Seat-of-the-Pants Writer Create Story Structure?

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I really want a dog

2017 was a horrible year, emotionally.

My life was on hold as I watched my beloved brother face a terminal brain tumour. I learnt about love as I observed the devotion of his wonderful wife, and realised how precious life really is.

I discovered how much we as humans can sacrifice for those who we love unconditionally. I saw inner strength rise in this special woman – strength needed so she could tend for every need of my brother.

After eleven months we lost Graeme.

My family gathered from far and near, celebrating his life rather than grieving over his untimely departure.

We have our lives for an indefinite time – what we encounter along the journey can change us. I believe my family have changed in many ways. I definitely am a different person.

Graeme’s fight to live and his disappointment that he didn’t have extra time after the chemo and operation, devastated us all.

In the three weeks that have passed since he left us, I know the truth – he has gone from us, but my acceptance of his going is fleeting, and grief comes and passes.

I have discovered I have a need after his passing that my faith alone can not fill.

I am aware I must begin my life again without my brother being here.

There is always something positive to be gained after such experience if we start looking for it. For me it is the realisation of how deep we as humans are capable of loving one another.

I observed old frictions pass away. New tolerance and empathy replaces what were family antagonisms.

I observed the strength within my family is our ability to love, support, encourage, and stand by each other through difficulties.

Now when returning to my normal life, nothing is quite the same as before.

The sadness, deep reflection continues, and sense of loss will never end.

For me, it is early days.

I did loose my childhood best friend. Graeme made me laugh, as a child he was inquisitive and irrepressibly brave in that he explored the boundaries – often testing our father and needing correction. Running away (not away from home), but away from our father. I still remember him racing around the house with Dad in hot pursuit – a middle aged man wearing heavy work boots chasing his fearless young son.

Did he get the strap? No.

How could our Dad discipline his son in the way we were disciplined in the 1950’s, (corporal punishment), after chasing him around the family home. Especially as the two of them began laughing the further they both ran.

Yes, Graeme made me laugh.

Perhaps it is this that I will miss most – his raw humour, and obvious love for me. His sense of drama and silly actions that made me giggle at him and with him, when we watched his unexpected hi jinx.

This is why I really want a dog.

During the weeks I spent with my family to visit my brother and those who were devoting every free minute to being his care givers, I grew to appreciate the power of family pets.

Especially the affection and dedication to my family by their pet dogs. On many visits through out 2017 I enjoyed the antics of these beautiful creatures. They made me laugh when I became despondent. I felt them nuzzling into me, begging to sit on my knee, resting a head on my lap, demanding my attention in ways I interpret as therapeutic and loving.

People my age are facing many unexpected ailments

Most of us are watching friends and family dying in greater number than ever before.

What better reason is there to have a devoted pet dog in an older persons life.

I want a dog of my own

I have progressively, since my return from where many of my family live, found myself imagining life with a dog at my heels on my evening walks. I imagine it following me from room to room, as wanting to be close to me. I see it exploring my courtyard garden, sniffing out the lizards. I want to play fetch, teach it tricks, and celebrate its’ accomplishments.

It feels right to imagine it reaching up on its’ hind legs, hoping I will sit it on my knees in front of the telly, or sharing my lap with my ipad as I write.

I don’t intend it to sleep on our bed, but I am sure it will do so.

I imagine combing and brushing it as I had done to my dolls locks as a child. Buying toys will be a pleasure. Visiting the vet for inoculations are likely to hurt me more than it.

Expensive? Yes, so I am told.

Taking it on our caravan trips will add a fun aspect, even though we will be prevented going into some camping grounds and national parks.

Two years ago, the experience of travelling with my doggie meant nothing. Today it excites me. My energy level is rising. My feelings of introspection, decreasing. The occasional feelings of depression lifts when I think about living with a pet dog. I can’t wait to have one.

But there are challenges to be overcome. The hubby says we are not ready for one yet as we travel a lot. What will I do with my little dog when we travel overseas to my home country and family? At the moment this appears to be a problem, as where will my beloved pooch go?

But I know that, with every challenge, there is always a way through.

Why wait until everything is in order, when all boxes are in order, as in reality this isn’t what life is about, is it?

I am wondering when is the right time?

It is like planned or unplanned parenthood – when the baby arrives it becomes the right time. It’s just a decision and then living accordingly.

Every day I find myself searching for doggies who need homes in pet refuges, or who are for sale in Australia, as I am searching for my new funny friend. The someone who will make me laugh like my brother Graeme did. It won’t bring him back, as nothing can, but my new friend may brighten what can be days when laughter is the best medicine.

Remember the song

How much is that doggie in the window?

The one with the waggly tail.

How much is that doggie in the window,

I do wish that doggie was mine.

Do you understand?

Have you made New Year Resolutions for 2018.

Happy New Year.

May 2018 be everything you want it to be and more.

New Year Resolution- update Amazon Author Page. TICK!

Noted the prices have not been altered downwards for the revised edition.

Second Resolution- get this done ASAP

Working on it

Third Resolution- ask all readers of either editions to write a review, so the book will display better statistics.

Please, whether you bought or were gifted a copy, please go to my listing on Amazon.Com and provide feedback.

Forth Resolution- be Thankful.

Dear Readers: I certainly do appreciate you doing this for me. If you felt the first version was too long (some said this about Part One), the revised version is not. I am happy to send you an ebook copy at no charge, if you will provide a review.

Have you ever checked out my Amazon Author Page? Here it is . . .

amazon.com/author/glennisbrowne

Thank you.

Happy New Year.