Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Heroes & Villains Blogfest

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Short and sweet today. This is for the insecure writer and author looking for reviews.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by on Monday for my list of sites that review self-published books. The Indie View database has 250 such sites, and I hope everyone had a chance to explore the list. Every genre was represented.

Reviews before and after a book’s release are so important. Few people will purchase a book online with no reviews and often readers will look on the backs of books for reviews and blurbs. Reviews are editorial in nature and therefore carry more credibility and weight than any ad.

The large publishers have a list of reviewers for their titles and the author is along for the ride. Smaller, independent publishers often welcome suggestions from their authors though. And if you are self-published, that task falls to you.

In addition to the database I listed Monday, here are some others:

Book Review Blogs
FSB Media
Ebook Crossroads
Media Bistro

Happy reviewer hunting!

The Heroes & Villains blogfest is hosted by Jackie at Bouquet of Books and Dani at Entertaining Interests. It’s actually tomorrow, but I am posting today.

I decided to challenge myself with this blogfest and do something a little different. So I’m picking both a hero and a villain from one of my favorite books, Watership Down.

Hero - Hazel

Hazel is a young buck and not big enough to be in the Owsla, the ruling clique. But when his brother, Fiver, has visions of the warren being destroyed, Hazel leads a small band across the English countryside to a place called Watership Down.

Hazel is very clever and determined their new warren will survive. He makes plans to secure some does, which involves befriending a seagull, raiding a farm, and freeing a group of rabbits from a cruel warren called Efrafa. Usually the Chief Rabbit of a warren is the biggest and strongest, but Hazel proves himself a true leader and gains the respect of the others. He is very much like El-ahrairah, Prince with a Thousand Enemies - essentially, the father of all rabbits.

Villain - Woundwort

General Woundwort is the Chief Rabbit of the warren Efrafa. He is large, vicious, and cruel. He controls his warren through fear and with an iron paw, only allowing a certain number of rabbits to graze at a time so no one discovers the true size of the warren. Despite the overpopulation and misery of the rabbits, no one is allowed to leave.

His vision is for his empire, not his people. Woundwort refuses to be beaten and he won’t listen to reason, either. When diplomacy fails and Hazel resorts to a trick to free some of Efrafa’s rabbits, Woundwort comes after Hazel and his friends with a vengeance.

Who wins? You’ll have to read the book!

Who are your literary heroes and villains?


  1. It can definitely be tough to open ourselves up to reviews...but so necessary.

    I love Watership Down!

  2. Yes, yes. Reviews can be a tricky business! Thanks so much for sharing--as always, you're such a great asset to the community, and I'm so glad you take time out of your super busy schedule to contribute!

  3. I haven't read the book but I did see the movie as a kid. It freaked me out since I had rabbits and we lived in England where the rabbit killing disease existed.

  4. I have lost count of the reviewers who've turned me down or just not replied to my query. I'm starting to wonder whether I ought to keep trying - reviewers seem to get so booked up :-( Thanks for the list though :-)

  5. Great database-thanks for sharing.

  6. Such cute illustrations! :)

  7. Thanks for the database Diane.

  8. Reviews really are important. One of my goals this summer is to read and review more self-published books. Thanks for the links.

  9. That book was the only one that made me cry as a kid!

    Thanks for the list. My new book has no reviews and I was kind of hoping for it to naturally happen. I never ask for reviews. But maybe I should look into some of these sites.

  10. When you are an unknown writer it is so hard to find legitimate reviewers. Thanks so much for your resources, Diane.

  11. Thank you, Randi Lee.

    Annalisa, new ones keep popping up, so continue to try.

    Charmaine, you have to ask. Most reviewers and book bloggers have submission guidelines on their site.

  12. Hi, Diane,

    You make me want to find a copy of Watership Down and read it.

    Like a lot of other writers, I'm reluctant to ask for reviews. I have a book review blog and I'm inundated with requests from other people, so I understand that there's a good chance that I might never hear back on a request. All the same, if I find readers who are interested in my books, I'll ask if they'd read another. I think our Fan Pages on Fb can help with that.

    We really have no choice but to keep moving forward.

  13. Lots of places to find reviewers.
    I've never read Watership Down though.

  14. I missed your Monday post. I need to go back and read it. You always have such good suggestions and practical ideas ideas for writers.

    When purchasing a book, I want to see the blurb first. I occasionally glance at the reviews or at the very least, how many stars given.


  15. Reviews still scare me. I'll have to toughen up for those when my book is finally finished.

    Evil bunnies? Say it isn't so!


  16. I love Watership Down!! What a great book. It's time to re-read that one. It's so good!

    My favorite book hero is Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery! My favorite book villain is Flagg from The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. Ooo, he gets under my skin! I hate what he does in that book. But it makes it so good!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  17. I try not to read my own reviews. And maybe I should read Watership Down out loud to the kids this summer. I love that book!!

  18. Getting reviews is hard, necessary, frustrating, exciting and almost every other adjective in the dictionary. Great to see Watership Down here. I really loved that book.

  19. I hate asking for reviews, but I have spent a good amount of time writing up emails to ask people and offer up my book. We'll see what comes of it!

  20. AnonymousJune 05, 2013

    Reviews are interesting. Some of them seem staged and almost like self promotion from a friend. It's good to have reviews from unbiased sources - people who will be honest, fair and kind, regardless of whether or not they like the book.

  21. JL, they are used to getting requests and while often inundated, they will respond to books they want to read.

    Sia, I'll glance at those things, too.

    Elsie, he was evil.

    Laura, I remember Flagg!

    Mel, publishers ask - authors need to ask, too.

  22. Getting reviews is hard. I've done a few before launch for some friends. For others, I try to read and get them up. Unfortunately, I'm so backlogged. Gah!

    I think helping each other is probably the best route until you can get a reviewer lined up [because it's going to take awhile].

    Happy IWSG! Watership Down was a great book.

  23. Ack! I've never read Watership Down. So many little time. :/
    Thank you for the reviewer lists!

  24. I've never read Watership Down and I'm not even sure if I've seen the cartoon.

    I'll have to give one of them a look :)

  25. Thanks for more review ideas. I've learned that rabbits can be mean and vicious for such cuddly looking creatures.

  26. It's been sooooo long since I've read Watership Down - time to pull it out again!

  27. Hi, L.Diane,

    YAY for more excellent links. Now I am ready .... WHEN ... LOL.

    Really amusing entry for this blogfest. So original. Thanks for sharing...

  28. I missed your Monday post, but will definitely study it and your other tips. Thanks so much!

    I read that book so long ago, I don't think I understood much about it and don't remember anything now! Great job on the blog hop. I've got to work on mine tonight, somehow!! Writer’s Mark

  29. Mark, they really need to make another movie.

    Susan, remember the rabbit in Monty Python! He was vicious.

  30. Thanks for all the review tips, Diane. We can use them.

    I read Watership Down years ago as a kid and really enjoyed it. Love those talking animals!

  31. Thank you Diane for all your time and work! I will go back and look~
    I have been cleaning n' clearing before it gets too hot. I know to late~

    I remember that book! I want to visit it again-
    thank you

  32. I watched watership down once- that is creepy...

  33. Watership Down is one of my childhood memory movies :)

    A hero that doesn't have to be big and burly, who can lead with his mind and is example - nice pick in Hazel.

    I remember riling against the oppression of Woundwort (although I didn't remember his name) even as a child, a really vicious and nasty villain.

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles

  34. I've never read the book but I got a great view of these characters just from your descriptions. Very cool.

  35. I've never heard of nor read Watership Down so I best get in that! Thanks for joining our fest and posting done new and great characters!!

  36. I have never read Watershipdown either. But I do know about it. Thanks for bringing it up. I have wanted to introduce it to my kids.

    Great work!

    The Other Side

  37. Watership Down is one of those classics I've been meaning to read for years but never got around to yet. Hazel is one of my all-time favorite names, so it's kind of odd for me to see it on a male character.

  38. You just took me back to sixth grade! I read Watership Down and then told all my classmates (tiny private school) and we would play Watership Down, making my 6th grade nickname "Hazel-Rah." Love, love, LOVE that book!


  39. Sounds like great read.


  40. Aww. I love that you chose your H and V from Watership Down. Great book!!!

    Thanks for participating in the blogfest! :)

  41. I haven't read Watership down since I was in school and I've forgotten most of it, but you make me want to read it again. Great post.
    Tasha's Thinkings

  42. Thanks for the review list!
    And good choices for the fest!

  43. Watership down, excellent! I can't help but imagine the bunny politics when I'm watching the rabbits grazing in my yard. Do they have a General Woundwort controlling how many come up at one time? Is that bitty baby bunny I see every day really a combination of baby bunnies? I did wonder why there was only one baby when rabbits are supposed to multiply like, well, rabbits...

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  44. Thanks for all the links L. Dianne.
    I love to read and review books written by blogger buddies. (when time permits)
    It's my way of giving back to this wonderful community!
    Writer In Transit

  45. Sophia, oppression is definitely have Woundwort ruled.

    Carrie-Anne, you should read it. The book is a classic.

    MPL, that's so cute!

    Shannon, I wonder those things as well.

    Sorry I was gone yesterday and didn't get around to visit. I will today.

  46. I've never seen Watership Down, but I really have to if it had such great characters.General Woundwort sounds truly evil.

  47. Nope, never heard of it. Crazy. Going to have to check it out now.

  48. my mom read us watership down as kids & i asked her for a copy for xmas last year =)
    so awesome! and scary and creative!

  49. and i am so anxious about my launch i may throw up, nevermind worrying about reviews, which i am!

  50. Wow, Watership Down... talk about a blast from the past :)

    Thanks for those links... I may need a reviewer or seven in the future :)

    PS. Thanks ((MUCH)) for stopping by and commenting on my D-Day post.

    CSM Ryan's story has received an incredible amount of support - *thank you* Blitzers :) - and Bill appreciated all the comments directed his way :)

  51. AnonymousJune 09, 2013

    My publisher apparently sends out review requests to over a hundred sites, but I'm thinking I should scrounge around myself. So thanks for the links. Haven't read Watership yet, but I plan to.

  52. Oh Watership Down! You took me right back, Diane.