It’s always helpful as an author, especially an unknown one publishing their debut novel, to have reviews of their book posted for readers on the first day the book goes live. My publisher recommended that I find 5 to 10 people to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of my novel to read and review on Goodreads and Amazon. I could choose anyone I wanted to be an advanced reviewer.

Let me tell you, the temptation was there to choose my close friends and family members because they love me and would surely give me 5 star ratings to show their support. But, instead of choosing the safe path, I did something risky.

I chose 10 fellow authors, only one of whom I know in real life, to review my novel.

Talk about scary!

All of the authors I selected (except for the one), I only know through social media. They don’t have a vested interested in seeing me succeed. Nor, does it affect them if I fail. They don’t need to worry about hurting my feelings or ruining a relationship. Likewise, they don’t have anything to judge me on other than the book I wrote.

Also, most writers are avid readers. Thus by asking for authors to review my work, I’m putting myself up for judgement against lots of fellow authors, including those who’ve written incredible books that end up on the New York Times bestsellers list.

It was also risky because each author has their own style. Their own beliefs about the rules of writing, what makes a good story, genre preferences, stylistic choices and a myriad of other opinions about what “good” writing is.

While I was waiting on reviews, let me tell you, I was a nervous, anxious mess. I felt like I had placed myself right in the middle of a firing squad and was holding my breath anticipating the stinging bullets to come.

As I expected, some of the comments hurt a little, showing me that I need to toughen up a bit and perhaps work a bit more on my craft. Some remarks brought tears to my eyes because they were so positive and uplifting. All of the reviews taught me about myself and what to expect on this journey as a published author.

To breakdown my reviews that have been posted on Goodreads, I have an average of 4.36 stars out of 5 based on the 10 reviews from those who received Advanced Reader Copies of my book. I received 4 total 5 star (out of a possible 5) reviews, 5 total 4 star reviews and 1 total 3 star reviews.

Here are some of the positive things that were said about Bits & Pieces, and/or me as an author:

Beautiful and haunting.

Cleverly written psychological thriller that pulls you in on the first few pages and doesn’t let go.

Riveting, edge of the seat thriller layered with complex themes. Isolation, depression, suspense, mystery.

The author manages to create a unique balance of action and emotion.

Get ready to experience a wild ride and with some very unique aspects that make it terrifically original. I have never read anything quite like this book.

Some very clever “whoa” moments that I didn’t see coming.

I would highly recommend this book. It’s a very entertaining read, with an edge of your seat quality to it at pivotal points. I will be keeping an eye out for more works from this promising new author in the future.

The development of Tessa’s gift, or curse, was so well done I could ‘feel’ it myself. I look forward to Ms. Hosmer’s next book.

A fascinating thriller with a twist of the paranormal, which is perfect as this story is full of unexpected twists and turns.

There are plenty of “wow” moments in this story.  If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind thriller, I recommend Mrs. Hosmer debut novel.

Wow. What a thriller.

For any reader who likes stories who stay deep in a character’s head and minimize the details, this one’s for you. I definitely can’t wait for the next tale from this author.

A novel unlike any I have read before. The description presents with an intriguing plot that captured my attention right away.

Read this one, it will be the first of many greats I think!

Bits & Pieces by Dawn Hosmer is a fast-paced psychological suspense thriller with a unique storyline.

A roller coaster ride for your psyche.

Dawn Hosmer’s debut, Bits & Pieces is the type of book that you want to tell people about!

But, along with the positives also came some constructive criticism or negatives.

It did take me a solid 60 pages or so to get into this book.

I wanted more world-building in this tale. More immersion into the setting and how it affects events and the main character so I could forget I was reading and feel like I was in the scene.

Some sections were slower than I liked

It should have a BIG trigger warning (especially for what’s going on in our world today) for rape, murder, and gruesome assault leading up to these events. 

It took me about 38% to get really into the story.

Would I read another novel by this author? Most likely. I think this was an overall decent novel

Based on all of the reviews, I’ve come to realize a few things, especially now that I’ve had time to process them and mull them over (in other words, completely over-think them as I do with absolutely everything).

  • This book is not for everyone. It is twisted and dark. There are scenes of violence, including rape. There are a few curse words. I did add a Trigger warning to the Amazon page for Bits & Pieces for these reasons.
  • Some people will love my writing and some won’t. I have to learn to be okay with that. It’s difficult to hear that someone doesn’t love something you’ve poured your heart and soul into for the past several years. But, it’s also life. I don’t like the same music, books, or movies as other people may and that’s okay. We all have different tastes and opinions for a reason. 
  • I’m going to get bad reviews once Bits & Pieces is released into the world. I need to handle both the good and bad reviews the same way — take what I need and leave the rest. I need to learn where I can improve without taking every comment to heart and beating myself up with it.
  • Putting my writing out into the world is scary because people will judge it. No one likes to be judged, especially harshly. But, if I want to be a published author, this comes with the territory.
  • Especially with these reviews from fellow authors, I hope to incorporate some of their feedback into my future writing. For instance, several people commented that it started off too slowly. While I had reasons for making the first part of the book less action packed than the end, I need to consider this in future novels. I need to make sure the reader is invested right away. When I’m given feedback on my work, I tend to follow the guidelines of: If I hear it once, consider the feedback. If I hear it twice, it probably needs changed. If I hear it three times, change it. In this case, 3 people said that the pacing was a bit slow in the beginning. While it’s too late to change that in Bits & Pieces, I need to do a better job with pacing and pulling the reader in immediately in the future.
  • I’m going to get some 5 star reviews that will make me ecstatic. I’m going to get some 1 star reviews that rip me to shreds. Through it all, I need to remember that regardless of my ratings, I wrote a book that I love even if it’s not perfect. 
  • Last, but not least, like everything in life, I can choose to focus on the positive or the negative. I’m naturally a pessimist but am learning slowly, day by day, to focus on the positives. Overall in my reviews, there were many more positives than negatives.

Thank you to all of the amazing authors who took the time to read and review the Advanced Reader Copies of Bits & Pieces. You can see their full reviews on Goodreads:

Jennifer Irwin

DK Marie

Shawn Burgess

Colleen Brown

Heather Harrison

KT Daxon

KJ Harrowick

Ian Cahill

Jessica Froberg

Jodi Rath

Bits & Pieces should be ready for release VERY SOON! I will make sure to post updates here as well as on all of my social media accounts.

Thank you for reading about my journey!


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