I’ve added a page to the site for reviews (you’ll find it in the sidebar right under “About the Book” ). Go browse through them and see what readers are saying about The Fiddler’s Gun. If you’ve reviewed the book and don’t see yours listed, let me know and I’ll be happy to add it. I need you readers out there to help spread the word. If you’re interested in writing a review for your website or know of a review site that you think would enjoy the book, get in touch with me via the contact page. Don’t be shy.
Even if you don’t have a website, you can still help. At the bottom of the “Read the Reviews” page you’ll find the opportunity to leave your own review in the comments. Make it as long or as short as you like. And don’t forget to leave a review at Amazon.com or Goodreads as well. But don’t forget that the best reviews of all are those you give to friends over dinner or a hot cup of coffee. If you’ve enjoyed the book, don’t keep it to yourself, let people know.
In Stephen King’s book On Writing, he refers to the creative force behind his work as the little gnome that he keeps in the basement. When King sits down to write, the gnome, if he’s been treated well, passes his stories up through the cracks in the floorboards and, a page at a time, a book begins to take shape. If you haven’t read On Writing, you should. It’s a great book, both a memoir and a manual. One of the most enduring things that I took away from it was this concept of the gnome in the basement, a grimy little guy down there in the dark that’s slaving away at all hours, stockpiling his little tales, and essays, and notes so that when the lazy tenant upstairs comes knocking, he’s got something to offer up. The key to the keeping of the gnome is that the little guy needs to be well-kept.
In the last couple of months I’ve been asked by several people how I go about finding criticism. I’ve talked a bit about this before and you can read my previous post on it by clicking this link. But here I want to discuss an angle of the subject that I didn’t cover in that post: online criticism. When I first began my revisions of The Fiddler’s Gun, I dabbled in a few online critique groups and systems and they weren’t completely without benefit. The process usually consisted of posting a chapter or an excerpt and then sitting back to let anonymous people tear into it. While it certainly did open my eyes to a few issues, the greater lesson I learned from it was that criticism by strangers is only useful to a point; it has a glass ceiling. The ceiling exists at the point that your prose is more or less grammatically correct, properly formatted, devoid of easy cliches, and doing a good job of showing, not telling.
This ceiling marks the place where an acceptable mastery of the objective nuts-and-bolts craft of writing has been achieved and your work as a whole begins to hinge more clearly on the subjective art of storytelling. Any anonymous internet person can point out why your subject and verb don’t agree but in order for someone’s artistic opinion of your use of pace, symbolism, voice, or rhythm to mean much, you’ve got to understand where they are coming from. That’s not always easy to do via the internet.
I’ve had a strong, positive response from librarians that have read The Fiddler’s Gun and I’d really like to have it placed on the Accelerated Reader list for schools that participate in the program. In order to make the list, the book needs to be recommended by verifiable librarians and schools. If you are a librarian or a teacher I’d like to send you a free copy of The Fiddler’s Gun to consider for a recommendation to the Accelerated Reader program. You can contact me by clicking here. Please include the school’s shipping address so I can mail it to you there.
If you’d like to set up an author visit to discuss the book at your school, I’d love to work with you. Contact me so we can work out a date, schedule, and format that works best for you and your students.