Reader Reviews

Reader reviews can be hard to take. For one thing, sometimes the review isn’t about the book, it’s about Amazon. Or the delivery timing. Or stuff way beyond the control of the author.

But sometimes, the reader simply doesn’t like something about your story.

When I wrote Scales of Justice, I was excited about how the story turned out. I thought I had a fairly rich character set, if not my stoic and secretive protagonist. My antagonist had legitimate reasons for why he is the way he is. And of course, I had cowboys and dragons. What more could you want?

Well, according to one reviewer, quite a bit.

A lot of negative reviews can be dismissed. There’s no accounting for taste after all. But sometimes the review is spot on with the critique. And this time, I took a bullet between the eyes. The reviewer’s remarks were pointed and correct, and I wanted to crawl under my desk and vomit. Then wallow in it.

What they said wasn’t bad. It wasn’t hurtful. But it did hurt. Because if I had been a better storyteller, a better writer…those things couldn’t have been said.

Some of you helped me with the story, and I appreciate it. But I guess there’s something to be said about having more eyes on the pages. Critique partners might have been helpful, or maybe giving more time before publication for a few trusted sources to continue sounding off and letting me know what was wrong with the story.

Unfortunately, the reader did it for me.

Next time, I’ll do a bit better.

I hope.

How about you, fellow writers? How do you respond to feedback which isn’t stellar?


4 thoughts on “Reader Reviews

  1. Your readers are always going to be the final critique. You can either change the story they commented on OR you can take that advice with you to your next novel or project. Dominant Race hasn’t gotten stellar reviews, but I’ve learned so much from it that I can’t say it was a bad thing, and I know its sequel will be better, with the lessons I’ve learned.

    I’ve definitely learned something. I guess I’m disappointed in myself for not seeing the better alternative and having it pointed out to me. Maybe I should have spent more time on development or something. But it will be fixed when I have time to fix it…someday. Maybe.

    Call it growing pains and keep on keeping on. Don’t worry, your writing isn’t God-awful or something. 🙂

    I guess I know that, as a wordsmith, I’m okay. I don’t take it to heart when people start ranting about grammar and structure. But the story issues? I should see those. The better ending? I should’ve come up with that. How’d I miss those things? Those are the questions which plant doubt. At least to me.

    Oh! And keep in mind that no story you write will be perfect. A reader will always point out its flaws because, hey, it has flaws! Doesn’t make it a piece of crap or boring or trite or whatever word you want to use.

    I know that already. But I missed a chance at a home-run ball here. I might talk myself into fixing it after all…

  2. I very much enjoyed Scales of Justice and I’m not saying that just to make you feel good. I thought it was a well crafted, fast paced story.

    Well, thanks Holly. I appreciate that, and I’m glad you liked it.

    I’ve read a lot of klunkers since I got my Kindle and started reading unknown authors. I’ve read what I thought was downright crap from best selling authors. ‘Scales of Justice’ wasn’t ‘Lonesome Dove’, but it didn’t make me wish I didn’t know how to read either. Keep writing, you’ll only get better.

    Well, thanks again!… I think. 😉 I may have to just read Lonesome Dove to find out how I missed. 🙂

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