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A Bad Review I Didn't Mind!

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message 1: by Sean (new)

Sean (svlehosit) Today, my girlfriend came to visit me and asked why I was smiling; I turned to her and said, "check out this review." She read it and didn't understand why I was so happy with a bad review.

Earlier today my book, Lucifer and Lacious, was reviewed by Elijah at his blog Seven Lions. You can read his review here: http://sevenlions.org/wp/?p=305

My girlfriend was bewildered that I liked a review that had not one good comment about the book at all. Check it out, I'm not kidding!

The reason I enjoyed the review was that I appreciated Elijah's brutal honesty... he didn't like the story. But, the things about the story he didn't like are the same things that other readers who love the book love the story.

So, bad reviews are not the end of the world. For instance; Elijah thought the appearances of historical and biblical figures were corney and a sign of an amateur. However, the readers that my book aims for loves this. Here's a comment a woman sent to me via my website:

"I just wanted to let you know I read your book and I thought it was great! I read it while I was on vacation in mexico. My favorite part had to be when "Slave" met Jack the Ripper and Hitler, nice. All the detail throughout the story was great."

I'm not complaining about the review. I just was wondering if any of you also have had experiences where you don't mind a bad review, because it actually targets your demographic more.

My favorite comment from Elijah was meant to be a bad thing, but it actually beautifully describes what my fans love to read. "The Hell of Lucifer and Lacious is a macho place, filled with sword-slashing angels, face-ripping demons, crates of supplies, armies..."

Lucifer and Lacious isn't trying to be Dante. It's not "literature." It's gorey, messy... filled with sword-slashing angels, and face-ripping demons. And proud of it.

My fans love that shit.


message 2: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Sean wrote: "Today, my girlfriend came to visit me and asked why I was smiling; I turned to her and said, "check out this review." She read it and didn't understand why I was so happy with a bad review."

Excellent way to look at a "bad" review. I read the review and found it to be very insightful. I also read it to my husband who is now quite interested in your book. (He likes Stephen King, John Saul, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, etc.) Very clever to tweet about your fav part of the review, too.

Personally, I have not had a bad review for one of my books yet. I am dreading it when I do. I will take what you have said, however, and look for the positive in the negative. :o)


message 3: by Donald (new)

Donald Kirch (storywriter1967) | 2 comments Sean,

We are NOT true writers until we get a bad review. They are sauce for the goose.


message 4: by Liane (new)

Liane Spicer (lianespicer) | 1 comments I haven't had a bad review yet so I'm not sure how I'll react when I do, but I love your approach! I think we writers tend to take the bad stuff too much to heart: one bad review can erase the effect of 20 (or 100) good ones, it seems. We need to remember that reviews are people's very subjective views and they're entitled to them.

A writer I read about has been having floods of great reviews, then one bad one on Amazon just floored her. Really, really floored her. Weeks later, she got a glowing special mention from the judges of the Orange Prize! She was that close to winning one of the most prestigious prizes in literature! We won't all have that kind of validation, but we really need to find a way to not let the occasional bad review wound us too deeply.


message 5: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I've had a bad review. I can't say that they have any lasting effect on me, but I think it's my background that's responsible. I'm a trained artist, and art tutors can be incredibly ruthless. If you don't grow a thick skin at art school you end up cowering in a corner for the rest of your life.

My worst review so far was by someone who loved the book (the Guppy one). Five out of five stars on Amazon. Unfortunately it also divulged the entire plot of the book, including the ending. I had to get Amazon to remove it. I never thought I'd end up vexed about a positive one... just shows, you never can tell.


message 6: by Curt (new)

Curt (clf99) | 7 comments Sounds like the review was "Tastes like celery. I hate celery."

If you like celery, then the review wouldn't put you off.


message 7: by Vincent (last edited Apr 25, 2009 10:16PM) (new)

Vincent Lowry (vlowry) | 110 comments I think this post, as well as similar threads I have read, proves the subjectivity of reading. I once took a look at some of my favorite books on Amazon (the ones I would rank as 5 stars) and read all the reviews that said such-and-such book sucked, or was unoriginal, or was the dumbest thing they had bought in the history of their online purchases. It's actually a great form of entertainment. I couldn't help but laugh at half of the comments...especially the ones that went on a ranting rampage for the length of a novella.


message 8: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Wow. Spoke too soon. I just got two bad, bad, bad reviews on Amazon for two of my books. Great big 'ouch' but oddly, I'm not all broken up about it. It's all a learning experience, right?


message 9: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I got a stinker recently on Goodreads, for The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy. The reader said that reading my book had made her want to do away with herself. I laughed so much I cried. I was thinking of adding it to my marketing blurd... 'warning, reading this book may cause premature death.'

The thing a lot of reviewers don't seem to take into consideration is their own personal bias. If you don't like horror then don't read... more importantly, don't review it. If you don't get irony, don't read and review ironic books... and so on. I read so many reviews that are written by people who don't like books in the genre they're reviewing... it makes my mind boggle.




message 10: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Gina wrote: "The thing a lot of reviewers don't seem to take into consideration is their own personal bias. If you don't like horror then don't read... more importantly, don't review it. If you don't get irony, don't read and review ironic books... and so on. I read so many reviews that are written by people who don't like books in the genre they're reviewing... it makes my mind boggle."

Great point, Gina. After looking at some other reviews by the person who gave me 1 (yes, one) star on two of my books, I realized that she(?) doesn't seem to like romances. After over 150 reviews--most of them for romances--the majority (at least 75%) are 1-star reviews. Nearly all of those, in her opinion, were dull, boring, or done better by someone else. Why is she reading so many of them if she obviously doesn't like them?

Ok, rant over. I'm really ok with this.

Really.

*sniff*


message 11: by Sean (new)

Sean (svlehosit) Thanks for all the feedback everyone. You all raise very good points.


message 12: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (mccallum) | 241 comments Gina wrote: "I got a stinker recently on Goodreads, for The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy. The reader said that reading my book had made her want to do away with herself. I laughed so..." At best, a readers review is subjective....if you are don't "get it" do us all a favour, and don't review it! Jaimey your so called 'reviewer' should do what they know best...be silent and sleep. Yes. Just sleep!






message 13: by Penelope (new)

Penelope (PARiley) | 39 comments I got a comment, can't say a review because the person never read my book only commented on the title.
"Travel Absurdities" saying that there was no such word as Absurd so she wondered what the editor of the book was doing. We wondered how big her dicitionary was! Then she said maybe she would read it and judge if it had any humor in it! It takes all kinds and I have learned it takes thick skin to survive in all most all one does.


message 14: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Oh my, Penelope... that's just absurd. Which is incredibly ironic in itself.


message 15: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Tamela wrote: "...many reviewers do judge book by the title and (gasp of horror) the author's name! "

It's funny you mentioned that. I had a chap tell me that mine was 'awfully inconvenient'. People are so funny.




message 16: by Penelope (new)

Penelope (PARiley) | 39 comments This particular person who had never heard of the word ABSURD boasted that she had read 1100 books. I printed out her comment and framed it in a tiny frame so everytime I heard a negitive response I could look at it and chuckle. It is my reminder....you can't please them all.


message 17: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Stuart wrote: "Jaimey your so called 'reviewer' should do what they know best...be silent and sleep. Yes. Just sleep!"

Thank you, Stuart! My teachers (way back when) always said only boring people get bored. Perhaps my reviewer just needs to find a hobby.

Penelope wrote: ""Travel Absurdities" saying that there was no such word as Absurd so she wondered what the editor of the book was doing."

I think your title is very clever, Penelope. :o)

Tamela wrote: "Just on an up note-

I have a dear friend that received a really scathing review last week. Painful was the nicest word that I can use to describe it. Less than 24 hours later, she received another review from another place, was given 4 stars and hit their best seller list."


Oh, that's encouraging, Tamela! I did sell a kindle copy of one of the books that got the bad review shortly after it got the review. That was a salve to my pride.

(My husband just confided that he had a dream last night about hiring some big thugs to go over and shake the woman(?) for her mean reviews. He's so sweet.) :op This whole situation bothers him more than me.

I do find it difficult to believe that my characters are dull and boring when everyone else who has read/reviewed my books say the exact opposite...I'm just sorry my poor little books became her victims. Oh, well. I can probably expect a few more bad reviews before I die.

Attempting...to...grow...thicker...skin...THERE!


********

Spellbound & Heartless are the unfortunate ones--or fortunate if these reviews make people more curious...

Betrayal by Jaimey Grant Spellbound by Jaimey Grant Heartless by Jaimey Grant Redemption by Jaimey Grant


message 18: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) For the most part, I think people are influenced by reviews which are written by reviewers they can relate to. For example, I read a review recently which slated a book for being too detailed. I love detail, so I thought it would appeal to me and bought it. Other reviews can be glowing, but I can tell that the reviewer and myself are like chalk and cheese, so I am less inclined to buy the book.

I've had people come to signings and tell me that they don't trust positive reviews... they think they're written by the writer, his/her publisher, and his/her family and friends.


message 19: by Penelope (new)

Penelope (PARiley) | 39 comments The reviewers are no different than the film critics. I don't care what they say, often I go to a movie with a bad pan and really enjoy it. I go for the experience and to take me away from everyday life not to analize what I am viewing.....the same goes with a book.


message 20: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Penelope wrote: "The reviewers are no different than the film critics. ..."

Wasn't The Da Vinci Code slated? Didn't stop every man and his dog from buying the book and seeing the film.


message 21: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Writing a book review, whether positive or negative, is an art in itself. It's not the end of the world if you get a well-crafted negative one... as Sean pointed out, the readers that his book is aimed at will see good cause to buy his book after reading Elija's review, because of the way the review is written. The review told Sean that he's hitting the very spot he intended to hit. A well-written review, whether good or bad, can tell us a lot. A poorly written review, even if it is glowing, probably won't teach us much at all.


message 22: by Carole (new)

Carole (casutton) | 223 comments Gina wrote: "Tamela wrote: "...many reviewers do judge book by the title and (gasp of horror) the author's name! "

It's funny you mentioned that. I had a chap tell me that mine was 'awfully inconvenient'. Peop..."


People are so funny ... Tamela wrote. I agree, and I think they always have been. There was a saying around when I was younger "There are none so queer as folk!"


message 23: by Carole (new)

Carole (casutton) | 223 comments This discussion is not only for bad reviews is it? Like most of you, I think if it's not your genre, or you can't see the point of it you'd do better to keep quiet. Or, maybe tell the author what you think, but not make it public.

I feel lucky!

Ferryman had a great one this morning. Congratulations to the other two reviewees. Together with Sanctuary of Darkness by Titus McGuire, and an ABC Escapade Through Egypt by Bernadette Simpson,Todd Fonseca did us all proud.

Thank you Todd, and I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

Carole


message 24: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments That is GREAT Carole!!! Congrats! Kathy


message 25: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 15 comments Gina wrote: "Oh my, Penelope... that's just absurd. Which is incredibly ironic in itself."

LMAO@"that's absurd". I can't believe someone would have the cajones to say--in full public view--there's no such word as absurd. That boggles my mind.


message 26: by Mary (new)

Mary Paladin | 3 comments Penelope wrote: "This particular person who had never heard of the word ABSURD boasted that she had read 1100 books. I printed out her comment and framed it in a tiny frame so everytime I heard a negitive response ..."
1100 books and claims absurd to be non existent? Hmmm, maybe she can't count either!



message 27: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Carole wrote: "Or, maybe tell the author what you think, but not make it public."

I put little slips of paper inside my books at signings to ask people to get in touch and tell me what they think. I only get emails from people who liked the book... I wonder why the ones who didn't like it don't write. Constructive criticism is very helpful.


message 28: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments Gina, that is the most clever idea I've read in a long time! Thank you for sharing that tip!!!
Kathy


message 29: by Penelope (new)

Penelope (PARiley) | 39 comments What do you put on the paper? Your email address and name? I think I will do that when I do my next signing. Thanks Gina! I have gotten some of the most helpful and interesting tips since I have joined Goodreads and hopefully I have given a tip or two that will help someone else.

www.travelabsurdities.com


message 30: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I put my name, email address, web site address (with a note to say that there's extra content online), and a message to say that I'd like to hear from them if they like/don't like the book. I slip it in just after I sign the book, so they see that it's in there right away.


message 31: by Penelope (new)

Penelope (PARiley) | 39 comments Gina, I will try that! Thanks again for the info.


message 32: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Hendrix (sheilahendrix) I got a bad review and I almost stopped writing but I said I wasn't going to. I was just going to learn from it and go on.

My book, Bad Company on amazon had a lot of errors in it and I had to take it off to fix it, that's why from now on, I will have my books copy edited.


message 33: by Carole (new)

Carole (casutton) | 223 comments I've been there, done that. Hated every minute of the pain. Took a break from writing, then carried on with my newly thickened skin! That was about three novels ago and now looking back, I know they were right. But like you say you learn from it, and hopefully my novels are all the better for my suffering!

As for copy editing, if you haven't got the eye that picks out the tiniest of errors, it is probably better for you to let someone else do it. All the best Sheila,

Carole


message 34: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Congrats Carole on your great "Todd" review. I marked it helpful on Amazon.

Have any of you ever had a review that sounded like they didn't even read the book? One that sounds suspiciously like they were reviewing the blurb instead?

On an up note, I googled my name last night and found a very positive review for Betrayal that the reviewer only posted to their blog and nowhere else. It made me feel much better. I asked for permission to reprint it but I don't know if I will hear back.

*******
Betrayal by Jaimey Grant


message 35: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Jaimey wrote: "Have any of you ever had a review that sounded like they didn't even read the book?"

Yes, a very positive one too. It threw me completely. If it hadn't been for certain specific references to chapters within the book I'd have sworn they'd read another book and become confused.




message 36: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments It's weird, even while my reviewer mentioned something about it being difficult to get through the book--the only reference to reading it--nearly all of her complaints were based on the blurb. I am tempted to ask her something about some non-existent scene just to see what she says.


message 37: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments Jaimey, not a review on my novel, but yes to a review of a poem that I know the person could not have read. She stated that she could tell by my poem that I truly loved my daughter. The poem was about me being sexually molested as a very young child. I went off the wall on her (in a private message) for being so rude and insensitive.
Hope that it was a positive review for you.
Kathy


message 38: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Kgcummings wrote: "Hope that it was a positive review for you."

Not at all. My books were called boring, flat, dull, and done better elsewhere. I might have taken her seriously if she hadn't said the same thing about 100 or so other romance books, many of which are written by bestselling authors. I suspect she has a "form" review for books that she didn't like or books that she thinks she wouldn't like. It's starting to make my brain hurt.

Ok, all. That's it for me. We are moving into our new house and my poor computer must be taken apart so we can move it now. It may be a few days before I can log back on. Hopefully less. :o)


message 39: by Dee (last edited Apr 28, 2009 07:11AM) (new)

Dee Marie (dee_marie) | 460 comments I had one reviewer say that they loved my novel's the cover art, thought the book was well written (grammar, wordage, etc.) but they felt it was too dark.

Not the storyline mind you, but that everyone was wearing dark clothes and that the horses were black.

I mean come on already, Sons of Avalon Merlin's Prophecy is set in the dark ages. There were no bright pinks and lime greens back in those days :]

Actually, it was a very nice review for a bad review and what a fun story to add to my collection of "review stories."


message 40: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Dee wrote: "Not the storyline mind you, but that everyone was wearing dark clothes and that the horses were black. "

That's just too funny. It's a good job I wasn't drinking when I read that... my computer would have been soaked!




message 41: by Dee (new)

Dee Marie (dee_marie) | 460 comments Gigglesnort ;]


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