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XI. Misc > Authors: your worst reviews

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message 1: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments So I was thinking (it does happen on an occasion). We, the indie authors (at least I) keep
posting the positive things people say about our works - leaving the less positive feedback in obscurity. So, as a matter of self-bashing absurdity, I suggest you post the most negative reviews that you have ever received. Also, not to leave out your own contributions to the land of the severe critique, you can post the worst reviews you have given to the books you've read.

As a pioneer of this dubious notion, here's a two-star review (I have one star rating as well but not a review so nothing to re-post)for my novel The After/Life:

"Where to begin. It got two stars because I finished it -- it was at least readable. I did want to find out what happened.

I know this is a first novel. But an editor would've helped a lot. The "teases" were really annoying, all the instances of "And then, things really changed ... " and nothing changing, not for many, many more words.

There is very little meat in this book -- no whys whatsoever. Why, for example, was there a fully stocked underground habitat built under a small school? Not a fallout shelter, mind you, but a huge structure complete with power, gardens, livestock, a swimming pool, all fully stocked and operational the day the bombs came.

What was the war about? You never find out.

What caused Susannah's paranoia -- never did find out what that was all about. Or the megalomania of the newly installed president. Why were all the inhabitants, teachers as well as kids, so passive? There's just not enough here to help make sense of anything. They grew sugarcane (for the rum)? Where did the new uniforms come from? A duffel bag -- why would Nad have a duffel bag? Just too many holes -- some bits just stopped me cold trying to figure out what the ... ?

Also found it hard to believe a drunk could come up with a coherent plan, let alone one dependent on precision timing. And too many convenient things just happened to be available.

With a lot of trimming and tightening this might be a good short story, or chapter one of a longer, more complete book. There is just not enough substance to this tale."

So here it was. Who is next?


Michael Cargill Cargill (michaelcargill) | 217 comments For my book called Shades of Grey, a collection of three short stories:

This book was very weird. Did not seem to have any point at all. Was about 3 different characters and none of them had any relation to the other! It was almost like 3 short stories!

The reviewer isn't the only one who has said something similar!

Gorra laugh, eh?


message 3: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Michael wrote: "For my book called Shades of Grey, a collection of three short stories:

This book was very weird. Did not seem to have any point at all. Was about 3 different characters and none of them had any r..."


The concept for your novel actually sounds very interesting - I just have to ask about the title - does it bear any connection to the 50 shades of?...

And here's the one and (so far) only two star review I received for I, the Provocateur (my second novel):

I like dystopian scifi and I liked the story premise behind this book. If it were made into a movie, I'd probably enjoy it more than I enjoyed the book. In fact, it reminded me a little of Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy.

I found the main character, Adrian Temple, too cocky to really relate to. There were so many villains it was hard to believe there could be so many horrible people in the world, let alone a single book.

The writing style and language were not to my taste. There were run-on sentences that included far too much description, repeating the same words and phrases. Conversely, the action sequences – and this is an action-filled story – were so light on detail as to make them difficult to believe.

I think it could be a good story, if improved with considerable editing."


message 4: by Mary (new)

Mary Fonvielle | 17 comments My single one-star. Caught me on a couple errors :/

"It's a short piece, tried to push through but finally gave up around 50%. There's zero characterization or development, and the editing is poor at best. It feels very much like an info dump followed by scenes the author found intriguing. There's zero reason to care about what happens, the two deaths that are addressed mean nothing and have zero impact.

Confusing sentences: "A gleam of recognition came into his eyes and made him frown." The gleam of recognition in his own eyes made him frown? What?

Just bad proofing: "The riding moon gave everything a white radiance, making it was easy to see what Tanner meant to show him."

Overly wordy: "The weight they [two swords] provided as he strapped them to his back gave him focus, allowing him to force back the sense of dread that threatened to drown him."


message 5: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Mary wrote: "My single one-star. Caught me on a couple errors :/

"It's a short piece, tried to push through but finally gave up around 50%. There's zero characterization or development, and the editing is poor..."


This is indie author therapy - did you feel better after re-posting this review?


message 6: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michelleabbott) | 86 comments Here's the single one-star review I received for In Chains.

DNF

This is one of those hit or miss books. One of those books you KNOW you shouldn’t read. Or books that are about or touch on a topic that makes you uncomfortable. When I was asked to review this, I immediately said yes. And while the premise is pretty damn interesting, I soon realized this may be a touchy book.

And well, I was right. I stopped reading at 60% then just kind of skimmed the rest.

Tired of her life and leaving her horrible ex– Savannah sets off to live with her brother, Simon where she discovers he has a Slave. The two hit it off right off the bat and against better judgement, start a relationship. It isn’t long though, before her brother finds out. Here, we see Simon’s true nature and his means to keep the two apart.

This book has promise. Government bred slaves (conclusion I came too) and forbidden romance. Honestly though, it was so underdeveloped. I couldn’t figure out if this was an Urban Fantasy, Dystopian or Romance. There are no mentions of time. There is no back story. It was mentioned that the Government tested babies for Neanderthal DNA. Which in all honestly, is pretty different. BUT. I ask WHY. Why did they start doing this? Have they always done it?

The character development was very inconsistent. Kayden, a slave, comes off as uneducated at the beginning. Soon though, he changes and seems pretty damn smart. I mean, at first he was shy and a bit timid. Then just. BAM! Change. I felt, at some point–without any real trigger- the character traits reversed and Kayden was the intelligent one and Savannah was the uneducated slave. Their relationship had no depth. Their premature love confessions kind of threw me off and it just… didn’t work.

Savannah herself was a push over. She tried at least twice (where I stopped anyway) to end things after her brother found out– to no avail. I guess you could say she was brave. She did leave her ass hole boyfriend and started a few life, after all. And she did stick up for Kayden later on when they were caught. BUT. I thought she was pretty two-dimensional. Her brother, Simon and his friend Ben, were DOUCHE BAGS. I don’t believe for a second her brother was doing anything to protect her. Everything he did to Savannah and Kayden make my stomach roll.

Overall- This wasn’t a “bad” book. It’s just not for me. Between the insta love, inconsistent characters, under developed world and touchy content, I couldn’t bring myself to finish. Others may find this right up their alley. And seeing more than a few 4 and 5 star reviews on goodreads–this could all just be me.


message 7: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 158 comments My worst from my first book - luckily some people did persist

"About 5 pages into the story, after the prologue, I gave up. It appeared to be a poorly-written stream-of-consciousness narratarive - broken thoughts, incomplete sentences, incompatible verbs, non-existent punctuation, etc.....


message 8: by Mary (new)

Mary Fonvielle | 17 comments @Vardan I do, actually, and having to go in to fetch that one allowed me to look at all the positive ones.


message 9: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Philip wrote: "My worst from my first book - luckily some people did persist

"About 5 pages into the story, after the prologue, I gave up. It appeared to be a poorly-written stream-of-consciousness narratarive -..."


That's rough, Phillip! Here's another for my own The After/Life

Two stars:

"My basic issue with this book was, it was to rushed. Events were taking place to quickly and not being well defined. Then there were these huge time gaps with unaccountable time and then suddenly something would happen. I felt, I was being too hurried along through the story.

I liked Nad but I had a hard time connecting with him because sometimes this character seemed so shallow and superficial, and other times his overly emotional state seemed awkward and overly played. The dialogue between the characters themselves didn't seem to flow naturally either it sounded to "rehearsed."

This is a first book of a series I believe, and as the story progresses no doubt we will see the plot line and characters become more deeply developed."


message 10: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Mary wrote: "@Vardan I do, actually, and having to go in to fetch that one allowed me to look at all the positive ones."

Good! :)))


message 11: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments and here's another two star review from The After/Life (I have three more 2 star ratings but none of them have text):

"I would rate this with 2 1/2 stars but this option is not available.
This is difficult to explain, but I was always under the impression that something was lacking to make this a memorable book. The idea is appealing to me - a nuclear shelter which is self-sustainable, like a new confined society for the afterlife of an apocalypse. But something seemed a bit shallow about the whole story.
I did read it all the way through to the end. But I'm not sure I want to read book two when it come out."

Who's next?


message 12: by Scott (new)

Scott Skipper | 49 comments The only bad review I am aware of receiving was for a short story, The Stainless Steel Coffin, that I give away. Some bonehead said it wasn't worth it.


message 13: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Scott wrote: "The only bad review I am aware of receiving was for a short story, The Stainless Steel Coffin, that I give away. Some bonehead said it wasn't worth it."

That's great Scott. While it is naturally a pleasure to receive positive reviews, the negative ones can point to some things that can help you in your future endeavors and you can work out patterns of what works and doesn't in your novel.


message 14: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 43 comments I think the most frustrating review for me was a one-star review where the reviewer didn't comment at all. I don't even know if he finished the book. I've had a few so-so reviews that didn't make me the happiest, but at least the reviewers took the time to explain what they liked and what they didn't.

Personally I try not to let bad reviews get me down. Overall my star rating is pretty high and I think bad reviews can actually have some benefits. Not too long ago I blogged about this here http://laurynapril.blogspot.com/2012/...

I also did a post on ways to write a good review in hopes that book lovers out there will spread the word and put the time and effort into their reviews to make them meaningful. Bad reviews arn't so bad if you can take something away from them.
http://laurynapril.blogspot.com/2013/...


message 15: by Lee (new)

Lee Cushing | 81 comments This is my only two star review (There isn't a one star) for my book The Pisachas Retribution)

I liked the storyline of this book and it is a really quick read but found it really confusing as it jumps from different characters without any notice.

This book is full of action and I agree with what i have read on previous reviews of this book that it would make a good film as it is very detailed, so if you are a fan of action then this is the book for you.


message 16: by Jes (new)

Jes Battis | 2 comments I received a review once on an academic book of mine, which simply said: "Not everything is about you." Ouch. The ones that hurt are those that may have a sliver of truth. One reviewer said that my main character (Tess) in the Occult Special Investigator series "didn't act like a woman." That was interesting. The bad reviews do tend to stay with us, while the good ones vanish from our memories. As Kingsley Amis once observed, "a bad review may ruin your breakfast, but it shouldn't ruin your lunch." I try to find the constructive criticism in bad reviews, but it's not always possible (some are simply venting, or saying: "This wasn't what I wanted.")


message 17: by Robert (new)

Robert Roberts (goodreadscomrobertroberts) Credible readers only rate books if they like them If they don't, then they post nothing. You know like your mother used to say "If you don't have something good to say then don't say anything!" Most critics expect a Gone With The Wind quality novel for 99 cents. Ignore the fools like I do.


message 18: by L.F. (new)

L.F. Falconer | 92 comments I didn't quite know how to react to my first one star review of Hope Flies on Broken Wings:

"I received this as a free first reads. Which I am happy for! This is not my kind of book. It is hard to read. The language. Its not a feel good love story if thats what your looking for. It doesnt leave a happy feeling at all. I didnt really enjoy it. Although I am grateful for the free book."


message 19: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2189 comments My first book has a one star review that to this day makes me cringe. It's more of an accusation of errors, forcing rhyme and gave her a Dr. Suess headache..talk about not beating around the bush. I have never really accepted the review just because I felt it was more of a personal attack on me then it was as a critical review of the book. Eh..what are you gonna do though right? You can't please everyone.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I got a 1-star review a few weeks ago that sent me into a tailspin for a while. How could they hate it that much? What did I do wrong?

What always makes me feel better is to go find a well known author and look up 1-star reviews. It feels a lot better when you find yourself in the company of Stephen King and George R R Martin.


message 21: by David (new)

David Santos (authordas) | 41 comments One of my books which is averaging 4.25 stars. Got Two 2 stars and 1 star. The One star review just had "Review coming." Review never came.

The two 2 stars...aren't very clear to me. They were pretty long so I'm not posting them but they are here... The Hopeless Christiantic


message 22: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 6 comments The most cringeworthy review on my first novel came from a newspaper that reviewed the audiobook version (released a couple years after the book's publication): "Too bad the performer didn't have better material to work with."

The second-most cringeworthy came from a review of the book itself: "For the first fifty pages, my dominant thought was "Oh, please." "


message 23: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments There are a couple of points I want to make - first and foremost, the reviews are for the readers and not for the writers, so basically no reader owes us an opinion. When an opinion is supplied, it can be positive or negative. Writing both takes time and effort and it can be appreciated. With all the indie publishing and self-publishing going on, before choose within a very wide range of products and we can appreciate the fact that they have chosen our works - giving us the time and attention. The idea of the thread is to set us on a course of good-natured self-bashing, also making it easier for us to deal with opinions and reviews that we do not agree with. Naturally, very few authors would agree with a negative review of their work - they have written it and have done their damn best to make their story come to life.


message 24: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 158 comments Vardan wrote: "There are a couple of points I want to make - first and foremost, the reviews are for the readers and not for the writers, so basically no reader owes us an opinion. When an opinion is supplied, it..."

Totally agree, I am grateful to any reader that takes the time to get, read and then review my stories regardless of the rating. Today I have had a 2 star for my second book it's lowest rating yet - didn't like the editing (my fault entirely) and my first review of my third book (4 star). I am grateful to both. I try and learn from the low ratings especially if they are pointing out technical, grammatical or other issues that I can correct. I have had a couple who really didn't like the story or thought it was far fetched (first book). These are countered by reviewers that liked it and thought it was realistic - so. Less blogging, reading reviews and worrying and a lot more writing!


message 25: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Philip wrote: "Vardan wrote: "There are a couple of points I want to make - first and foremost, the reviews are for the readers and not for the writers, so basically no reader owes us an opinion. When an opinion ..."

Cheers to that! Now who has more delicious negative reviews to share?


message 26: by John (new)

John Dizon | 108 comments So far, no negative reviews, thank heaven! I get kicked to the curb hardest by agents and publishers, though most admit they're overloaded with queries.

The absolute worst was NYC Creative Management, whose resident nerd came back and told me I couldn't write! I came back and told him his response was kinda unprofessional, especially since he gave no reasons as to why I was such a bad bet. I didn't bother going into detail about the five publishers I have convinced otherwise. Moral of the story: one man's trash is another man's treasure. Never give up!


message 27: by David (new)

David Santos (authordas) | 41 comments "one man's trash is another man's treasure. Never give up! "

That''s true unfortunately how many men do you know who pay the garbage man? Problem here is the "trashmen" are paying people to dig through their "trash"...and this is a very bad analogy haha


message 28: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Lane (leighmlane) | 152 comments I try really hard not to let bad reviews get to me, instead thinking about the glowing ones and reminding myself that tastes vary greatly. Since we're doing this for the fun of it, here's my favorite worst review (written for my dystopian thriller, World-Mart):

What a load of propaganda. This book is nothing more than the authors rant/social commentary on how she hates sucess for a business she disagrees with, loathing of America, and her undying love for the global warming theory. I believe that she had every right to express her views in her thinly disguised "novel", I love the 1st Amendment. I hope she is not offended when I express my 1st Amendment rights as well when I say, "TOTAL CRAP!!!!!!!!!"

This person wrote a similar review on Amazon, which attracted comments from three readers--one of which wrote that the review convinced him to buy a copy. Score!


message 29: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 6 comments Leigh wrote: "I try really hard not to let bad reviews get to me, instead thinking about the glowing ones and reminding myself that tastes vary greatly. Since we're doing this for the fun of it, here's my favor..."

Score again - I just bought your book. You might consider sending that reviewer a thank-you note for such an inspirational rant of his/her own!


message 30: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Lane (leighmlane) | 152 comments Kathleen wrote: "Score again - I just bought your book. You might consider sending that reviewer a thank-you note for such an inspirational rant of his/her own!"

Thanks, Kathleen! I might just do that.... ;-)"


message 31: by John (new)

John Dizon | 108 comments Leigh wrote: "This person wrote a similar review on Amazon, which attracted comments from three readers--one of which wrote that the review convinced him to buy a copy. Score!"

I agree. If anyone trashed one of my books because they disagreed with my viewpoint, then that indicates I expressed my viewpoint quite well.


message 32: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Lane (leighmlane) | 152 comments John Reinhard wrote: "I agree. If anyone trashed one of my books because they disagreed with my viewpoint, then that indicates I expressed my viewpoint quite well. "

I feel the same way. Be it extreme anger and hatred or inspiration and awe, if one of my books evokes such emotion in a reader that s/he feels the need to express it, I feel like I've done something right.


message 33: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andyb0810) | 107 comments Some readers just don't understand what you're trying to convey, or read the book because it was free. But reading big author's reviews (I found Dan Brown and JK Rowlings with several 1 star reviews) shows that there's taste for everything. Some reviewers though just destroy your self esteem too much, so the best is try to ignore them and if there's anything of value from their review (pointing out a grammar error/spelling, etc) just correct it and move on. My one star review states the following:

"I don't remember if I paid for a kindle copy, or it was a freebie. I dread reading the books I find this way, because there's a good chance I won't like them and then, I have to write mean things (because I've got to be honest) about someone's hard work. That's totally the case here." - seems to me the good intentioned reader is already biased against books that are freebies... just saying...


message 34: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Some very interesting posts, people! Keep 'em coming! :)))


message 35: by Chris (new)

Chris Ward (chriswardfictionwriter) Threads like this are entertaining but I prefer just to shrug and forget when it comes to bad reviews. Dwelling on them is a pretty much pointless exercise.


message 36: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments I like this thread because it enforces honesty


message 37: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Chris wrote: "Threads like this are entertaining but I prefer just to shrug and forget when it comes to bad reviews. Dwelling on them is a pretty much pointless exercise."

This thread is about recognizing the criticism of our works and freeing the people who gave us the negative reviews from obscurity. We share and talk about positive reviews but somehow leave the less flattering assessments of our works in the shadows. Well, I suggest, shadows no more - let's come clean with the worst possible opinions about our beloved books!

P.S. This is, indeed, done for entertainment and is by no means a damaged ego authors group therapy :))))


message 38: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Vanessa wrote: "I like this thread because it enforces honesty"

Thanks, Vanessa, just wanted to suggest something different (also for me) as an alternative to self-promotion (which I am quitting not at all:))


message 39: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments I think a post such as this helps new authors to take bad reviews, learn from them but not to quit. that is a great thing because it helps us all to keep writing and never give up over a few bad reviews. it makes us have a tough skin


message 40: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Vanessa wrote: "I think a post such as this helps new authors to take bad reviews, learn from them but not to quit. that is a great thing because it helps us all to keep writing and never give up over a few bad re..."

Thanks, Vanessa. I think to be an indie author today one needs not just thick skin but a bulletproof one :)


message 41: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments your not kidding.


message 42: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Vanessa wrote: "your not kidding."

I kid you not :) but in spite of the challenges and obstacles, the opportunities we have through the indie publishing platform are truly limitless and, once in a while, it would do us all good to stop and ponder on these opportunities. Ten years ago, 90% of us would not be talking about the reviews our novels have received but would instead be going hopelessly through our mail looking for that one positive response from a published who would deem our work "worthy" by some convoluted standards.


message 43: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments exactly! I am so greatful for all the media we have access to so we may become published. the only thing that can stop a writer from becomming published is themselves.


message 44: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Vanessa wrote: "exactly! I am so greatful for all the media we have access to so we may become published. the only thing that can stop a writer from becomming published is themselves."

and cheers to that!


message 45: by Chris (new)

Chris Ward (chriswardfictionwriter) 1000 bad reviews wouldn't make me quit, because I have absolute confidence in the quality of my work. Don't publish if you don't know in your heart that you're a complete badass. Just saying :-) Once you've come to terms with the fact that you are, in fact, an unstoppable juggernaut of badassness, then bad reviews tend to just get steamrollered into dust.

As for bad reviews, this is a good one I dredged up -

'This is a short story and while the characters were developed well for a short story, I really saw no point in it. I assume this takes place in the English countryside. I just found it odd that this boy had never been to the city. He had compassion for the boy he finds while going up against his very strict father. This story was made into a novel which I don't think I will continue to read.'


It's a story about a world where all the cities are walled in and the people in the countryside live in blissful ignorance of the hell that goes on inside them. I guess she didn't pick that ...


message 46: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Chris wrote: "1000 bad reviews wouldn't make me quit, because I have absolute confidence in the quality of my work. Don't publish if you don't know in your heart that you're a complete badass. Just saying :-) O..."

oh a fellow dystopian writer :) why did you keep the poor boy out of the city? :)


message 47: by March (new)

March McCarron I'm really impressed by the overall attitude on this thread! Being able to take criticism, or, even better, be grateful for it, is an invaluable skill--and not an easy one, considering the time and love we put into our work. I hope that when my first negative review rolls in (which is, I'm sure, an inevitability) I will meet it with equal class and level-headedness. :)


message 48: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments "This too shall pass" is a proverb indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. As good a motto as any for us indie writers :)


message 49: by Chris (new)

Chris Ward (chriswardfictionwriter) Varden, the short was a sketch that became part of a wider story and the two characters became mains in my novel series. I almost got an agent for the book so it can't have been that bad, haha.

We worry about reviews much more than we should. I came across a book the other week ranked around 12,000 (so probably ten sales a day) with just one review, a one star. Obviously didn't put people off. My own best seller is one of my lowest ranking short story collections, something like 3.4 on Amazon. Reviews are important to get on promo sites but readers will ignore them if the book looks and sounds interesting. The biggest issue facing writers is visibility. You WILL sell if enough people see your book.


message 50: by Nihar (new)

Nihar Suthar (niharsuthar) | 386 comments Wow, this is a very interesting discussion! I obviously look at my reviews for my book Win No Matter What: A Guide to Hyping Up Your Life, but I don't freak out if I get 3-star reviews or things of that nature. It's my first book, but overall, it has still been selling well, I'm donating profits to charity, and I had fun writing it :). I also got it in front of a lot of people, so that's all you can really ask for!


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