Saturday, May 31, 2008

My First Lukewarm Review

Bottom Line It For Me, Baby Version (200 Words Or Less):

I received my first lukewarm review on Adelaide Einstein a couple of days ago, 3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, followed by a second 3-starrer today. It’s disappointing, particularly since I went out of my way to post lengthy, free, online excerpts of both my novels specifically to avoid this situation. I figured the excerpts would weed out any potential buyers whose tastes don’t mesh with my work, thereby preventing bad reviews. Apparently these two didn’t avail themselves of the excerpts before buying. Even so, in both cases the reviewers praised my abilities as a writer overall and their criticisms weren’t condescending or attacking, so I have no complaints. Books are a matter of taste after all, and there have been plenty of times I’ve picked up a book on the rave recommendation of a friend only to end up wondering what my friend could possibly have found so appealing between those covers. No writer, no matter how skilled or talented, can expect his work to be universally adored or even enjoyed. So long as no one can fairly say I’m a bad writer, I figure I’m doing about as well as can be expected of any author.

(No Run Yo' Mouth version again...too busy keeping that promo train for The IndieAuthor Guide on track.)


Rhiannon Frater said...

I have quite a few die hard fans of my zombie trilogy from when it was originally published online and their devotion is very touching. But along the way there were around four people who detested it. One took it upon himself to argue every plot point. Another declared it "Thelma and Louise meets zombies" which actually appealed to a lot of the dedicated readers. Also, they told him he was full of crap and drove him off.

But that one guy...out of who knows how many the story faithfully just to argue every single choice I made.

I think the clincher was when he tried to tell me (a native Texan) that I was wrong about how Texans would respond to the zombie crises.

I think you are taking the right view of the reviews you received. Someone is always going to have a bone to pick based on their personal preferences.

But at least they gave you three stars and not one.

Lee said...

Hi from one indie writer to another! Though I don't agree that books are entirely a matter of taste, I certainly support your efforts - and resolution not to worry too much about bad reviews.

April L. Hamilton said...

I think you misunderstand me. I didn't say books are 'entirely' a matter of taste. Of course a book needs to be well-written to succeed, but I think that even among very well-written books, taste is the trump card. For example, it doesn't matter how well-written a war novel is, since that genre doesn't suit my tastes, it's highly unlikely I will ever find a war novel to my liking. Taste distinguishes among finer points than genre, too. Examples of these are things like profanity, graphic violence or sex, or even something as subtle as the protagonist's political views. Readers can be turned off for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the writing.