Posts Tagged With: bad review

Take Bad Reviews with a Dash of Salt

A few weeks back, I mentioned something called the “Immerse or Die” report — which is basically where this guy gets on his treadmill and starts reading a book. If he finds three glaring errors that pull him out of the story, he stops reading and marks the book as failed. If he makes it all the way to the end of his 40 minute treadmill run, the book passes. Simple enough, right?

I was a bit hesitant about sending in Imminent Danger, since A) harsh criticism makes me sad, and B) the reader is a 50 year old man, and thus not exactly my target audience. But then I thought “what the hell” and sent it in anyway.

Which was an … interesting decision. Spoiler alert: Imminent Danger did not survive the Immerse or Die report. You can read the report for yourself here.

So here’s where we get to the “take bad reviews with a dash of salt” part. Obviously, I was bummed out. In an ideal world, everyone would love my book. Not going to happen, of course, but it’s a nice dream. So I was feeling pretty down on myself as I started to read his review.

Then I finished reading the review, and I wasn’t down on myself anymore. In his review, he pinpoints three details in the first chapter that made him stop reading the book. Damn, right? Those must have been some pretty massive, glaring flaws. Except they’re not. Here are the earth-shattering problems he found:

  • fellow high school classmates” is redundant (as in, classmates implies “fellow”, so both words weren’t necessary)
  • high schools start at 9am, not 8am
  • Eris is facing the trees, and then gets dragged in backward (did she turn around at some point? it’s not stated)

Points #1 and #3 are actually really helpful, because he’s absolutely right, and those two things (redundant language and keeping track of where my characters are) are things I will look out for in future books/editing. Point #2, however, is just plain wrong. According to the US National Center for Education Statistics, the average high school start time is 8am. Here’s the link if you don’t believe me. But I digress.

Basically, he stopped reading the book because of A) a wording choice, and B) a mix-up in which direction Eris was facing. Which is fine. I, personally, tend to stop reading books due to larger issues, like the plot not making sense, or glaring spelling issues, or an unlikable main character … but hey, different people are different!

So, all in all, I’m content with my decision to submit Imminent Danger to the Immerse or Die Report. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Did his review frustrate me? Absolutely. Will I be reading his books, or visiting his site again? Definitely not. We obviously have completely opposite views on what makes a story good.

At the end of the day, the only thing you can really do when you get a bad review is read it thoroughly and:

  1. Pick out the legitimate criticisms and learn from them, and
  2. Ignore the rest

Now I just have to keep telling myself that!


Unrelated media of the day:

More excellent book dedications …

I Am, by Matthew Hubbard

The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

1 Star Rating Silliness on Goodreads

So following the re-release of Imminent Danger, I was over on Goodreads doing some editing — making sure the new purple cover shows up when you search for the book, making sure the reviews transferred over from the old edition, etc. And I discovered something very odd.

A gentleman named John Hayward (probably not his real name) had given a 1 star rating to all three of my published works — i.e., Imminent Danger, as well as the two free short stories. Fair enough. He hates my writing. A bit weird that he didn’t bother reviewing any, just slapped on 1 star ratings and called it a day, but whatever. No, wait, that is really weird …

So I went to his profile page. He joined Goodreads December 2014. He left three 1 star reviews — all for my books — on the same day in the span of 3 minutes. He hasn’t posted a single rating or review since then.

Yeah, something fishy’s going on.

I contacted Goodreads about it — this guy is obviously trolling — and I got an email back from them yesterday. The bottom line is they do have a system in place for removing false ratings and reviews, but this user didn’t have enough red flags on his account to justify an investigation. Basically, they were sorry about it, but they can’t do anything. They were very professional and polite, and they urged me to contact them again in the future if I found more suspicious circumstances.

Here’s a screencap of Mister Hayward’s profile page for your viewing enjoyment:

john hayward 2

And here’s his profile page if you want to see for yourself:

I don’t blame Goodreads for not taking down this guy’s ratings — they have a system, and I get that. So that leaves me to wonder what I’m supposed to do about it. It also makes me wonder what this guy’s deal is. Did he really, honestly, truly read all three of my books, hate them all, and create a Goodreads account just so he could leave 1 star ratings? Is he someone I’ve pissed off, and he’s trying to get back at me via online ratings? Is it some random troll just passing through? Only time will tell.

Thus ends my tale. Any insight is welcome and appreciated!


Unrelated media of the day:

Prepare yourself for some major feels (i.e., sad feelings) …

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , | 53 Comments

So I got my first 1 star review …

That’s right — Imminent Danger has officially acquired its first 1 star review. I won’t post the link here, but if you hop over to the Imminent Danger Goodreads page, you can check out the review for yourself.

As you can probably imagine, it makes me sad that someone out there paid money for my book and didn’t enjoy it. It also sucks because no one likes to hear their work merits a mere 1 star rating — essentially, that if the book were graded as a test, it would get a measly 20% and flunk the course.  And I’m not going to lie — it kind of crushed my emotions when I first saw the review. But then I remembered that I’ve weathered much worse than this — namely, receiving a bad review in person to my face — so I think I’ve calmed down. More or less. Mostly.

Now, it’s not very classy to go line by line through a bad review and dissect it, potentially shaming the reviewer in the process, so I’m not going to do that. The only thing I’m going to bring up is this — that I really don’t understand why people feel the need to leave nasty reviews when they haven’t even read the entire book. The reviewer admits they stopped at chapter 10 … which is like reviewing a song when you’ve only heard the first 45 seconds. I just don’t get it.

I mean, yes, if the book is truly so horrendous that you literally can’t bring yourself to read any further, and feel it’s your civic duty to warn off other readers before they spend their hard-earned free time and money on a disgusting and despicable piece of literature … sure, go ahead and leave a review without reading the whole book. But I’m pretty sure (like 90% sure … maybe 85% …) that Imminent Danger isn’t a hate-filled, vitriolic piece of filth.

Okay, fine, I’m a little upset. But I guess that’s what happens when you get a bad review. I’ll get over it! I had some gravy-smothered mashed potatoes and watched an episode of Chuck, so I’m well on my way to recovery. Just needed to vent a little bit. I’m better now. I just need to remember that different people are different, and that there’s no such thing as a book everyone likes.



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Categories: My Works | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 97 Comments

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