As most any writer of anything much longer than the note on the back of a Christmas card will tell you . . . there are always critics. It is especially so when the work has been published. Publishing a book and selling it at almost any price, or even for free for that matter, does open one up to much anticipated and often times feared reviews as well. For the most part, reviewers and reviews are kind of fun and they can be extremely edifying.
And then there is the “dreaded” one-star review.
Why do people write and post them? Often they come from Internet/Amazon trolls, simply to try to hurt and do damage. Then too, I am told that they may be posted by folks that personally know the author and have some reason to try to do harm.
People can be very strange indeed sometimes.
I got my first one-star this morning. All of my writing friends tell me that by receiving it, I have now officially “joined the club,” and am at last among the many, many professional writers that have been soundly and roundly trashed and panned by “experts.” Even the “big” hitters in the writing game have garnered a fair share of these fun reviews. Ultimately, they rather tend to help the author, rather than hurt. One-star book reviews usually work to spark interest in the author’s work, rather than discourage it.
Mine was on the Barnes and Noble ebook “Nook” site, and was rather neatly sandwiched between several much more normal four and five-star reviews. I am reprinting it in its entirety, not changing a single solitary misspelled, missing, misused or mangled word. It came from “Anonymous.” It seems that particular individual is a pretty busy fellow—or lady, as the case may, or may not be.
1 star The writing was so bad that i could only read 48 out 248 pages. The writing style was high school level, the two main characters continuely belittle each other similar to HS or college boys. The characters verbally attack of each other with very little civil interaction did not help develop the story or move it along. The attempt to descibe other characters was a joke example “the man looked 65 or some where near there, instead of he appeared to be in his 60’s.” One scene to explain what was happening he had a nurse give a dialogue of what happened then she explain she was off when the shooting occured made no sense how did she know what happen was it hearsay? The author should of presented the information via asking the witness questions and having them slowly expose what occurred. This book needed a proof read and editor to help with a complete re-write. I cannot believe all the great reviews either they have low expectations, didn’t read the book or family & friends of the author. I would like to say it had a great idea but poor execution but I can’t for I did not read enough and the 48 pages was so poorly written you could not get interested in the book or get you hooked on the story . What little I did read did not give me enough of an idea that the concept was original or good. I cannot recommend this book and thankfully it was free. I will be deleting this book ASAP
I’m kind of glad they got it for free as well!
And as far as getting friends and family to write reviews for me–I’ve been trying for years, and no luck so far!
The actual text of my book (Time Enough to Die) went like this:
Making our way into the room, a fit and trim looking sixty-five or so year old Mr. John Devon greeted us with a firm handshake, and we made our introductions. Turned out that Mr. Devon was an ex-marine. Tough and hard as nails, he had spent his entire career after leaving the service in private corporate security. He was trained to note details, had a solid head on his shoulders, seemed to be afraid of nothing and was used to taking command. I had a feeling he was going to make an excellent witness.
I was right.
The “Nurse” scene went like this:
Emerging from the elevator and walking over to the reception desk on the fourth floor, we were greeted by a petite and very pretty little blond nurse named Mary Hayes. It was obvious that she had been informed that we were coming and was expecting us. Mary was the Care Coordinator for the entire fourth floor dementia unit, which consisted of twenty-six patients or residents, as they preferred to be called, at the moment. She was all smiles as she held out her hand and greeted us.
“Good afternoon,” she said, looking us both over and sizing us up. “It’s Detective Carter, isn’t it?” she ventured.
Howard, always a schmuck for a pretty face, smiled broadly and said “Chief Carter actually.” Nodding toward me, he said “and this is Detective O’Brien.”
Five minutes on the job and already I had been promoted.
“I understand you would like to speak with the Devons, Chief Carter?” she said. “Is that right?”
“It is if they are the people that witnessed the shooting last night from the fourth floor balcony,” Carter replied. “A couple of my men who were canvassing the building for potential witnesses this morning said Mr. Devon might have been up there at the time.”
“I believe he was,” Mary said. “He and his wife were visiting her mother, Mrs. Nyles. I understand that he had gone out onto the balcony for some air. It was a very warm evening. All of that shooting must have really scared the residents. I wasn’t here at the time, but got a phone call at home shortly after. Do you have any idea who might have done such a crazy thing as shoot up a building full of kids Chief Carter? It’s a wonder and a miracle he didn’t manage to kill someone. And right here in Bellevue!” she huffed.
“No idea at all right now Ms. Hayes,” Carter replied. “That’s why we’re here.”
“Of course Chief Carter. Follow me if you would. The Devons have been here all night to comfort her mother and make her feel safer. And please call me Mary.”
“Thank you Mary,” Carter said as she turned and started down a hallway. Mary moved her hips like she had done it before and it wasn’t a bad view, and I was glad to see that Howard still wasn’t too old to appreciate it. Carter whispered an aside to me as soon as Mary was out of earshot, “We’re keeping the dead girl quiet right now Johnny,” and started after Mary.
“Dead people usually are, aren’t they?” I replied, and after taking a second to once more enjoy the pained expression on Howard’s face, joined the procession in the hallway, which ended at room number 461. The name on the door was Mrs. Mildred Nyles.
I leave the judgement call to you. My best advice about “dreaded” one-star reviews? Well, if you are going to write them—please spell your words right, and correct the sloppy punctuation and grammar. If you don’t, well then, your review is probably going to do a whole heck of a lot more to help me than to hurt.
And if you are an author, either seasoned or new, and have just received your first one-star review? (And if you haven’t—you will) As the late, great French motion-picture actor Maurice Chevalier once said (sang, actually—in In Search of the Castaways) . . . “It’s life—don’t worry—enjoy it!”
If you are a writer (or reader/reviewer) of fiction, please feel free to leave a comment or two and let me know what you think about one-star reviews. I am providing a link to the book in question, Time Enough To Die: The Watchmaker, Book One, if you would like to read the entire thing. I think it’s pretty good. It’ll cost a penny under four bucks to find out if you agree or not, but if you do, just respond with your email and I’ll send you book two (Elliott Bay) for free!
Thanks so much for reading today. We’ll be back in a few days with Chapter Twenty of The Reckoning.
See you then . . .
Dumb Joke of the Day: