Friday, May 4, 2012

Revenge for a bad reviewer

When I got my one star review, for my first book, ‘Hiren’s Magical Adventure’ my first thought was,
Who is this monster and why does she hate me?
I was not expecting a Pulitzer Prize for this juvenile/young adult book, but it sounded like she didn’t even read it! I spent a good part of the day in front of my computer crying intermittently. Then I reached out to a couple of my author friends. They gave me comfort by sharing the fact that they too had suffered through bad reviews. In fact, I learned that even "the greats" have bad reviews every now and then. They reminded me to look for the value in constructive criticism. That was difficult to do, given the hateful nature of the review and the pain that the evil book blogger had inflicted.

A few months later, I found myself with a couple of three-star reviews for my new book, ’The Dolls’. I was sad, however, this time it was different. These reviews really did convey constructive criticism. One of them was from a prominent book reviewer, Dave Avila from Digital Ink Spot. I had missed some typos, and Dave pointed that out (ouch!), along with the fact that the book could use some editing. The other was from a reader who didn't like the ending. Okay, now this was valuable information that I could use to improve my book.

Being on a limited budget, I was not sure I would be able to afford professional editing. I reached out to Melissa Foster, World Literary Café, and she recommended someone that could help me, and stay within by budget. After working with the editor, going through a couple of rounds of revisions, my finished product was ready. The new version of ‘The Dolls’ is a smooth flowing story with deeper character development and an exciting ending. I could not be happier. I will be forever grateful to Dave and Anna for their constructive criticism. In fact, I'm getting ready for my Kindle free days, on May 15 and 16th.

Now, on to the revenge…Having had some time to heal my wounds from the one star review of ‘Hiren's Magical Adventure’, I decided to have that book professionally edited, as well. I am delighted with the ‘new and improved’ edition.

 I can now look at that ugly review and laugh (bitterly). In the words of the great George Herbert,
“Living well is the best revenge...”


Pauline B Jones said...

I love the picture with the post. LOL! Isn't it odd how all the praise can be drowned out by one bitter review? We all have to find a way to put them behind us. I use chocolate. :-)

Helen_White2011 said...

I don't get the point of leaving a review that is not constructive and useful whatever you thought of the book. Simply bagging the book and the author is a no go. And DON'T just say, I didn't like that. Say what you felt was an issue for you, why, and maybe suggest how things could be worked better. It's not rocket science. If you read the book and have nothing constructive to say, do the author a favour and shut up.

Masquerade Crew said...

When you give a low rating: if you aren't agonizing over how and what to say, you aren't a very good reviewer. They do the rest of us a disservice. Our reviews are honest but fair.

Way to go for getting back as best you can ... improve despite them. Or in spite of them.

Kathleen Patel said...

Pauline- Thanks- I got a kick out the picture, too : ) And, yes, chocolate can help...

Helen- I couldn't agree with you more. My mother always says, "If you've got nothing good to say, say nothing at all."

Masquerade Crew; Thank you so much. So true...

SM Johnson said...

I always hope I improve things because of my less than 4-star reviews. Honest critical reviews might prick my pride for a few seconds, but I'm always grateful to learn where I missed the mark.

Of course, just plain out trashing someone's book is never okay.

The Digital Ink Spot said...

Thanks for the mention and I am so happy to hear and read that you bounced back from despair a better writer. Like I said before, you have great ideas and excited to read more from you.