Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Baptism of Fire

by Janis Patterson

It’s part of a writer’s life. Sooner or later you’re going to get a one-star review. Expect it, people say. Don’t let it get you down, people say. It’s part of the business, people say. You’re not a real writer until you get a one-star review, people say. All of which are very true.

But it still hurts, and it hurts worse when it’s on one of my very favorite books, one that has more five-star reviews than any other ranking.

It’s not even what I would call an honest review. The writer says she (assuming it is a she) gave it a chance, stuck it out through the first quarter of the book, then threw it down without giving any cogent reason. I know that she (?) is not expected to give a reason and probably should not be, but it does seem rather mean-spirited just to say ‘its’s bad’ and nothing more.

One thing she did say was that the heroine’s name changed once to a very similar name. Well…. to my shock that is true, and I have no idea how it happened. I went to the typescript I sent to my formatter – thinking to prove her wrong – and by gum, there it was. In that instance she was absolutely right, and I would like to know how that particular little bomb got by my many readings, two editors, half-a-dozen beta readers and a respectable number of buyers. Gremlins…. it has to be gremlins.

So – first thing tomorrow I must send all the electronic files and the print file to my formatter and hope he can squeeze in a quick correction so I can get the files reloaded. For that bit of information I thank her, as I like my files to be as pristine as possible. Or maybe I should say as pristine as the gremlins will allow.

At least having passed the one-star baptism of fire I can call myself a real writer now. But it still hurts.


Fran McNabb said...

Janis, so sorry for the 1 star! I have had one and, yes, it does hurt. And, yes, I too have had a switch in names in a transcript, not once, but twice. Grrr. How does that happen? I caught one of them before it went to print. The other one was years ago in an unpublished contest. Needless to say, I didn't win! Doing something like that does make me more aware of what I write and send in today! We'll learn from our mistakes.

Maris said...

Janis, you're right. Even though we know we'll get those negative reviews one day or another, they still hurt. And we tend to remember them more than the 5 star reviews, At least she(?) helped you find that name change.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

You have my sympathies. We all get them from time to time. The thing is to dwell on the positive reviews instead. I know it's hard. However, at least this person did read your novel and found one thing that needed correction--although it was rather small and petty.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

You're right--sooner or later, we all get that ominous one star review. In my case, the reviewer said she rated my book a one star because she couldn't enlarge the print on her e-reader. Nothing about the story, mind you. Oh, the life of a writer. Hugs to you!

Sandy Cody said...

Sorry for the mean-spirited review. I'm sure it wasn't fair, but we all get them. When that happens to me, I choose to spin it and tell myself at least I got a strong emotional response, not something lukewarm, ho-hum.

Susan said...

Thanks for your commiserations - I know I'm not the first, the last, the only or the worst, but still... I appreciate all of you. Susan, aka Janis

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

So true Susan!

Sorry you had to go through that but you have a great attitude over it.

Good luck and God's blessings.

Morgan Mandel said...

Ouch! I've gotten my share of trolls who don't usually give reasons for being so mean. Sometimes I wonder if they think by trashing one author it helps another one get sales. The hard part is you need a certain number of stars on average when you submit the book to an advertising site, so those trolls are not helping the cause one bit.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

It happens to us all. And I just found out from a reader that I changed the description of my murder victim A Crushing Death. Yikes!