The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Saturday, 25 June 2011

What the aspiring writer needs to learn from reviews...

Yesterday I received the strangest review I have ever had.

It was for my latest release 'Getting It Right This Time' and I wanted to share it with you as well as using it as a learning tool for any aspiring writers who visit me here.

The review received 1 out of 5 stars and here it is - once you've read it, we'll talk more!

The book Getting it Right This Time was, in a word, horrid, from start to finish. Not once was this reader able to connect with the main female character, and that is a horrible feeling to have through an entire book. Far beyond being just stubborn, the main character was whiny, cowardly, spiteful, shrewish, and disgusting in her attitude toward the main male character. Her reasonings for her actions were appallingly ridiculous and uneducated, and her obsessive control over her daughter was unbelievable at best (and as this reviewer is a mother very into her children, saying that means something). By a third of the way through the story, the book takes a force of will to finish reading. Female power, the knowledge that a single mother CAN overcome any challenges is important and interesting (not to mention uplifting), but the author of this story took it way too far. The only positive thing this book has going for it is it is well-written: no grammar errors that I could see, lots of accurate and clear details, and a nice, flowing story line. Beyond that, it was wretched.

What do you think?

The reason I decided to post this review was not sour grapes or upset but the fact that the reviewer rips the book to pieces and then ends saying the only thing wrong with it is that it was well-written, no errors, accurate and clear and a nice flowing storyline.

I neither understand that nor the one star...

So the lesson I want to pass on to other writers, reviews are reviews. Read them, don't read them but at the end of it all they are one person's opinion and you are the writer. You are not doing this for praise (or at least shouldn't be!) but because you can't NOT do it. Happy writing!!


  1. Point is you can't please all of the people all of the time. Some readers cannot separate their own opinions from those of the characters they're reading about. Sometimes a story just rubs them the wrong way and they're just not articulate enough to give a seemingly logical reason as to why a story doesn't work for them. Or they simply hate it. Nothing you can do about it.

  2. I'm open-mouthed - how can a book have a 'nice flowing story line' while it takes 'a force of will to finish reading'? Seems completely contradictory to me!

  3. I guess it happens, sometimes people just don't 'gel' with characters in a story, just as they don't always get on with everyone in real life. At least the reviewer took the trouble to read the book and tell you what she didn't like - I think the worst reviews are the ones where they just say 'I hated this book, it was rubbish', which tells you nothing.
    Now, go and punch a pillow...

  4. Thank you for your comments, ladies - Paula, that is EXACTLY what I am saying. I am not upset over this review at all because she said it was well-written with a nice, flowing story line. It's a good review to me, lol ; )

    R x

  5. Wow, talk about someone with personal issues! But that's what it comes down to sometimes. Not everyone will love your characters, especially if they have strong personalities. Kudos to you for taking it so well. I had a similar incident where a reviewer panned my second book because she didn't love it as much as the first one. Maybe I shouldn't have set her expectations so high! LOL