About those Reviews….

As I promised, a word now about those previous reviews.

I love reviews; it means people are actually reading my book. However, there are some reviews that do bother me. They’re not necessarily the ones that are scored low; it’s the ones that are scored low with no other explanation. That bothers me.

For example, The plot was okay, but the writing was ridiculously trite and “junior high”ish. The dialogue between the characters was, at best, worthy of great eye rolls and, at worst, so horrible and unbelievable it made me want to throw the book across the room. Plus, the book was just SOOOOOOOOOO SLOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW. I find this to be legitimate criticism. This person did not like my work, and that’s fine. One can’t expect to please everyone with their work. Interestingly, another reviewer, who did not bother to post, but to whom I spoke directly, complained at how “high school girl-ish” the dialogue and relationship between Medousa and Cynisca was (In fact, I considered that a triumph; after all, these are in fact young teenaged girls, one a lifelong slave, and the other, born into unimaginable privilege. They are not adult women with deep experiences of life. But this is neither here nor there; I’ve noted this previously).

On the other hand, there are reviews that simply note one star out of five, and leave no explanation. Those baffle and annoy me. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like my work, but I would like to at least know why. How can I improve in my writing without legitimate and helpful criticism?

For example, one critic wrote that s/he doubted that I’d spent any time preparing my MS for publication, and that it should have been put through several rounds of proofreading and editing. Had they ever read the book? There may be some valid criticism to be made, and there are about fifteen typographical or minor grammatical errors in the current text of the book (to my shame); but I spent three years editing the manuscript, including a round of professional editing costing nearly five thousand dollars. And despite those fifteen errors in the text, I had rigorously proofed my writing.

Criticism is usually good. While I am obviously pleased to read good reviews, I have learned more from the better critics of my work. In fact, one critic inspired me to take my original edition of Medousa off the shelf and do a massive rewrite that addressed her legitimate concerns. And it did make the book much better. Her name is E.P. Clark, and she is an author and reviewer, and you should all be following her blog. Also, you should buy her books.

Now– Hearkening back to the errors in my published book– I had missed them, until an ADHD friend read through it (and enjoyed it) and picked out the final errors I did not see, or that had escaped me. I would like to simply upload the corrections to CreateSpace, however, CretaeSpace no longer does the formatting and corrections for you. That means I’ll have to purchase Adobe Pro, and I’ll need to purchase the specific fonts that CreateSpace originally used in order to format the book.

Not only does this mean I have to do the work on my own, without disturbing the general format of the book, but I also have to lay out money for fonts and for the Adobe Pro. This is significantly more money than it would have been to simply upload the corrections to CreateSpace and have them take care of it. But again, they no longer offer that service. I really should just leave the book alone as is. But obsessive-compulsive nature is really bothering me leaving those fifteen errors uncorrected. Still, fifteen errors in a book of over 180,000 words in length isn’t too bad I suppose. I’m just pissed off.

Oh, and on a final note– That webcomic I reviewed here? Well, the author is back, and the story is underway once more! Check it out if you don’t mind your wonderful storytelling and world building mixed in with extremely NSFW naughtiness.

About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a high school ESOL teacher, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in Beijing's Dongcheng district
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5 Responses to About those Reviews….

  1. arichristy says:

    I wouldn’t worry about the critics, honestly. Look at any hugely successful book – Stephen King’s IT for example, or J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book Sorcerer’s Stone. Take a look at their 1-star ratings and the comments that go along with them. Even the most successful authors will have readers who poo-poo on the work for various, subjective reasons. There is no point trying to make those people happy. Be grateful for the good reviews. The fact is, anything anyone writes doesn’t automatically deserve to be read, or for that matter, deserve to be liked. The fact that these positive and negative reviewers have read your work says a lot – that they felt your work was in some way worth reading. All of it is subjective, based off of the perceptions of the reader. You did great work just coming out with the novel and caring about it the way you do.


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