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Brian J. W. Lee is a writer. When he's not writing, he's plotting to plunge the world in a deep chasm of terror, darkness and screams. Sorry, did I get carried away?

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Let's Talk Writing: A Quickie On Bad Reviews

So as some of you may know, my book has been getting a number of bad reviews. It's not all that bad, though I may be dulled to the effects of bad reviews, but even on Goodreads, where people tend to be more honest, the ratings seem to be quite balanced. My book's divisive though, that's confirmed - You either love it, sit on the fence or hate it. It's quite pronounced, especially considering that there are no 4-star reviews on Amazon where there are 3 5-stars.

Darn, even my book cover's crying because of it.

It's no doubt painful to get some bad reviews, but even those one and two-stars aren't all that bad (once you get past the depression and suicidal thoughts). Here are some reasons why:
  1. Some of them are actually constructive critiques. My book has improved in quality, I believe, after I edited it based on some of the feedbacks. The first act has been shortened by about 2,000 words - and even I, as the author, have a problem with a first act that's too long.
  2. They 'balance' out the ratings chart. You won't know what's a genuine good review until you've seen the bad. Lots of books out there have 90%-100% 5-stars. Would you believe that? Neither do I. Sure, while there are more bad reviews than I would like, at least it makes all the 5-star and even 3-star reviews all the more valuable and honest.
  3. It's basically a 'Welcome to the Club' letter. All authors get them. There were some authors who were downright hated in their time, or ignored, like Edgar Allan Poe, but eventually people got around to liking them. The world changes much faster these days due to technology, so I believe I'll start seeing fans before I die. I already have, I believe. Thanks guys!
  4. It inoculates me against bad decisions when it comes to marketing and writing. Sure, it hurts like a bitch, and it's okay to cry, groan and moan about it, but at the end of the day, it's going to bring you some insights on what to do when it comes to self-publishing. Now, I don't think my book's rubbish, but these bad reviews had given me these insights:
  • Heightened publicity brings naysayers. It's normal.
  • Bookbub brings naysayers. It's normal.
  • I haven't found my niche audience yet.
  • I've actually gone ahead and put my book where it could shine, like in World Literature > Asian and Literary on Amazon.
  • People won't take long books from newbies like me.
  • Crossing genres and mashing them together is best done after you've written more conventional books and gained enough fans.
  • Plus all of the above and things I might have momentarily forgotten about because I'm rushing to get this out before I leave for the gym.
So things are fine - I'm not going to die in my sleep over some bad reviews. In fact, I think my second book might be released sooner than I expected! Formatting's nearly done. I just have one or two stories left to add chapters to and format, the back matter and possibly re-arranging the stories but otherwise, it's good to go.

See ya'll and thanks for reading!

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