Writing is a solitary job. Just you and a blank computer screen that isn’t a lot of company, especially when it stays stubbornly blank for a discouraging amount of time. But when you finally finish and publish your work, you get the chance to connect with readers. Sometimes what they write is warm and kind. Sometimes it’s not. But it’s always interesting to hear the perspectives of people who have spent some time in the fictional world you create.
Over the past few years, I’ve discovered that book reviews are a little like getting a performance evaluation from hundreds of people, in front of an audience of thousands. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes it gets a little ugly. In the spirit of the Jimmy Kimmel Live segment “Mean Tweets,” here is a sampling of what readers (none of whom I know) write about the Dangerous Mysteries series. (I’m including the good first, because I don’t want to scare any potential readers away by leading with the bad)!
First, the good:
Everything a mystery should be.
I stayed up until three in the morning to finish reading this book.
For a fascinating read you can’t put down, I highly recommend this writer.
Lots of twists and turns and great character descriptions.
Wow, what a read!!! I loved this book.
Next, the bad:
Disappointing: lack of character development ruined this story.
This novel felt like the story arc in a daytime soap opera.
No character development.
Juvenile. Kind of like “Lois Lane,” girl reporter.
Run of the mill. Bought by my wife, so perhaps it is a book aimed at female readership. (And we all know that females enjoy run of the mill stories? Sorry, couldn’t resist a little editorializing. SH)
And then, the ugly:
Ughhhh. Boring, dragged on, poor choice of story line.
The author took a good plot and over complicated it to the point of ridiculous[sic] and boredom.
Good mystery. Terrible writing.
I kept falling asleep because the book couldn’t hold my interest.
After reading this book for hours a day I almost thought I was never going to finish.
Actually, I feel very fortunate that the books I’ve written have engaged readers enough to motivate them to comment, for good or ill, on the story and characters in the series. It would feel quite awful to put something out there, and never get a reaction at all.
It would be nice if every reader enjoyed everything I wrote, but I know that you can’t please all of the people all of the time—and reviews have taught me that you can’t please some of the people any of the time. Still, the good ones lift my spirits and make me smile, the bad ones inspire me to try harder, and the ugly ones make me laugh out loud.
Now, in this season of giving, if you have the time or inclination, please post a review or send an email to let an author know you enjoyed her or his books. And I don’t mean mine. I’m speaking here for all the solitary writers tapping away at their computers, and/or tearing their hair out and wondering if what they are writing is ever going to touch anyone reading it. It would be a very nice gesture to let them know it has. 🙂