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Closing the year on a positive note

2010 was not a banner year for me. I lost my job, interviewed for a new one and fortunately got it only to find it was a lot more work than I'd anticipated, had a mystery ailment for six weeks, and published a novel. Trust me, I can find the positive in all those things, and yet I see the negative in all of them too. Push comes to shove, and I count myself as blessed over all.

I'm closing the year by sharing some epiphanies I've had recently about book reviews.

The other day I read some discussion about Google Books and how it pulls reviews from Good Reads. I'm not sure what the algorithims are for the way the reviews are pulled, but it seems to pull in the worst reviews. I went to look at the page for The King's Tale and sure enough, the vitriol laced, scathing one star review comes up very first on the list. At first I was shocked and angry, but later I changed my mind.

That particular review was so hurtful I couldn't read it all, but I have a different outlook on it now. If my book inspired that much passion, and emotion, then I will take that as a good thing.

The other day I was having a discussion with a friend, and I mentioned some of the romance novels I loved as a young person. Somehow, through our discussion, I decided to go look at Amazon and Good Reads to see what kind of reviews those books get. It was eye-opening.

Roberta Gellis books tend to get fairly decent reviews. The knock on her books (which leads the reviewer to give 3 or 4 stars instead of 5) is that they are slow moving. That never bothered me in the least when I read her books. As a "fan", I was pleased to see that her books are so well rated.

Then I moved over to Beatrice Small, my other favorite. Wow. She wrote one of my all-time most favorite ever books, A Moment in Time. I loved this book for so many reasons. It took place in Wales, was based on a Welsh myth, and it didn't have a classic "happy" ending. What? Yes, I loved it because to me the ending seemed so "real"...not everything ends happily. Of course, there is a hint in the epilogue that things ended happily, but not in a traditional way.

At Amazon, there are 19 reviews for this book, with a full four of them being one star reviews. People HATED the unhappy ending, as well as some other gnarliness that happens in the book. I was a bit shocked to see something I treasure so very much run into the ground like that!

So, that's when I started thinking...maybe I put too much stock in these "bad" reviews I get. People seem to either love! or hate! The King's Tale. At Amazon there are either 2 star or 5 star reviews. At GoodReads there's a more even mix, but the people who hate it, really hate it.

After that I looked at one more book, a book I read during the time I was writing The King's Tale. This particular book has 354 ratings at Good Reads, with an average just a little over 3 stars. That's a lot of ratings! It's a long book (also takes place in Wales) and I'm sure it took the author years to write (and research). I pictured myself in her place, seeing that this "baby" of hers receives so many bad reviews. And all of a sudden it snapped into place. I bet she doesn't even look at Good Reads for reviews.

I know that none of this means that I'll stop reading reviews, or that I won't still be stung by a bad one, but it helps put the whole thing into perspective. And I think that's a good thing.

I'm not sure what 2011 will bring. Odd-numbered years seem to hold better luck for me overall.

Hope you are all safe and happy this New Year's Eve, wherever you are!


All of the glowing reviews, both at Good Reads and at Amazon, for The King's Tale really mean the world to me. Each and everyone is special, and a treasure.

And the few I've found for Promies and Lies too. <3


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2011 09:29 am (UTC)
the inner catholic in me is freaking out (re: superstions!) because the first part of this post says 2011 when it should read 2010
Jan. 1st, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Ah....you are correct....I shall fix that posthaste!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )