I've been getting a number of 3-star reviews for Gift of the Destroyer lately. Essentially, these reviews amount to "it's a good story, but I have issues with <insert valid criticism here>" or "excellent story, but". Some of these reviews hit a bit of a nerve, the first was followed by some Twitter venting:
Because it's true. That book went through something like 6 revisions (with proofreaders inbetween each) before I even published it in 2011, and I even released two newer editions after intensive professional editing (the final one included the switch to the Mike Gauss cover), so I think my stance in that tweet was fair. The next 3-star review had a milder response:
I generally don't respond to reviews, good or bad, but in this case I felt I needed to make an exception. I thanked the reviewer for writing the review, and apologized for the lack of polish the reviewer had experienced. I offered free copies of The Raven's Endgame
and Hunter's Chosen
in exchange for pointing out the typos. This offer still stands, and is open to anyone
, as long as you're certain you have the most recent edition.
The final 3-star review had an even milder response:
Did I have
to post this tweet? Probably not, and I think it's best if I refrain from posting about reviews in the future. While it does feel a bit therapeutic to be able to vent them in this way, it isn't helping anybody.
But why am I so worried about these reviews anyway? These weren't 1-star reviews. They were 3-stars, which is generally understood to be a neutral review, but each reviewer specifically mentioned that they thought the story had potential. This is in line with other 3-star reviews I've received. Sure, they lower my average, which is still hovering around 4 stars, but that's about it. And to be honest, Gift of the Destroyer isn't my best book, which I suppose is true for any author who has more than one book. I didn't really know anything about story structure until after I had already published the book, so what I'm really interested in, is what these 3-star reviewers think of The Raven's Endgame and Hunter's Chosen. Hell, I'll throw in free copies if these people contact me for just that.
Having a large amount of less-than-positive reviews may hurt the entire series (The Raven's Endgame and Hunter's Chosen make quite a bit less sense without Gift of the Destroyer), but it probably won't do much for future books in different series (and I have quite a few planned still
So here's what I'll do. I'll stop obsessing over reviews and focus more on writing and releasing other books. And I definitely won't vent my "review rage" on Twitter anymore.
Now if only I could stop obsessing over sales numbers, but that story will wait until another blog post.