What I wish I had known about reviews before I got a bad one

M.C.V. Egan
I come from a
huge family and married into another large one. I have (or would like to think
I have) many friends. My book came out on June 9th 2011 and many of
my friends and family read it.

I got beautiful
cards and e-mails with ‘review-like’ comments. One or two actually posted them
on my facebook page.  So I found that as
an author I had the wrong kind of friends and relatives. Perhaps not the wrong
kind, but not review friendly friends and relatives.

I had a publicist
last summer and through that PR the book was requested for reviews, but that
meant I had to sit, wait, hope, fear, wonder. What if my first review was a bad
review? What if all my reviews were bad reviews? What if my friends and family
were trying to spare my feelings? Should I start smoking again? Should I take
up drinking? I opted for massive amounts of chocolate; I am still trying to
lose the weight acquired during the waiting period!

A few months
later the reviews began to come in, and I got really spoiled. They were all
absolutely fantastic, one five-star after another including one from the much
respected Midwest Book Review.

I was flying
high, this time eating chocolate to celebrate, and learning so much from what
the reviewers/readers tapped into. Words like “unusual” and “unique” were
followed by amazing praise about my great ability to intertwine fact and
fiction. I could do no wrong and the five stars became the expected norm.

Then I got a
three star.

But I surprised
that I did not feel disappointed or offended. The review explained that the
factual historical aspect in the book was in great detail and was more than the
reader had bargained for.

I received a few
three-stars after that, and then the great blow.

A very scathing
one star review… no, I won’t tell you where it is posted, if you are curious
enough you will search and find it. I cannot deny it hurt. I ate a box of
chocolates; I believe I even cried. I try not to remember.

I posted it on
book blogs and I was amazed at the feedback from other authors: you are so
brave, sadly all the bad ones always hurt, not every book is for everyone and
the wisest one of them all look: up the reviewers review history it might be
someone who likes to give bad reviews.

Off I went in
search of my reviewer’s history and my heart sunk a lovely list of good
reviews. Five stars here and there, and then I saw another one-star review and I
had to smile and open another bag of M & M’s grinning from ear to ear the
other one star review was for Ulysses byJames Joyce. So, my book was not for everyone, no book is but I was certainly in
fine company.

Of course I have
absolutely no delusions of being in the fine gentleman’s category, but I do
have an Irish last name, even if it is acquired by marriage and not by

I received a long
e-mail from a lovely blogger and reviewer, one of those that gave me five
stars, loved The Bridge of Deaths and even invited me back to her huge site for
an author interview and giveaway. She pointed out how many greats had received
bad reviews, her list did not include James Joyce, but I added him.

I have since
received other five-star, four-star, three-star reviews. I can only hope I do
not receive any more scathing or one-star reviews, they hurt, and they hurt a

I am very humbled
and honored by all my reviews. I have learned so much from each and every one.

I do need to know,
however, if any of you know a good way to end a chocolate addiction.
The Bridge of Deaths is a historical paranormal, romance mystery! Something for everyone:

Follow Bill and Maggie in London 2010 as they explore the events of August 15th 1939. When at the brink of World War II, an English plane crashed and sunk in Danish waters. Five deaths were reported: two Standard Oil of New Jersey employees, a German Corporate Lawyer, an English member of Parliament, and a crew member for the airline. Bill and Maggie find a conceivable version of the events. 

Purchase Links:
Barnes and Noble

2 thoughts on “What I wish I had known about reviews before I got a bad one

  1. Great article. I've only ever had positive feedback, even from agents – until I didn't! My current novel in process is my most adventurous, and I was worried that I couldn't pull it off. I have 4 test readers. The first one came back saying that it was confusing and she hated all the characters. The next one didn't 'get' it. All I could do was think the same as you, and as Susan, above, take on board the criticisms, and try to improve it. I think that getting bad feedback actually made it better – once I had stopped feeling really fed up, vowing I was going to bin the whole thing, and furiously smoking, of course!!


  2. oh they hurt, don't they? But we all get them…every single one of us. The good thing is you took it positively (re, her review of James Joyce LOL). To tell you the truth, I don't understand why people post a scathing review of a book that's been well received. What's the point? Of course my book isn't for everyone but, personally, if I don't like a book, don't finish one, or am disappointed by it, I don't write an awful review. I just put the book away and don't look at it again.


Anything you want to say about this post?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.