Tuesday, April 29, 2008

C'mon Kids, Buck it Up and Play Along



John Scalzi issued a challenge that I think is great. He's asking authors to post their one-star amazon reviews and then move past them. That's right, he thinks we ought to be up front about it. Does everyone love my book? No. Am I okay with that? Of course. So, without further ado, here's my one-star Amazon review. And for the record, this particular reviewer has no other reviews on record (sorta makes me wonder of she thinks I stole her boyfriend somewhere along the line or something).

Poorly written, unrealistic soap opera, December 19, 2007
If I could give this book less than one star, I would. The characters in this book are poorly developed. Instead of spending some time delving into the main characters, the author adds unnecessary characters and story lines that have NOTHING to do with the topic of the book (i.e. a teenage student who is depressed because her mother is having another baby). This book includes more chance encounters than the worst soap opera on television. She happened to meet the mother of the boy who killed her son in public, changing her entire attitude, not once but twice. She was at a bar drunk and getting involved with a man and the guy she has a crush on happens to be there. It goes on and on. Of course, there is the poorly developed and cliche romantic relationship between the main character and her attorney. It was unneccessary fluff. This is a story that could have been told in a much more effective manner. Instead of having the enjoyable read I anticipated, I was left praying for the end which did not come soon enough


So, fellow writers, jump on in. Don't make me do this all by myself. Leave a link in the comments, both here and at John's blog if you want.

18 comments:

Tayari Jones said...

ouch! I did it too.
http://www.tayarijones.com/blog/archives/2008/04/dare_i_take_the.html

Tayari Jones said...

looks like my link was cut off.
http://www.tayarijones.com/blog/archives/2008/04/dare_i_take_the.html

Tayari Jones said...

oh well. yoou can just go to the home page of the blog.
www.tayarijones.com/blog

kristenspina said...

Oh, I would give anything to have a one-star review (or ANY review) to add to the mix. If I ever do get published, I promise to come back here and add my link.

Hmmm. Guess I better get back to that first draft...

Sigh.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Tayari--Yeah! Glad we can commiserate together.

Kristen--Well, there's the upside of not having a finished book yet . . . no bad reviews. Don't worry, you'll get there (the book, not the review!).

Janet said...

LOL! I'm not published either, but it's just like raising teenagers. They were always convinced I was doing it all wrong. Great training for being an author.

I was on Amazon the other day and some bozo had given Chaim Potok a one-star review for My Name is Asher Lev. That absolutely blew my mind. I think it's one of the great novels of the 20th century. So you are in wonderful company.

Joanne said...

Judy, I like the spirit with which you do this, giving it a lighthearted spin. Even negative reviews can be fun, I guess? Wow, I never realized how over the top some of them could be! Still, from my unpublished pov, I'd take the bad with the good, just to be in print. Guess I'll keep on rowing :)

~Joanne

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Janet--You're right--between having teenagers and teaching high school for 15 years, I have a very thick skin. You know, after your comment about Potok getting bad reviews (idiocy!), I looked at some of my favorites--The Things They Carried, Crossing to Safety and (believe it or not) To Kill a Mockingbird--they all had some lousy reviews. It was laughable.

Hey Joanne--good to have you stopping by. Keeping a sense of humor is critical--no matter where we are with the rowing!

Janet said...

And there you have it. If the great luminaries of modern fiction are getting blasted, a bad review is obviously not proof that you are a bad writer. Especially not a bad review on Amazon, where anyone is free to spout off.

Although I must confess, if there were nothing BUT one-star reviews, I'd be a little perturbed.

Ursula LeGuin, on her website, has a rejection letter she received for Left Hand of Darkness, which subsequently went on to win prestigious awards and become part of the essential canon of science fiction. The letter was vicious and belittling. And clearly wrong. So even professionals can miss the boat. This is, after all, a highly subjective business.

Elizabeth said...

I love this airing of the dirty underpants. I can't wait to be able to show everyone mine too. I think it's brave and honest and well, I'm nosey. Good on ya.

Lisa said...

See? This is why you are such a role model for wannabes like me! What a great idea this is and I'll bet it's sort of cathartic. I'm like Kristin -- better get back to that first draft so maybe someday I can see what it feels like ;)

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Elizabeth--hey, thanks!

Lisa--we're all in this together, baby!

Sustenance Scout said...

I've got a copy of your book in my TBR pile, Judy, and I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing it even after reading that bad review. One thing I've learned is not to take every review at face value; folks have all sorts of bizarre motives.

And some are just quirky. How quirky are you? :) You've been tagged for a fun meme...! K.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Hey K., let me know what you think when you read it--your book is on my TBR pile. Good karma, huh?

I'll try and get to the meme next week--I'm getting ready to hit the road for a few days.

Carleen Brice said...

My worst reviews are actually not on Amazon, but on Goodreads.com. Let's just say a couple of people don't think my book is such a good read. :)

Sustenance Scout said...

Have a great trip, Judy! And yes I heard you'd recently selected a copy of my book in Lisa's contest. How cool is that?! I'd also love to hear what you think. K.

Anonymous said...

Done.

http://www.redroom.com/blog/kristy-kiernan

or

http://southernauthors.blogspot.com/2008/05/one-star-say-it-aint-so-by-kristy.html

Kristy

Daisy said...

Remember Fred Astaire's audition review? "Can't act, can't sing, can dance a little."