Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Day I Got My First "Two Star" Book Review

by Molly Noble Bull

Book Reviews are very important to authors. As a published novelist, I am no exception. To me, a Five Stars ranking at Amazon is super encouraging. A Four Star ranking is all right, too. But when my overall rankings go below that magic "Four," I start to worry.
And when I got my first “two star” review? Well, I was crushed.
What was I doing wrong? I must be the worse published author in the entire world. Should I trade my computer for a shovel and begin digging ditches? Or was I shovel-ready enough to even do that?
After successfully removing the knife now penetrating my heart, I made a discovery. There was a place near the review to click-on—making it possible for me to read "the two star bandit's" OTHER reviews.
I clicked immediately—with shaky fingers I might add.
You won't believe what I found.
The "two star bandit" was actually "the one star bandit." And there were authors far more famous that I getting "one starred" right and left.
At first, I felt a lot better. But in the end, I was slightly disappointed.
Why wasn't my writing good/bad enough to rate "one star?"
A sense of humor is vital in this business. Otherwise, how can we hope to yank the knife from our hearts?


Andrea said...


Carolyn V. said...

So true.

Karen Lange said...

Our work is out there, and not everyone is going to like it. I tell myself this often, but it does little to lessen the sting of a bad review. But then, maybe the bad reviews are what makes the good ones even better.
Thanks for sharing.

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Andrea, Carolyn and Karen,
Thanks for writing. I hope all your rejections will be replaced with contracts.

Tess said...

It's all relative. I can't tell you how many months I've gone to my bookclub loving a book only to have half the group say they didn't (or visa versa). Good to remember....good to remember...

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Tess, Thanks for writing.

Golden Keyes Parsons said...

Ah, Molly, it does hurt, doesn't it? Hey, I've gotten some one-star reviews, so you're ahead of me! I comfort myself with the fact that many top writers also garnered bad reviews. I've noticed that my "bad" reviews are coming from the secular reviewers.

Keep on keeping on, and be blessed!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Thanks for stopping by, Golden. And you are right. Probably most "one star bandits" are secular readers that don't like Christian novels.
Our books might point the way to the Lord.

cathikin said...

let's face it, there's no accounting for taste. I have this pedestal where the most incredibly good books and authors reside, and yet I run into cretins who actually tell me they can't stand those models of perfection! I'm sure it's hard to take, still, when someone doesn't care for one of your 'babies.' Like Karen said, the bad ones make the good ones even sweeter

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Cathikin,
Thanks for writing and for becoming a follower. I think some of the reviews are either black or white. If the reviewer liked an author's first book and gave it five stars and didn't like the next book as well, that reviewer could give the second book one stars -- not because the book isn't good but because the reviewer didn't like it as much as the first one.

Faith Imagined said...

The end of this post cracks me up!

It is tough to be a writer!

-Alisa Hope

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Alisa,
Thanks for writing, and I am so glad you got the point of my article. I don't REALLY want to get one star reviews.

Lindsey said...

It starts with submitting your work to agents and editors and keeps right up after that, huh? Well, that's life for you.
Our writing is our life blood and it's hard to hear anything less than perfect feedback about our book.
Thanks for the post!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Lindsey,
Thanks for writing, and yes, it hurts to be rejected. It once took me days to recover from a bad review. But I finally learned that rejection is a part of the ride one takes getting published.
Published writers get rejection letter from editors and poor reviews just like unpublished writers do. To take rejections and poor reviews to heart can destroy ones joy, and as Christians, the joy of the Lord is our strength.
When I am rejected by an editor or get a poor review, I first try to see how my manuscript or book as an editor or a reviewer might see it, and I try very hard to use my rejection as a tool to improve my work.
And when I have done that to the best of my ability, I try to heal my damaged self esteem by applying a little humor to the mix.
It works for me.

Donna Casey VanCleve said...

I've had wonderful responses from my readers, but was once told by an agent whose forte was sci-fi (first mistake) that my writing was a B- (based on the first 10 pages of a historical fiction manuscript). I walked around like Linus dragging my ego behind me until the next day when a reader brought me a hand-knitted scarf her grandmother made for me. She said that I'd spoiled her from wanting to read anyone else. I wrapped that comfy scarf around my bruised ego and decided there must be a lot of B- readers out there. : ) Thanks for reminding us that reviews can be so subjective, Molly.
With kindest regards,
Donna Van Cleve