I’ve had a couple of reviews of Danny’s Dragon so far, and am happy that the book is generally being well received. However, today I laughed out loud while reading a review, not because of the review itself but because of the absolutely opposite opinions that each reviewer had. You know that old maxim, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” is so true! Which is why I’m learning to feel good about good reviews, take bad ones with a grain of salt and see if there are any criticisms within that might help my writing and then move on.
Here, I’ll show you an example of what I’m talking about:
At the beginning of each chapter, I included a poem by Lao Tzu, the Taoist philosopher from ancient China. One reviewer said this about that inclusion:
“I have to say one of the things I truly enjoyed about this book was the works of Lao-Tzu that preceded each chapter… The author did a wonderful job of choosing the works that best fit each chapter.”
Then, another reviewer said this about the same thing:
“I was a bit put off with some of the philosophizing that happened on a regular basis. Having studied Chinese medicine in school, I was familiar with the concepts and terms used; but I felt that the Lao Tzu quotations to start each chapter were too long and put me off from the plot.”
Then, the reviewer who didn’t like having the poems in the book said this about the character of Dave:
“Dave Pearce, the Irish cop, who is attracted to Danny was a wonderful character. I liked that his difficult background is so relevant to who he is yet doesn’t get solved in such an easy simple way. He was rough, tender, and striving to deal with the bad hand life had dealt him ~ how could you not like a guy like that?”
The reviewer who liked Lao Tzu, said this about Dave:
“I was bit ambivalent towards Dave, he was loving and kind and very protective of Danny, but annoying and whiney, I guess is the word I want or maybe for lack of a accurate one, that is the one I will use.
At first Dave seems to the strong of the two, but the further you get into the book, you realize that Dave really is the more damaged and the more he tries to be strong, the more annoying he became to me and after a while and I felt that overshadowed his better qualities.”
So, even though both reviewers liked the book overall and both wrote inteillgently and gave the book what I consider a fair hearing, it shows me how very subjective reviews are. Unfortunately, the downside is that these subjective reviews can often influence whether people buy a book or not. I’ve had sales of a particular plummet because of one bad review. As a writer, all I can do is keep working on my craft and write the kinds of books I, myself, enjoy reading. That said, I’m off to finish Barely Covered which is almost all written except for filling in those couple of sex scenes…