I was just surfing the web today when I came across this negative review of my book "The Bone Sword," and I'm curious to hear some responses to this review. Naturally, nobody likes to read anything negative about their writing, but by the time you've gotten a book published, you're pretty much used to it. I've really never heard any fairy tale about a writer who wrote something and submitted it only to have it be accepted by the first publishing house that looked at it, and then had it go on to win every award and gain the respect and admiration of every single reader who picked it up.
That's simply not going to happen folks.
The reason is actually a blessing in disguise. People are different and diverse (and the world would be VERY boring if they weren't). The things you write CAN'T please everybody, because EVERYBODY is looking for something totally different.
That being said, I believe everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. In reading this review, although it makes a big show of being critical of everything from the cover to the opening map, I believe this reviewer secretly enjoyed "The Bone Sword." Here's a quote from the review:
It’s a bit of a curate’s egg of a book, though; I was never in any danger of not finishing it, and not just because I didn’t want to miss the next nugget of appallingness. The plot is basic and entirely unoriginal, but serviceable and fairly well paced, and the themes the book poses (how much loyalty do you owe to an organization that doesn’t repay it? When do you have to take a stand?) are good ones.
It kind of makes me laugh to read that since the reviewer is so focused on injecting negativity that he can't realize that what he's saying is essentially positive. But phrases like "I was never in any danger of not finishing it" are encouraging. Honestly, if I HATE a book, I can't finish it. Simple as that. There are books that I have finished and not liked...and there are books that I have devoured and not liked (The Da Vinci Code for example).
In terms of plot, certainly, I wasn't attempting to write a plot-centered book. I'm more interested in the new themes and characters that I can hang off that plot, and this reviewer writes it's "serviceable and fairly well paced, and the themes the book poses are good ones."
You know, one time I was sitting in a college class and my professor handed back an essay on which I'd received a 28 of 30. My girlfriend at the time also got her paper back, and she'd received a 30 out of 30. However, earlier in the class, the professor had made a transparency of an essay to use as an example of how a good essay should look, and for that he had picked my essay. It struck me as funny that he found enough errors in my essay to drop it to a 28, but some part of him made him pick that essay over the one he had deemed to be a 30/30.
No, I don't think "The Bone Sword" is a perfect book, but I think it is successful at what it is. First and foremost, people are going to be able to read it from cover to cover (which should be your number one priority because there are TONS of books out there that are impossible to read). Second, you're going to find that it's a familiar style plot which will provide you with some reference points in the kind of world that I like to create. I plan on getting a little more radical in terms of plot and character development in the sequels, but you just can't jump out of the gate like that (or nobody's going to accept your work for publication).
Anyway, I'm glad this reviewer shared his thoughts. I'm going to take a couple of his comments with me and try to improve things. What do y'all think?