Being an Indie writer since 2007 has brought about a fairly thick skin. I’ve been self-publishing for awhile, now in three genres. I’ve got a whole bunch of freelancers that I hire to do beta reading, development and editing, and cover design. Lately, I’ve been doing my own formatting and have experience in High Tech PR. So, I’ve always done my own publicity.
So, I know the no-nos of not commenting on any reviews you may find for books. But there is one that happened today that got me thinking. It’s a one star review on my Bordello of Vampire Pleasure Omnibus edition that made me think, really, what is up with this? It’s a fairly LONG scathing review that points out what seem to be many glaring errors. Most are opinions of course, but I tend to be a stickler for detail. So, I went back and checked on some of the comments. I came to a conclusion after checking some of the claimed facts. Everybody has their own experiences that they bring to a book. That is what they judge it by. And that everyone wears their corset and garter belt differently.
Now, if you think about the many experiences a person can have, reading and in life, you get a vast amount of ways a book can be interpreted. In fact, good writers can make it that the reader thinks that you wrote it, when in case if they really check, they assumed it from your clues. Those assumptions, what you create in your mind from the book, is the magic of reading. And for every person that reading experience will be different. That’s why some people will read a book and love it, and others will hate it. We all bring different experiences to the reading of the book.
So, in the review, I wanted to check some facts just to make sure. It would bug me if I missed something. I checked on the claims about corsets and how to wear your garter belt. So, the review claims that corsets lace in the back and snap in the front, and garter belts have to be worn underneath underwear. Well, I did go back and check, and I did mention the hook being unhooked. I don’t specifically say in the front. But one can assume that it was in the front. Or back. Or where you would think it would be. I’ve had all manners of corsets. Mine mostly unhook in the front. Some clothes could be in the back if they are custom(like bras). Really would depend on what you’ve experienced, and you’d imagine this in your reading assumption.
I also was in a floor show cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show (played Magenta by the way) when I was younger. We always wore our garter belts on the outside, with panties underneath. We didn’t need to pull them off. Just went swimsuit style, where you move the material to the side, right?
Also, I have to admit, I’m not part of the BDSM lifestyle, and I’m not trying to be. I wrote it as the vampires reading the minds of the humans and then creating the fantasy they wanted in the brothel. About whether I spelled Dom or Domme, I could always go back and change that. But then, I also called a incubus a succubus in another story. I sited it as being of the succubus race. So, I wasn’t trying to emulate the lifestyle, just the fantasy of it. So, it works for some people. It’s fantasy fun, erotic hopefully for those that read. The vampires feel that way too, even when they temp the humans into becoming vampires themselves. Death is on the line. Even that can be erotic.
So, what did I come away with? Even scathing reviews can be helpful. I realized that some people just wear their corsets and garter belts differently. There’s nothing wrong with that. And that I still don’t understand why people write huge, long scathing one star reviews. I don’t think I’d have that much mind space to rant about something negatively.
Even one of the lowest reviews I gave for one of my favorite authors, Anne Rice, was more of a 2 star review. It mostly said “Can we stop writing about angels for awhile and get back to vampires?” But you can always take away something positive from the most negative things. I hope Anne Rice did. She put out Prince Lestat a few years later after my review. Maybe enough of her fans told her we wanted more vampires, and she listened.
None of the people that write one stars are fans or in an author’s demographic most of the time. So, for those other authors out there getting a one star review, lament a bit. See what you can get out of it. I’m sure there is a positive kernel you can retrieve. If anything, go back and read some of the reviews where people enjoy your writing. There will be more positive reviews to follow that one star review. Soon, it will just make your book look like it’s been read by real humans that have opinions. It will spur on others to try it. Now, get back to writing and remember, we all wear our corsets and garter belts differently.