Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What I’ve learned from criticisms in reviews! #amwriting

Today, as promised, I've pulled out the poor reviews and tried to make some sense out of the remarks so I can learn from the reviewers complaints and dislikes. Not sure it really worked all that well with these three books.
My Cheeky Angel:

“Actually the story wasn't bad. I could even care about the characters to some extent. And I guess I was over-expecting from an author who apparently acquired her knowledge of angels from movies. But even Hollywood was too wise to use God's name profanely in a story about angels. Unless they are fallen angels, which didn't seem to be the case here.” ~ Reviewed (1 star)

Now here’s a case of a reader who was expecting less “grit” from the book and because I didn’t fulfill her expectations and deliver what she wanted, she took that disappointment out in her review. Now, if she had read the book description ***Think 'Highway to Heaven', move forward in time to 'Touched by an Angel' and then to today's 'A Gifted Man' - add some spice, a lot of romance and a great deal of humour, and you'll have a good idea of what you'll find in 'My Cheeky Angel' *** she would have noticed the warning that the book wasn’t for the faint-hearted. I made reference to the shows about angels. Unless I’m mistaken, I can’t see where a truly honest author can get their ideas of angels from anything other than books, movies and TV entertainment. I’ve never seen one, but I’ll admit that if one ever came to visit me personally, I hope she’s just like my angel character, Celi.

“Not a bad story, cute, written well..felt a little too cute for my taste..a little blah but for many I'm sure they will enjoy it..” ~ Reviewed (2 stars)

Not much I can say about this review. There was nothing helpful. I’m not sure cute is an adjective I was striving for but what the hell – I’ll take it!!

I liked the basic premise of the book and the concept of a spunky guardian angel. That injected some humor into the story. However, I quickly grew tired of the endless, meticulous clothing descriptions. The author seemed to be belabouring the point that the heroine was putting on sexy clothes for a change. The sex scenes were written well enough to excite, but contained a lot of "paperback romance" cliches. ~Reviewed (3 stars)

I picked up on this review because the reader actually gave me a reason for her dissatisfaction. She disliked the endless clothing descriptions. Actually, I was trying to describe Annie’s metamorphous from a tomboy into a classy young woman by showing her choice of outfits progressing from sloppy jeans to stylish fashions. Guess it didn’t go over very well here…..darn! And the reference to paperback romance clichés – well – it is a paperback : - )))

His Devious Angel:

“I am glad i did not purchase this book, it was more fantasy than i like. i would not really recommend it for any age.” ~Reviewed (2 stars)

What can I say? The title “His Devious Angel” should have maybe warned that probably the hero would have to deal with a spiritual conniver. I’m glad she didn’t purchase the book also or I might have only gotten 1 star….. naughty, naughty!!  

"First off, the phrasing and slang used were very British in nature but this story takes place in the US with US characters. Next, the story took place in Washington. Which Washington? Through location clues you have to deduce it's Washington DC. Or at least near DC. It seems the author and editors didn't know enough to make that distinction. Maybe they have the locations and geography mixed up themselves. As far as editing, I mentioned a little of that in the above paragraph. There was a point where a supporting character was called by the wrong name a few times. There are also spelling errors and grammar errors. Sometimes a word is used and I wonder if the writer or the editor even understands the incorrect usage. For instance, two characters were involved in a heavy make-out session on the couch that was later referred to as "lovemaking" a few times. Is that because the author is British and that's the term they use instead or because they have no idea what lovemaking really is?” ~Reviewed (2stars

There's more to this brutal review; I only picked out parts I could comment on. It would have devastated me if one of the other girls in the same Freepartay hadn’t gotten one that was so similar, we wondered if it had been written by the same person… hummm??                                                                                                          

I guess where this reader picked up on the British phrasing is from the Angel who was clearly described as being British. It seemed to make sense that he would use the correct terminology.                                

The setting of Washington, is described in the first chapter when there was reference made to the “Washington wasn’t too hot for a change. Instead of the mugginess that hovered many times in this famous city, there was a cool breeze.” There were a few other instances, but she is right in saying that D.C. was not mentioned. It should have been.
She’s also accurate in the spelling mistakes and my having changed one of the character’s names. Of course, these errors have now been corrected and it was because of this review, plus some friends who gave me the head’s up, that I had the book re-edited.                                                                                           

I also did refer to my hero and heroine making-out on the couch as lovemaking. For some strange reason, I guess I just assumed that when a man and a woman are feeling as much emotion as these characters were, then they’d gone past petting or groping or whatever other adjectives I should have used. For this, I won’t apologise….uh huh….nope!

“Overall I really liked this book, the only reason I didn't rate it higher is because I had two problems with Liam, the first is in how he treated his dad over something I didn't consider serious enough to warrant yrs of such treatment and second, considering he was Special Forces he should have been able to take control and make short work of a later situation. But on the flip side, I loved how the female characters were written, more than once I found myself laughing out loud.” ~Reviewed (3 stars)

There were so few poor reviews that I had to pick this one, which I truly didn’t consider so bad. This reader seemed to have it in for my hero. Thank goodness she liked the ladies!!

 Loveable Christmas Angel:

"Enjoyed the story, but I do have a problem with the finished product. How I wish that books for the Kindle were properly edited or proof read. This is one of the many that have disappointed in that respect.” ~Reviewed (4 stars)

As you can see, I earned only 4 stars because of her disappointment that the book hadn’t been properly edited. I will admit that due to time constraints, deadlines for publishing a book, there have been times in the past that I have released material before the final edits had been finished. I regret that very much now, but back then it seemed like I had no choice. I’d posted a due date and was stuck with it. Nowadays, I only say the month and the approximate time like the beginning or end so I won’t find myself in that sticky situation again.  

“I would say for the most part this was a pretty good read. It could have done without the sex part.”  ~Reviewed (4 stars)

I had to add this review because quite a few readers have taken exception to the sex scenes in my romances. I promise that I try and write these passages with good taste. To reflect an honest emotion from the characters when they finally find themselves expressing their feeling through actions. In my own defense, I’ve always enjoyed a well-written sensual scene and couldn’t imagine an honest-to-goodness, true-to-life romance without at least one.

The was a good Christmas read. I wouldn't recommend it for any other time of the year. ( Have I used enough words yet?) ~Reviewed (3 stars)

I loved this review!!

“This is a short novel which would have benefited from more detailed story background. I did not feel much rapport for the characters, except for Pi”
~Reviewed (3 stars)

This review broke my heart! The comment about a more detailed story background I accept as true since this book only has 136 pages. Most of my paranormals are similar because I believe that a lot of customers are looking for lighter, shorter stories and that is what I’m most comfortable writing. What upset me was her not feeling a rapport with the characters. I wring so much emotion from the people in my stories that I’m truly shocked she didn’t “get them”. Thank goodness that Pi pleased her.

*** Note:  Since the lowest review rating I have on Loveable is 3 stars from 319 reviews, I had to choose these as my bad reviews.  Thank you Lord!!!


 ***Next post: Based on my personal experience, I'll touch on the variations in reviews when dealing with different genres.


  1. Mimi, thank you for this post and for your gracious analysis of poor reviews. You've helped me see beyond the words to a lighter, more positive side. :)

  2. Your welcome, Mary. I strongly advise any author to analyze her reviews in this way. It was certainly an eye opener for me :-)

  3. Great job Mimi to go in-depth and try to figure out what a particular reviewer was trying to say in their comments. It is clearly impossible to appeal to all readers. The reviews that bother me the most are the folks who object to the level of intensity between two characters. And it is quite obvious that the author has given an explicit description that it will be a steamy read.
    Obviously, you are taking what is meaningful for you and helpful and then walk away. The number of reviews that you've obtained are outstanding and the majority are excellent. Keep up the fine writing.

  4. Thanks Jodie! I guess with this exercise I'm trying to learn how the majority of the readers view my work. So far, I'm on track. Although as an author, I do believe it's a good idea to re-evaluate from time to time :-)