I love it when people read my books. I also hate it when people read my books. You’re probably thinking, “Um, excuse me, but …” For me, writing a book is something like opening a window or doorway into my innermost thoughts. It’s like inviting strangers in to see how my soul.
With some time I got used to the idea of people reading my books. Some people loved the books, some found them OK – that’s the way it works. But when I read a negative review I want to know more. I want to pick up the phone and call the person and ask them to explain to me in detail what they meant by this point or that point. Not because I want to pick a fight, but I really, really, really want to know what it was that didn’t strike them as believable.
All of the reviews of Book One of The Most Popular Guy in the School series have been great. I’ve only had a few reviews of Book Two. Today I read one that gave it three out of five stars and had the following to say: “The story continues with Mark and Bill starting college. It all starts terrific for them but then trouble strikes.” So far so good.
The reviewer continued: “The trouble is in the first place too contrived, plus the author makes the characters behave out of character so he can increase the stress they’re under but it just stretches credibility a bit too far.” I’d quite honestly like to know more about this so that I’d know what to do differently in another book. I think I know what they’re talking about but I’d love to have a conversation to know if it was some particular element they didn’t like or the overall scenario I used. That’s what I hate about reviews. They give you a snippet of a thought, sort of a teaser without a chance of ever getting to know more.
They conclude with “What happened to the close knit family we learned about in the first book? They don’t take an interest in the kids anymore?” This is a fair point. I have to agree on this one. I didn’t know what to do with the parents after the kids left home so I opted to mostly leave them out of the story and focused instead exclusively on Mark and Bill moving cross country and striking off on their own, finding their own way in the world. In some ways, Moira serves as a substitute mother/parent for Mark, so I guess I didn’t feel quite as much need to weave his New York family into the story. But don’t worry – they’re back BIG TIME in book three.
This particular reviewer ended up by saying that he “still enjoyed reading the book …” All I ask is that everyone remember that I am a brand new writer so I’m probably going to make a lot of mistakes along the way to learning how to tell a perfect story. But it is a journey and I like learning so that should help. If only writer’s didn’t have such fragile egos!