One Star Reviews Revisited
Because I think in the wake of Nebula and Norton nominations it’s relevant to do so, here are some snippets of one star reviews of my recent work, via Amazon:
The God Engines:
It is hard to believe that John Scalzi wrote this hot mess! Bad premise, bad plot, bad characters, bad ending – the only GOOD thing about it was that it was mercifully short! Please bring the REAL John Scalzi back!
This book, though beautifully written, did not hold my interest, and I didn’t like even one character in it. Darn.
This is probably the only book I have returned to Amazon for a refund. It is really that bad. Bad, bad, bad. It is truly beyond belief that a writer of Scalzi’s talent would put this book on the market.
I’ve ready 5 other Scalzi novels, enjoying each, but couldn’t make it past 60 pages of Zoe’s Tale. It was that excruciating/boring. If John wants to write a novel like this, then fine, he should have written it as a stand-alone novel. He shouldn’t have tried to push it by tacking it onto the coat-tails of this franchise.
Zoe’s Tale contains so little action and is such a regurgitation of The Last Colony that I quickly resorted to reading it only on my exercise bike. Even pedaling away at 90 rpm, this book was barely engaging enough to keep my attention.
Yup, those are my works currently nominated for awards, folks.
Why do I bring up these terrible reviews? Oh, for the same reason I brought up my one-star reviews the first time I did a couple of years ago: I think it’s useful for all us writers to remember no one work pleases everyone, and you can’t make anyone like it if they don’t, and you can’t keep them from telling other people what they think of it, even if they hate it… and that’s fine. Learn to deal with it. Otherwise it doesn’t matter how much success or praise or satisfaction you earn through your writing, you’ll still obsess over those one-star reviews and it will eat away at your joy. That’s no way to live.
So: own your one star reviews, don’t let them own you. And once you own them, let ’em go. You’ll feel better, and you’ll worry less about them going forward. Try it for yourself. You’ll see.