Negative Reader Reviews

Here's what I have to say about negative reader reviews:


I've seen blog posts and forum posts on the topic.  I've seen people complain that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  I've seen people remark that "karma" will come around in the end.  (Um, really?  I had no idea that a person *not* liking your book was grounds for them to receive a karmic ass-whooping.)  I've seen the tirades on both sides - authors and readers.

Here's what I think: we read books.  We either like them or we don't.  A good review (and that includes a negative one) will explain why the reader felt the way they did.  Even a "one-star" review can be excellent, if it explains why the reader felt the story was flawed.

I personally don't always feel the need to say why I didn't like a book.  Sometimes it's just not a right fit for me, and I don't even spend my time sharing a review of it.  Instead, I donate the book to the library or thrift store and move on.

Likewise, I don't complain if I receive a negative review.  A person has a right to their opinion.  Many things in life are subjective, and that includes books.

You didn't enjoy something I wrote?  That's totally cool, and thank you for taking the time to even read it in the first place.  I don't blame you for not finishing it, so you could move on to something else.  I've been there, done that.  :)

When I write, I do it to entertain people.  If a reader is entertained and gets lost in the story, I'm thrilled!  That is precisely what I hoped to accomplish.  If a reader cannot get past some thing or another about the story, then I'm all for moving on to something else (and, yes, they have a right to say "I just couldn't get into it).

I think it would be nice of writers stopped focusing so much on reviews, and paid more attention to writing a better story with each new project.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Demetra's Playlist

Demetra is the main character in the book that I have codenamed "Project Muffin Man".  Like many writers out there, music can often inspire me or help set the tone for the chapter or scene as I work.  Some of my novels have complete playlists, with songs connected to each and every scene.

The playlist that came together for Demetra is shorter than most, and I must admit that it isn't in any particular order.  It's more like mood music, than specific scene/chapter inspiration.  So here is what I listen to when I want to set the stage, so to speak, for working with Demetra:

"South Side" - Moby and Gwen Stefani

"Heroes" - The Wallflowers

"Hero/Heroine" - Boys Like Girls

"Is Your Love Strong Enough?" - Bryan Ferry (I have been in love with this song since it was used for the closing credits in my favorite movie of all time, "Legend")

"Calling You" - Blue October

"The Reason" - Hoobastank

"Put Your Arms Around Me" - Texas (another song I fell in love with thanks to closing credits, this time for the movie "Ever After")

"Love You 'Till the End" - The Pogues

"1892" - Thomas Jordan

"The Last Steampunk Waltz" - Ghostfire

"Airship Pirate" - Abney Park

"The Wrong Side" - Abney Park

I think The Killers would make a fabulous addition to this playlist.  I am looking for more steampunk bands to add, but it's a slow process.  Just because something is steampunk, doesn't mean I automatically love it, any more than I automatically love any urban fantasy book or any movie with unicorns and princesses.

Besides, it was Tim Curry's Darkness that really made the movie for me.  ;)

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Friday Randomness

Even though I have been living here for a year now, I haven't really seen much.  So I finally went to London last night and saw Loreena McKennitt in concert.  I love her CDs - her voice is gorgeous - but live?  I never thought I would say this, but she rocks.

When the evening was said and done, we did not get in until 2:30 a.m.  Today's post-concert exhaustion is well worth it.

It is rarely a good idea to try to work when you are tired.  There is this thing I believe some people refer to as "a day off".  ;)

Tonight we are going to relax, watch "Animal House" (classic!), and go to bed at a decent hour.


I truly enjoyed beta-reading Tread for J. M. Lee.  I am also very pleased to know that he is available to beta-read "Project Lemon Cake" (part of my Aetheric Artifacts series) when I am done editing it.  He is fabulously talented, both as a writer and an artist.  Highly recommended followage here.


There are some agents I really enjoy following on Twitter and whose blogs I love to read.  They are full of useful information.  Do you know what surprises me the most?  The attitude of authors.  I touched on this a while back, but to be specific: arrogant authors who query and sing the praises of their own book, or who respond to a rejection negatively.  

The agent-author relationship is a partnership.  You both have a shared dream to make your book the best it can be.  Your agent is your champion, your advocate, and your guide

Odds are nobody is going to want to work with you if you come across as a complete and utter asshat.  This applies to pretty much everything in life - it's only common sense.  Then again, agents are just one segment of the population pleading on a daily basis for people to use some logic (I think I see "Read the guidelines" #pubtip Tweets at least once a week).

By the way, I may be a sunshiny Pollyanna most of the time, but trust me: I can also be a real brat.  Just ask my husband.  ^.^

What are you reading right now? 

I finally started Timeless.  Yay!  I had to DNF The Mephisto Covenant.  It's a great concept, but it's not the story for me. 

Both Everneath and Born Wicked are on my bedside table.

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan