Broken Pieces

Bradley Convissar – Writing & Receiving Reviews as a Writer

Monday, June 24, 2013

Writing and Receiving Reviews as a Writer

by Brad Convissar

I’ll make the first part easy: I don’t write reviews anymore.  As a writer, I’ve been burned writing bad reviews or giving bad ratings, honest as they may have been.  Writers and fans can be a little unstable.  A year ago, a fan of a certain book on Goodreads went through all the 1-star ratings that book received.  There were five of them.  He went to the profiles of the other four, who weren’t writers, and left nasty, ignorant comments.  As for me, he gave all 18 of my books 1-star ratings, which killed my overall rating.  Goodreads refused to delete the ratings, even though it was obvious they were bogus; who reads 18 books by an author if he hates the first one or two?  So, for the sake of not pissing off other writers or crazy fans, I’ve sworn off reviewing books.  It sucks, but it needed to be done.

As for receiving reviews, as an author, you need to have a thick skin.  Because some people will hate what you write.  And some of their points may even be valid.  When it came to Blood, Smoke and Ashes, most of the reviews were positive.  But whether you, as a reader, enjoy a book depends on what you are looking for.  The positive reviews were really positive: the characters were great, very real; the story was fast paced; the topic was engaging and disturbing; it kept me hooked; I couldn’t stop thinking about it once I was done.

The negative reviews, they tended to the more technical.  Yes, the first draft I released had several grammar/spelling errors, and because of the bad receives, I was forced to edit it again.  I was embarrassed that so many errors slipped through.  So I recently went back and fixed most, if not all, of them.  Other complaints? The story was too far-fetched.  Too unbelievable.  And you know what?  It was in some respects.  For some, it stretched disbelief too far.  And that’s all right.  But the majority of readers enjoyed the book, errors aside, because they were more interested in the characters and their interactions and plights than how far I pushed the boundaries of reality.

Some people will write reviews for the worst reasons, and there is nothing you can do but suck it up.  It really pisses me off when I give away a book, a horror book in most cases, and someone picks it up, reads it and gives it 1-star.  Their review? “I don’t like horror.  The book was too gruesome and scary.  Gave me nightmares.  I wouldn’t recommend it.”  Huh?  You don’t like horror but you read it anyway? And then you pan it for being exactly what I wanted it to be?  Gruesome?  Scary? Nightmarish?  That’s the freaking point!  Some people.  I also released a short story called Blink several years ago.  It is ten pages or so, a creepy, almost Twilight Zonish story about a dentist and what he discovers in a patient’s mouth one day.  Plenty of 1- and 2-star reviews.  Why?  Not because the readers didn’t like it, but because they felt they were being teased.  They wanted more.  They felt like it was a prologue to a book, not just a short story, even though the description clearly labels it as a short story.  They wanted a whole book.  Again, there is nothing you can do about the poor ratings.  Just got to suck it up.

You can’t make everyone happy.  And when you only charge $.99 or $2.99 for a book, or it’s free, you don’t feel too guilty when someone doesn’t love it.  And if they read it all the way through, they got their money’s worth.

As long as the good reviews outnumber the bad reviews, and as long as the good reviews are more engaging than the bad reviews, you’re good to go and you can count yourself a success.

This is the second edition of the book, and the errors noted in several of the reviews have been corrected.In the Fall of 1955, the state of Nevada used the electric chair to execute a prisoner for the first time.

It was also the last time.

Molly Blackburn, nicknamed Jane the Ripper by the Las Vegas press after killing eleven men while posing as a prostitute, was strapped to the chair without incident. The switch was flipped.

Everything after that went horribly wrong.

Since that day, a copycat Jane the Ripper has appeared almost every decade in a different city, mimicking Molly’s choice in victims as well as her methods of murder. She kills eleven men then disappears, never to be found. The similarities between the bodies left behind each decade is uncanny. As if they are all the victims of the same murderer, not a copycat.

But that’s impossible, of course, because Molly Blackburn is dead, her execution witnessed by a dozen people.

FBI Agent Jack Shaw, the lead investigator in the Jane the Ripper cases since the seventies, finally catches a break in 2009 when the intended fifth victim manages to turn the tables on the newest copycat . Everyone believes that the horror has finally ended with her capture. Shaw is not so sure, though, wondering if someone else will take up the mantle and kill seven more men to complete the cycle. But when no more bodies with her distinctive markings show up over the next two years, Shaw allows himself to believe that maybe he has seen the end of the Jane the Ripper murders.

As it turns out, what he thought was the end was only the beginning.

His hunt will take him across the country, and even when he thinks he’s finally discovered the truth, he quickly learns that not everything is as it seems.

That not every monster is created equal.

That the nature of good and evil is not as black and white as he has always believed.

That not everything that is broken can be put back together.

That not every fractured soul can be saved.

When blood, smoke and ashes rise, no one comes out the same on the other side.

Blood, Smoke and Ashes is a 115,00 word supernatural thriller that also contains the first half of my crime/thriller novella “I Never”

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller / Horror

Rating – PG13 bordering on R

(Horror with some violence / Some sex, not overly graphic)

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