I know I say this a lot but reviews of my work, especially as a beginning author, are extremely important to me. Not only does it let other people know that my book exists, and what recommends it with positive reviews- negative reviews give me a chance to honestly and brutally reflect on how much more I have to work on to become the author that I want to be.
So though I received a two-star review from Goodreads rater Margaret Shock – I want to publicly thank her for it. I’m not being sarcastic- I am honestly grateful that she took the time to try out a small-press book from a new author, and then took even more time out to write a well-written, concisely worded review. It means a lot to me that she felt strongly enough about the story to challenge the parts of it that could have been much better- the parts of my style that can get better, thanks to feedback from reviewers like her (and also my beta readers of an equally honest bent). I think personally that becoming the author that I want to be involves making mistakes- but that means absolutely jack diddly if I am not willing and open to learn from those mistakes. So whether you’re inclined to rate ‘Till the Last Petal Falls with five stars or one, remember that every review is important to me, and I appreciate every one, and I respect the reading experience that fuels each one.
So to put on my ‘to-do’ list of improvement: writing more subtlety, culling details and perhaps rearranging them in a more manageable, natural way, and becoming more creative with my stories. Though the review did state that the reviewer is “one of the most anal readers out there, so the things that bothered [her] might not do so for others”, I think that paying attention to these specific, personal weaknesses will be important with proceeding with the third installment of the series, and in editing my current fantasy project.
To end this post on a positive note: I am very appreciative that this reviewer did very eloquently point out the purpose of the novel, letting me know that the message did get through.
I found the underlying theme of abusive relationships to be fairly well-executed – it was realistic, added depth and meaning to the story, and not to mention, the author is brave for having tackled such a sensitive and controversial subject. It is certainly something that needs to be talked about, and the story does this in a way where it drags you in a direction that feels wrong until you realize what’s going on, and it hits you hard. It not only trumps the “love heals all wounds” trope that is so dangerously plugged into YA lit these days, it shows the dangers of having this mindset.
Thank you so much, Margaret, for your time and your honesty as well as for giving me encouragement through challenging me to become the writer I want to be. I promise I won’t waste the opportunity!
Have you read ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, reader? If you have, why not pop a review of your own up on Goodreads, Amazon or Barnes & Noble? Better yet- take a picture of yourself reading the novel and e-mail it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org . I’d love to see where my writing has ended up.