Warning: This is not going to be a positive post! I am always so anxious to read new reviews from readers. I love hearing the little things they enjoyed about the story, and I appreciate suggestions for how to better my writing. But do the bad reviewers have to be so MEAN? It's like you're in high school all over again, getting shoved into a locker (not that this ever happened to me....)
Anyway, I always want to respond to bad reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, but I really don't think this is going to help me as an author. So I've decided I will vent about them here instead. The people who give bad reviews aren't likely to be following my blog anyway, so I'm confident it won't cause any problems in that corner. Let me preface this by saying that I don't expect all positive reviews, and I do want people's honest opinions. The people who have commented on grammar and spelling errors have actually made me more careful about the way I use words, and this has been a positive thing for me as an author. But to those who criticize for the thrill of it, I give you the "more than less than unhelpful" award from Captain Jack Sparrow himself. If you have criticism, at least make it somewhat constructive instead of just trying to tear others down for their hard work. This one, for example - a three star with some constructive criticism:
"Well structured and takes care to hit all the important corner stones of the original. Yet the story never really took off for me. At points I would have liked to get even more background story on some of the characters and there emotions. Nevertheless a good afternoon read."
There. That wasn't so hard, was it? Contrast with this one star that really got me today:
"I am tired of books that tout a connection to Pride and Prejudice just to gain a wider audience. Who were these characters? Darcy's personality was flat..... It was a disappointment and clearly not worth 5 stars!"
First of all, this person has no idea why I write what I do. Yes, there is a readymade audience for Austen spinoffs and sequels, because she was amazing! But marketing definitely wasn't my first thought when I wrote this. Second, I wouldn't ever claim Pride's Prejudice had anything on Pride and Prejudice. If you are so tired of retellings, maybe you should stick with the original! Does this person have any idea what a challenge it is to do your own version of any of Austen's novels, LET ALONE the most popular, which has been redone countless times? Does she have an inkling what it takes to make your story your own, while staying true to the feeling of the original? How to make it interesting and modern without crossing lines? I daresay she does not, and she has never tried. So, to this person I say: "You have been weighed....you have been measured....and you have been found wanting.....See me when you are worthy!" (Courtesy of A Knight's Tale - I'm sorry, but by now you know how much I love good movie one-liners). When you finally publish a novel after five years of blood, sweat, and tears, you can knock other people for getting it wrong. Heck, maybe you'll even do it better - good luck with that.
A couple other readers have knocked it for being "hokey" or not getting details right about New York, etc. It's fiction, people! No, I have never lived in New York City, and I have no idea if there is a music studio on 12th street, Tiffany's around the corner, and Macys down the street, but use your imagination! Isn't that why we read/write fiction - to forsake reality for a spell?
One review on Goodreads said she hated it because it was overly descriptive. As my good friend Jeannie Mineer pointed out, this person wrote a mini novel about how overly descriptive it was. I say her energies would be better off writing her own books instead of critiquing others'!
Wow, I feel a whole lot better. To end on a positive note, here are a couple of my favorite reviews so far:
Four Star by Nastassja Loots:
"Beth and William are wonderfully entertaining characters, and personality wise they are very true to Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. The verbal sparring between the characters is no less entertaining than the original Lizzie and Darcy, and their interactions are also a pleasure to follow. Beth and William are like magnets; they constantly find themselves drawn to each other even though they find it difficult to get along. I appreciate the fact that while William’s personality and actions are very true to Darcy’s character, William is a bit more open than Darcy, and once he realises he likes Beth he makes a move. I also appreciated that Beth and William get together before the very end of the story and that the author gives the reader the time and opportunity to appreciate them as a unit. The supporting characters are also interesting and very true to their original counterparts.
"While this version sticks closely to the original storyline, there are enough changes to make the book refreshing and interesting to follow, and while lovers of Pride & Prejudice will have a general idea where the story would end up, certain aspects are unpredictable and it is a joy to see where the author will take you next. I love the many ways the author spun events from Pride & Prejudice to make it realistic in modern times, and she did a wonderful job of portraying the progression of Beth and William’s relationship. Beth and William have great chemistry… and I can’t help but wonder what Ms Austen would say about the sexual tension! The author took great care, though, to not overdo anything and she cleverly managed to stay true to Austen’s sense of propriety while keeping a modern romance realistic and giving the readers some passion.
"Pride’s Prejudice is a fresh take on a classic that respectfully portrays events in a modern light. Any Austen fan will enjoy this take on the beloved classic."
Five Star by Christine H:
"Totally loved this modernized,yet clean, version of the Classic favorite
I was a little leery of reading a "modernized" version of the Jane Austen classic-Pride & Prejudice which I love, because so often in the case of remakes of "classic" films that means taking the innocence of the era completely out, and instead filling the remake with the profanity and sexual immorality so common in today's society and giving it a 'R' rating!
"I was thrilled to find that this author did not resort to that.It was also a huge plus that it was kept clean without having to be a 'Christian/Inspirational'novel.
"Just a wonderful,clean,realistic,fun read.The verbal sparring between the heroine and hero are often LOL funny."
Four Star by Brittany Bowman:
"Completely took me by surprise. I'm not ashamed to say I am a die hard fan for erotic novels. I love erotic and kinky books with graphic details & even though it didn't have any sex scenes I was still hooked with this book. I appreciated the flirting & sexual tension, it kept me coming back for more."
Five Star by Jennifer:
"I didn't want it to end! One of those "sorry family, cereal for dinner" books! It's a clean read and you can't help but love the characters. Love anything Pride and Prejudice and so glad I read this modern day take on it!"