I’m J Edward. I write books.
I try to please my readers. I really do. I want them ALL to have a great experience whenever they crack the cover.
We writers can’t please everyone. Not even close. Some readers will be indifferent, and others only mildly interested. And still others will be so non-entertained they’ll take to the internet to write a gut-busting negative review.
A lot of writers hate this part of the job. They’ll say they don’t mind a bad review or two, but then when it happens to them, they’ll be indignant, even angry. I’ve watched the cycle play out hundreds of times.
As for me, I cherish bad reviews.
“Wait, what?” you ask.
Let me explain.
First, a bad review gives me a glimpse of what I need to do better in my craft. If a reader puts together a thoughtful diatribe about how bad one of my characters sucked or how long-winded a chapter was, it’s an opportunity for me to improve.
Secondly, and 500% more awesomely, is that I simply like reading bad reviews more than good ones. It’s fun for me in a way I’m not sure most writers understand. I savor the crappy reviews as much as I do the good ones. Even the ones written by vindictive trolls. (Yes, it happens.)
Hell…I’m considering writing something truly awful just to see how many bad reviews I can collect.
Here’s some of the most interesting bad reviews I’ve ever received. Each one is three stars or fewer. Each one appears on Amazon, Goodreads, or a similar site.
Oh, and these are verbatim. I didn’t edit or correct grammar or spelling mistakes. Oops.
Down the Dark Path
By Shirley on March 8, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
*** Shirley’s right. It’s pretty bloody. Especially at the end. (Which means she read the whole thing. Cool.)
1.0 out of 5 stars
on December 17, 2015
“ok so far..cool thing is free.”
*** If this is the worst review I ever get on this book, I’m fine with it. It’s not like the reviewer paid for it. 🙂
Eugene rated it 2 out of 5 stars
“The only complaint I have for this book is that it’s too damn long. I actually got so frustrated that I skipped a few chapters just to get to the end. The author changes perspectives (by that I mean switching to events happening elsewhere) at the most inopportune moments. So that’s two complaints I suppose. Oh, well. At least it gets better in the second book.”
*** Now this is a constructive review. After reading it (and others like it) I actually went back and chopped tens of thousands of words out. I did a total rewrite. Took me a year to finish. Ouch, but worth it.
Reviewed by Martha in the United States on January 5, 2020
Reviewed by Lynguy in the United States on March 26, 2019
I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. This book takes place in the distant future and is relatively well-written despite a few editing errors. It deals with enhanced virtual reality, world building, how people with different priorities can become enemies, AIs, and high-tech war.
The main characters could have been better developed if the book was a little longer. However, the book was thought-provoking and had a different take on the subject matter than a lot of other sci-fi novels. I am glad I read it, but it did not blow me away.
*** This one is a thoughtful, well-written review. If all reviews were this insightful, I’d be one happy camper.
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2016
“Gerrard De Napoli, un-jacked himself…..” Apart from some awkward terminology, I was sucked into the book. It’s dark, gritty and more terrifying than anything else, it’s a very believable concept!
Reviewed by Patryce in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2016
By Lieschen on July 28, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition (101 Questions for Women)
“The author claims to have put on his filter in order to save the book from becoming chauvinistic drivel. While I appreciate the gesture, the book still is fairly chauvinistic and not too enlightening philosophically. The questions show a clear bias (e.g Do readers think of feminism as: a) somewhat useful b) silly c) much too confrontational) with the moderate path being laughably mainstream. Critical thinking and philosophical content (dilemma, insights etc) are incredibly thin. In short, the book focuses on the otherness of women from a masculine perspective. While this might help one feel special and while men frankly discussing their worldview can be rather enlightening in itself, I wouldn’t recommend the book to any woman interested in philosophy.”
*** Boy, the ladies are really killing this book. Anyway, I can’t disagree with her. (I’m assuming the reader is a woman.) This book is def biased based on my masculine point of view.
Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2019
This story comes across flat; it is a galaxy-sized tale with a small, narrow, one person point of view. So much so that it takes away from the believability. There isn’t a lot of world building , and what is there doesn’t ring true according to the premise of the story. There is no depth to the characters, except maybe the MC. I also like to see more Science in a science fiction tale, and less magically produced technology that is all ultimate, unbeatable awesomeness, and is available even after long-term global war and collapse.
For the first quarter of the book, the MC doesn’t even leave the farm, and there is quite a bit of repetition of maudlin details throughout the book, as well as other filler.Kudos the editor! I found only one spelling error, which is extremely refreshing. Thank you! However, what is up with the line spacing at the beginning of the chapters?
Reviewed in the United States on April 5, 2019
So, I won this as a GoodReads giveaway and decided to use this as a book for a reading challenge (category: giveaway). If I hadn’t had to finish the book to count it for the challenge, I probably wouldn’t have finished it.
Lords of the Black Sands is dystopian fiction, which I don’t mind in and of itself. But this is oppressively dark. It actually really reminds me of Orwell’s 1984, except 1984 was meant to be sociopolitical commentary, and Lords of the Black Sands is not. This might have been a decent story if not for the fact that reading it is a trial with pretty much no payoff. There were some better parts, but ultimately this is not a book that I would recommend and I’m happy not to have spent money on it.
2.0 out of 5 stars
By kmcmur02 on September 6, 2016
It’s fine for getting some new questions but it’s very heteronormative and the questions largely focus around your relationship to each other, but not necessarily about how you as a couple relate the the world at large.
It’s pretty repetitive.
It also assumes some traditional gender roles, which didn’t really work for us, so we ended up skipping a bunch.
*** I guess the guy and girl on the cover didn’t give the theme away. My bad.
Hollow Empire – Night of Knives
on December 15, 2015
“I did not like it–it did not hold my interest so I only read a few chapters.”
*** I blame my co-author, John R McGuire. Just kidding. Love ya, John!
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2019
This book has questions to ask your friends or dates to generate discussion and get to know them better. For example, “If you died tonight, could it be said that you lived a good, fulfilling, and satisfying life? If not, what actions will you take tomorrow to make it so?” What is the noblest profession? What is the most despicable profession? Assuming you have a job, is there anything noble about it?”
The book has only questions, no answers, no discussions. If you have trouble coming up with questions for discussion on your own this book might be helpful. Frankly, I was hoping for something deeper and more interesting.
And lastly…positively, absolutely my favorite bad review of all time…
Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2019
Simplistic writing at it’s worst. The hook was horrid and that was the best part. I do not recommend this book or this writer.
His writing style is very much the same as a preteen emo boy without the depth. Save your money, time and imagination for something else… anything else.