Today I got my first bad review. You expect them. But I had jumped into the limelight with such a solid start that it still caught me off guard. I was luckier than some writers. My first reviews from strangers, not friends and family, were highly complimentary and positive. I still have some things to tweak in that first novel. Being self published and without a budget, you use friends, family for feedback. You proof your own work again and again and again. But friends are kinder then they should be, and well once you have read your own work so many times it gets harder to see the errors.
I have two things I know to look for: Homophones and Question Marks. I totally know exactly what word goes there and where a question mark really goes. However, sometimes my question marks pop in when I am hearing the character's tone of voice. And as far as the homophones, my brain when I am in the zone just seems to grab the first spelling; right, wrong or indifferent. If I catch it, then I totally know it is the wrong one. These two errors are deadly for me as a writer because proofing programs do not catch them. It takes the human eye to catch them.
I expected this to be the topic of any first bad review, surprisingly it was not. As I read it, I realized that this was just a case of a reader with a different eye for a story than my previous non family/friend reviews. My publicity editor pointed out he actually did me a couple of favors with the bad review. The first favor he pointed out was the mating rituals in the book. Though I try not to get vulgar or explicit, my mentor pointed out that sex sells. The second favor is that it can look contrived if all the reviews are good reviews. I had not thought of either of those.
So today I have weathered my first bad review. I am sorry that the individual did not like my book. I am grateful for the honesty. I look forward to future reviews as my skills seem to only be improving based on feedback and practice. I am also grateful that it was not my very FIRST review. I was really frightened as many new writers are, to put my work up for public scrutiny. However, the joy I get in knowing that for the most part, people are liking where I am headed gives me the energy to continue to write part two. Coming soon.... The Blackguard - Part Two of The Blue Dragon's Geas.