Friday, June 10, 2011

Maybe I don't suck as a writer... maybe it's just voodoo

Yesterday I got some god awful reviews on Amazon for ‘Run From The Reaper’ forcing me to pull it from sale everywhere. This morning I got an email from a reviewer who placed her review on a site from which I couldn't remove the book. All of the reviews here are really good. The reviewers actually got the book. Now I’m torn. I'm not sure what I should do. Here's a link to the site:

What I had a real problem with was that 2 reviewers called my first chapter “unbearable” while I think it is, hands down, the best thing I’ve ever written. That huge disparity is what led me to rethink my career path. If I am so out of touch with what readers like then there is no hope for me as a successful writer.

But there was a review in particular on GoodReads that made me think that all was not lost. So now I'm thinking that if I ever were to touch Run From the Reaper again, I think I would move the first chapter to the prologue. That would solve 2 of the problems mentioned by reviewers. I admit that since I have never read a horror script that had been turned into a book, I did not know how to handle that opening scene in the movie where the focus is on a character other than the main character. Obviously the way I handled it didn’t work.

Also, if I were to touch the book again, I would take advantage of the fact that it is the year 2011 and that I write e-books and put a link in the book to an audio file of me reading the prologue. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t that the chapter is badly written. It is that readers can’t guess the rhythm you have to use to read it. I guess it was foolish of me to think that more than a handful of readers would. That was a concern I had when I wrote it. But what are you going to do?

Another reader mentioned that the biggest problem they had with the book was that it was so short. That’s not a bad problem to have. And I think that I could easily address that problem by calling it a novella and putting the word count in the description.

On a positive note, even the bad reviewers liked everything after the first chapter (minus the apparently few errors). They all liked the concept of the book a lot and everyone thought that the action made the book read quickly. One person even said that the main character was written so well that readers could anticipate what the main character was thinking. Wow.

The biggest reason I decided to stop writing Samurai Zombie Hunter was because, more than anything else, SZH is a character study and not a typical zombie book. The problem I imagined was that since my intellectual horror book was being hated, my character study Zombie book would be panned as badly.

But having read that a reviewer found the quasi character study a strength in that horror book, I’m starting to think that some readers might find the same thing a positive in my zombie book. All of my positive reviews for Reaper say that the book is different than the usual fair and that is why they recommend it. Maybe the same thing will be said about the Zombie book IF I released it.

Clearly there is some type of voodoo on me right now that is preventing me from having any type of financial success in any area of my life. But maybe it isn’t because I write unappealing books. May there’s just some horrible thing about me that I don’t know but others can feel. Whatever it is, it sucks and it is wearing me down in a serious way.

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