Sh*t Authors Wish They Could Say (and #Win a Book)

starsRemember last week’s blog about curiosity? Well, while putting together Monday’s blog, I did something authors tend to do obsessively: pop over to check on the dismal sales of their books on Amazon.

A review caught my eye for some reason and it made me laugh because after a book’s been out a month or so, I stop reading the reviews and this one-star review was funny. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love getting reviews—authors desperately NEED reviews, and I’ve heard that unless one has 50 positive reviews, one doesn’t get picked up and promoted in those infamous Amazon algorithms. And no, I don’t like getting one-star reviews. Ever.

(Now, I can’t say for sure whether or not that’s true about the Amazon algorithms, but WILD MAN’S CURSE only has 23 reviews. Had a chance to read it but haven’t reviewed it? Just sayin’. Hated it? Well, you can say that too, although I don’t have any really bad reviews on it and I’d hate for you to ruin my record. Still, if that’s how you feel, go for it.)

Anyway, I’ve seen some hilarious vlogs where authors read some of their one-star reviews, but between vocal problems and camera aversion, I’ll do a written version. Since it’s a big no-no to respond to reviews, of course, I’m not saying what the reviewer’s username is, or even what book it is—and I will forever defend the reader’s right to review a book however he or she sees fit. It’s just fun to get in the last word every once in a while.

And…here we go!

I’m having trouble getting through this book. The heroine is disagreeable and dismissive to the point of stupidity. I liked the pirate.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all like the pirate. Damn you, Jean Lafitte—you couldn’t even earn me two stars?

Is this a YA? Might explain the immature writing.

No, it if had been YA it would have sold more copies, immature writing and all.

The timeline of New Orleans after the hurricane seems improbable and illogical therefore jars you out of story.

Hell, lady, you should have lived through it. You’d think improbable and illogical.

Sorry I paid even $2.99 for it. This POS is the same predictable, supernatural crap as Laurel K. Hamilton’s.

DJ should have such a sex life!

I missed the second book in this series and will eventually buy it to complete the set but didn’t like it.

Your argument seems improbable and illogical therefore jars me out of my mind—but thanks for the future purchase!

This is a fun romp, but alas, the tale is not over.

No, alas, it is not.

Funny how the premise of this book is based on the final episode of the recent “True Blood” season.

Even funnier is how the book was written two years before the episode aired.

What a sorry book about vampires that do not exist and that drink human blood.

Damn it, why didn’t I write about the vampires that do exist and drink lemonade?

I have enjoyed the entire series. I plan to read this story to the end!

Then why did you give it a one-star review?

This was trash. I deleted it from my library. The f- word was in about every paragraph as far as I was able to read. Mostly just turned all the pages. This really is bad.

Since you were turning all the pages, you should’ve counted the f-words. Mirren Kincaid, this wasn’t even your book, you no-good f-bombing fake vampire who doesn’t really exist. Glad she didn’t get hold of your book.

Great story but I would really like to finish it!!!!!! 

I got one word for you: serial. You only read the first installment before leaving the review.

This book could have been so good, but it sadly was just OK. It did not play out at all like I would have wanted to and instead had romance.

Yeah, funny thing about romantic suspense….that darn romance.

The plot is brutal and the villains are as bad as I have ever read. It is well plotted and the setting makes it a fascinating book but beware. You won’t sleep tonight.

Yeah, funny thing about romantic suspense….that darn suspense.

This book was dumb. I hope this person becomes a better writer in the future.

Yeah, me too.

I find it amazing that a female author would use so much foul language.

I know. Horrible, isn’t it? Just f*cking horrible.

Ha! That was such fun I might have to tackle the one-stars on Goodreads one of these days. Which was your favorite? There’s a TBR giveaway at stake. It’ll probably suck and be worth a one-star review!

 

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

69 thoughts on “Sh*t Authors Wish They Could Say (and #Win a Book)

  1. I don’t give one star reviews. I research the books I buy first, and that works very well for me. I think if a book was worth a one star review, it would end up as a DNF. If it ended up a DNF, it wouldn’t rate a review. Think I have only had one DNF in the last year. The one star reviews are %^@!#%! funny though…. Jean needs a list of these people.

  2. If I can’t give at least 3 stars, I don’t write a review. Why waste the time when I could write about a different book that I loved? The comment about the setting of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina puzzles me, as that was what prompted me to pick up River Road in the first place. I was fascinated by the story of how a natural disaster impacts a supernatural community. The Sentinels of New Orleans is my favorite of your series. It shares space on the bookshelf with Jim Butcher and Benedict Jacka. (Aka the books I would grab if the house was on fire.) I would leave the Laurel K Hamilton behind. I liked Anita better when she slept with stuffed penguins. Her best book is Obsidian Butterfly, the one that explores her platonic relationship with Edward, who is probably more interesting than any other character in the whole bloated series.

    • Yes, that’s my M.O. too. If I don’t like a book at all, I just won’t review it. If there are parts I liked and parts I didn’t, I might review it but will be as fair and as kind as possible. There are hurtful reviews and offensive reviews, but these I picked out made me laugh, although I’m sure that wasn’t the reviewers’ intent. They have a right to their opinion, but I have pretty thick skin and a razor-sharp tongue of sarcasm. 🙂

  3. Your world in no way compares to Hamilton’s and I much more prefer yours! I like what I read to have a smidgen more plot than gratuitous sex, but to each her own. On a side note, in future, if you post Southern Women again, please put an “empty your mouth before viewing” disclaimer to prevent choking. Go Tarheels! : )

    • LOL–isn’t that video hilarious? I might have to go and watch it again. I KNOW those people. Heck, I’m RELATED to those people :-). I liked the Anita Blake series until she decided she had to have sex with every shifter in the universe. It might have been the weresnake that did it. (Don’t hate me, and I know I live in Auburn, but Roll Tide!)

      • Hamilton changed the basic nature of her characters to feed her obsession with kinky sex. I mean, what is the point of having a harem if they are all the same? Jean Claude was a whipping boy as a human, and his struggle to hold on to being as good a person as a vampire can be doesn’t jive with sadism. Same with Jason. She changed who he was to fit her ugly fantasies. It would be like you making Jake a crossdresser. Not true to the character.

  4. I completely LOVE your answers. Now I’m going to have to dig into your books. Vampires that don’t exsist and drink human blood. Haha I love it and am right there with you writing about them. Thank you for the laughs. I needed them.

  5. I will confess i do give out one star reviews at times, and i tend to get ranty on those.
    But complaining about vampires who don’t exist? Never!

    • You’re a reviewer, so you’re allowed! I’ve had books I wanted to give one-star reviews to. And I got some one-star reviews where the reviewer said why he/she didn’t like the book, and that’s totally fair. I really picked out the ones that just made me laugh and shake my head. And I, too, would NEVER complain about the vampires that don’t exist. The ones that do kind of creep me out….

  6. “I missed the second book in this series and will eventually buy it to complete the set but didn’t like it.” This person sounds like your book is Brussels sprouts and the reviewer is five: “you can make me eat it but you can’t make me like it!”
    I don’t have a “no 1 star review” policy, but I give them very rarely. For me the star rating is less important than the content of a review, because a. I am not an algorithm and b. Someone else’s ‘do not finish’ might be my catnip, you never know.

    • I agree–I understand someone really not liking a book for a particular reason and leaving a thoughtful, if negative, review. And I’ve bought, and loved, books for the very reason someone else gave it one stars. These, however, were just funny to me.

  7. Ok seriously complain about my men because it’s about vampires that don’t exist? Haha I bet he thinks werewolves are real.. I’m puzzled by all of the reviews. Upside is it reminded me i need to buy wild man’s curse

    • I should, in all fairness, say I cherry-picked these out of literally hundreds of reviews, most of which were positive. These just struck me as really funny—and, yes, I have pretty thick skin. Can’t work in journalism very long without developing thick skin! Oh and yeah…Wild Man’s Curse! Hope you enjoy it!

  8. I really enjoyed reading this lol! One of my faves:

    This book could have been so good, but it sadly was just OK. It did not play out at all like I would have wanted to and instead had romance.

    Yeah, funny thing about romantic suspense….that darn romance.

    I mean really!….

    Seriously though. I guess I know myself better than some, because I can usually tell by the blurb if I am going to like a book or not. I have never read a book I thought of as one star and only one that I felt was two star and that’s because it was supposed to be a teen book but sounded more like it was for a ten year old. The characters were supposed to be like 18 so that one misled me. Other than that if the blurb doesn’t catch my attention then I usually know that I shouldn’t give it a try. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not that hard to please lol.

    • Yes, and the one about keeping her up at night (suspense) was the same book. LOL. If I’ve kept her up all night, I’ve done my job. You’re right, though–I can usually tell by a blurb if I’m going to like the book or not. I might or might not like the writing style–that’s hard to tell, but I don’t think you can be surprised by romance or vampires if you’ve read the blurb.

  9. Yes, yes we do all love the Pirate!!! BUT a f**ing ton of us love the other people as well as the pesky suspense that is what? Suspenseful, you say?? Jillian

  10. I loved this! Vampires that don’t exist and your return comment are my favorite! You have a new reader as I just came across you from a friends post. Thank you for the laugh.

  11. I loved the “Funny how the premise of this book is based on the final episode of the recent “True Blood” season.” and your comment. I usually rate most books with 3 stars. To me that means they are good reads. Four stars would be really good books and 5 stars are my all time favorites. I’ve given only a handful of 1 or 2 star reviews. They probably should have been DNF but I always think to myself “authors work hard on their books, so I need to try to finish this.” LOL

    • It’s funny how rankings differ per site and reviewer. On Amazon, a 3-star is considered bad or, at best, neutral. On Goodreads, I’ve heard a 3-star is average or okay, and only two and one stars are really bad. Amazon’s about the only site I really watch, because it has such impact on how things get promoted. And I read reviews on book blogs–those I do keep up with as much as I can.

  12. All of the above, but:
    “Funny how the premise of this book is based on the final episode of the recent “True Blood” season.

    Even funnier is how the book was written two years before the episode aired.”

    Do your research before posting something so publicly. Hey, maybe the last episode was based on your book?

  13. You = Laurel Hamilton? No way, you actually have plots, not sex scenes. Oh, those comments were too funny. I will post a 1-star review, if the book was really bad. Usually, though, I just quit the book and don’t post any review.

    • I know, I thought that was the oddest comparison. I almost have to have someone siting with a gun to my head to force me to write a love scene. I save them for last. I write “insert love scene” and skip over it and keep going. LOL.

    • That’s one of my favorites too. In real life, I don’t curse at all around most people, but my characters do. But why a male author’s characters should curse more than a female author’s? I’d say that reader doesn’t read many female authors because I am MILD compared to many!

  14. My favorite was:

    This book could have been so good, but it sadly was just OK. It did not play out at all like I would have wanted to and instead had romance.

    Yeah, funny thing about romantic suspense….that darn romance.

  15. That was a great post Suzanne. To put your mind at rest, I will spoil my review of Wild Man’s Curse for you: I loved it, and think it the best book you have written so far. That setting, those characters, I was glued to the pages. My review wil be on my blog end of the month, and after that I will try to remember to post it on Amazon and Goodreads 😉
    The reviewer that compared your book to LKH is obviously an idiot, the only thing they have in common is the genre. (I am a huge LKH fan!) and saying that, I am very glad your books don’t have that many sex scenes interfering with the story.

    • Aw, thank you! I actually think it’s my best book so far as well, so I hope the series has legs.

      I loved the early Anita Blake Books–maybe up through 10 or 11. Jean Claude is still THE epitome of sexy/dangerous vampire to me. I kept reading them for a while but haven’t read the last four or five. I don’t totally blame LKH; if you want to keep a series going for that long, you have to change and shift the plot arc or it won’t work. I didn’t much like the direction she took it but understood why she did it. That said, I think Jim Butcher has kept Dresden fresh for almost as many books.

      Sentinels in its current form will end at six books, but it’s a HUGE multiverse so there could well be other series or books set in that world but focusing on different characters. The Fae Hunters novella last fall was kind of an audition for such a series.

      • Sherrilyn Kenyon has also managed to keep the Darkhunters series going without resorting to shifter orgies. As I said before, it’s about staying true to your characters. Jim Butcher puts Harry through hell, but he always has a crystal clear vision of who and what Dresden is. (Even if we don’t and are dying to find out!)

        • Totally agree with you on Dresden; Butcher is a master and he isn’t afraid to take chances with his characters. I can’t comment on the Dark Hunters because, honestly, I read the first one and the head-hopping drove me insane. I’d have to read a sentence two or three times to figure out whose POV we were in. Perhaps they’ve gotten better, but that one put me off the series. People certainly seem to love them. I wonder if she quit the head hopping,…

  16. it’s hilarous and at the same so sad i mean it seems like some didn’t even read it a romance without romance? pick a book about vampire when they don’t exist? really ….

    i tend to read blurb before choosing a book so 1star are really rare but i happened to be disappointed once or twice ( never by you!)though i could perhaps review 1star book explaining why it didn’t work for me so far i think teh least i gave was 2…

    the one that disturbed me the most was the one about the timeline…taht book was so researched ( and you lived it) i loved teh excerpt of newspapers etc so reading that was..puzzling me

    • Yes, the timeline one kind of surprised me too. That timeline was spot-on. But if one wasn’t that familiar with either my story or the Katrina story, it probably seemed illogical and improbable. I also read the blurb and maybe even a sample page or two before deciding on a book but some don’t–and aren’t they surprised when they find vampires that don’t exist! LOL.

  17. I have enjoyed the entire series. I plan to read this story to the end!

    Seriously! And then they give you a one star review? Maybe they thought a 1 was the best, like a #1 basketball team.
    I myself read both the low and the high ratings on a book cause sometimes the things they love and rave about makes me want to throw a book against the wall (not something I’d do to any book) and sometimes the things they hate (it has a cliff hanger OMG! and it’s a series!) is exactly what I love!
    Thank goodness everyone doesn’t have the same taste or the literary world would be such a boring place!

    • I will do the same thing–read a few one-stars of a book. It’s easy to tell whether the reader is genuinely upset about something–and as you say, sometimes it might be the thing you like. And some are just duckballs, you know? 🙂

    • I have thrown a book at the wall. Just one, and it was by my all-time favorite author. I was so mad at Jim Butcher for what he did to my beloved Thomas Raith in Turncoat that I pitched it as hard as I could. There is still a dent in the paneling lol.

      • I have wanted to throw a book….but I read on the expensive 10-inch Kindle Fire so it wouldn’t be worth it–LOL. And yes, I was almost as mad about the Thomas “turn” as about what happened to Kisten in the Hollows series. Not quite (it took me YEARS to accept the Kisten thing), but almost.

    • Yay! I really hope you like it–authors probably shouldn’t have favorite books but I do love some more than others, and I really do love this one. Hmm….sounds like a good blog topic for one day soon.

      • Your imagery in Wild Man’s Curse is amazing. The old adage about writing what you know is very true in this book. I spent a few months in east Texas, near the LA border, so I know what the bayou feels like. You evoked that feeling so well that someone in Siberia could understand it. The heat, the sounds, the beauty of a thousand different species, the multi layered scents of growth and decay, you captured them all in a way that made the bayou almost one of the characters.

        • Thank you so much! I’m a real believer in “setting as character,” especially in South Louisiana, where there’s such a unique, sensory environment. Plus, I love it so much, it feels natural to write about it 🙂

  18. Such fun to read through. This one cracked me up –

    I find it amazing that a female author would use so much foul language.

    • I know, right? All I can figure is that it’s a guy who reads mostly male authors and got snookered somehow into getting one of my books–in this case, I’m pretty sure it was STORM FORCE, which as all the Penton fans know introduces the character of Robin, and Robin knows how to cuss. 🙂

  19. This book could have been so good, it sadly was just OK. It did not play out at all like I would have wanted to and instead had romance.

    This was hilarious to me because sometimes in books, the romance doesn’t go where I would have preferred! Occasionally I want just a little bit more romance in the midst of all the action and adventure. (Can you tell I’m more of a Suzanne Johnson follower over Susannah Sandlin?) I agree that all of these are funny. I rarely write reviews, but when I do, it is because the book and author impressed me. AND I just recently started the practice of leaving reviews. (Wild Man’s Curse received a review.)

    Keep up the wonderful work. This reader admires and respects your talent as well as recommends your books! Thank you for the blog!

    • Thank you so much, Dawn, for the review AND the kind words! I’ve deliberately kept the romance toned down with the Sentinels books and I will admit here that it’s because I’ve been so torn as to which way DJ should go, romance-wise. I thought I knew, and then I didn’t, and then I REALLY didn’t, and then I kind of did again, and, well, who the heck knows? LOL.

  20. I love that you’ve taken something “bad”, one star reviews that authors loathe, and turned it into something so fun and entertaining. When I grow up and become a real author, I am totally going to remember this when the one star reviews start coming in. 🙂

    • It took a while for me to develop a tough skin about it, but really, you just have to laugh. They’re inevitable. Some are mean, most are simply that the reader didn’t like the book, which is absolutely okay, and a few are…..fodder for a blog like this 🙂

  21. I always read one star reviews, mostly so I can mark the ridiculous ones as “unhelpful.” The inexplicable ones that say they liked the book but give it one star always amaze me. That’s why this one was my favorite: “I have enjoyed the entire series. I plan to read this story to the end!” The one stars that say they only read a bit of the book bug me too, how can you review something you didn’t read?

    • Yes, and I have to thank you because when I was trolling for these reviews, I saw where you had corrected at least one of the reviewers (maybe on the serial one?)–which was much appreciated!

  22. “I have enjoyed the entire series. I plan to read this story to the end!”
    Lol 😀
    Sometimes people don’t think too much 😀

  23. The complaints about both the romance and the suspense… just… wow. That totally reminds me of movie reviewers who give bad reviews to horror movies but admit during their review that they don’t like horror. If you don’t like the genre – you’re reading the wrong book, honey!

    P.S. Sorry I took so long to review Wild Man’s Curse – finally posted it! LOVED that book and cannot wait for the next one.

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