As a writer who put out a couple of books, that is to say, basically bared tiny selections of heart and mind to the world, you also open yourself up to criticism. And while a lot of that criticism has been wonderfully positive, a couple here and there are, of course, negative. You can't expect everyone to love what you write.
But every once in a while, whether it's because of the wording of their review or whatnot, you get a couple that you can't help but take as compliments.
And sometimes they're just downright amusing.
Below I will share a couple negative reviews that I totally took as great. And couple that are genuinely just negative and can only be seen that way, but are so comedic that even I appreciated them. Maybe I'm delusional or I hear what I want to hear, but tell me if you agree.
Here's one that I recently received for "Autonomously Yours" that I tried my hardest to see to as a negative, but if it was worded differently it could definitely be an endorsement.
A friend read this and said that the reviewer basically told everyone they couldn't put the book down. That's definitely a positive in my book (pun intended).
"If this book was a movie, it would be rated at least R, for sexuality, language, and graphic violence. All of that was totally gratuitous. The author had a genuinely good idea for a story, but he could have pulled it off without the crude details and foul language. I really shouldn't have kept reading once I realized what this was, but some of the characters were truly likeable, and I wanted to see what would happen to them. (Unfortunately, the ending wasn't really an ending and didn't satisfy in the least.) If you are at all sensitive to graphic sex, gore, violence, or profanity, don't read this. You'll regret it like I do. I'm only giving it two stars because the characters were all unique and well developed."
My favorites are the "This part was great, but..." types, like this one.
"If you like stories about robots or ever had fantasies about a sex slave you may enjoy this story. Was written pretty well, but lots of foul language and perverted imagery. Interesting "what if" syfy story. I got it free so can't complain, but glad I didn't shell out 2-3 bucks for it."
Here's a couple for "The Death of Death":
Here's the title of one review. It's still one of my favorite negative reviews, mostly because of the title.
"Death of good grammar"
It took the title of my book and turned it on its head, using it to insult it. I thought it was inventive.
Here's a 1 star review that didn't like any aspect of my story, from a poorly structured story, to too many run-on sentences.
"There are too many conflicting statements made in regard to character and scene development. I understand the age group this book was written for is young but the structure of the story makes no sense for any age group. Entirely too many descriptives used. Way too many run on sentences. I wanted to erase this story from my library after the first paragraph but the ONLY reason I continued was to find out if the writing got any better. Unfortunately it did not. The idea for the story was good but it was poorly written and the author got off topic in a lot of areas. The scenes and descriptions of all aspects were poorly set up. Once the twist is revealed the rest of the story makes no sense and honestly half of the story could have been left out altogether. Don't waste your time reading this unless you feel like losing a lot of brain cells."
I love that ending jab. Not entirely original, but this has always been a great put down in my opinion.
This person said it read like a "high school English paper." Hey, some high school English papers are really good.
At least they liked the cover. That's a win for me.
"I just couldn't get into this book. The writing was very unpolished. It was like reading a high school English paper. I couldn't even make it past the first chapter. The characters didn't speak in unique voices. The author used the same tone and vernacular for a 12 year old that she used for a timeless death guide. It was just too unprofessional and uninteresting. I love the cover, but the concept flopped for me."
This will entirely sound like bragging, but I think I can laugh at these because I have many others that are positive. I wonder if I'd be laughing if my bad reviews outweighed my good ones. That day will come, though, and I have to prepare myself for it. This is good training for the inevitable.
Amazon Link: The Deceased Miss Blackwell and her Not-So-Imaginary Friends Presale
Amazon UK link: The Deceased Miss Blackwell and her Not-So-Imaginary Friends UK
Also still on sale in digital, paperback and audio book forms
The Death of Death (Perma-Free)