From the Vault: My “Favorite” Bad Review

illustration-friday-proverb-worst-book-ever-comic-holly-main-2010It’s inevitable.

At some point as a writer, you’re going to receive the dreaded Bad Review. I’ve gotten my share over the years but the one that stands out the most in my mind was posted on by a fellow named John Mondrian. He later removed the review from Amazon but it’s still up at Goodreads. The reason I remember it so clearly was how over-the-top some of the comments were.The review was for a novella I wrote for Wild Cat Books’ Pulse Pounders line, which were short tales priced at $4.95 or so.

The title of this book was Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island and it featured a female pirate in pursuit of her lost father and a fabled treasure. Along the way, there were ghosts, betrayals, and a giant ape. Fluffy fun at a low price.

Or so I hoped.

My favorite quotes from John’s lengthy review:

“…one of the most amateurishly written books I have ever read.”

“The author shows less knowledge of pirate life and seamanship than he would have gained by watching a season of THE PIRATES OF DARKWATER… ”

“This is pirate fiction at its most stereotypical, uninteresting, not well written, and not well thought out. It’s not even good pirate pulp fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not holding this book to a high literary standard. It’s just bad even for a simple little pirate story.”


“I hate movie novelizations but I’m sure the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN books are a thousand times better than this.”

The Pirates of Darkwater thing made me laugh out loud. That’s classic!

So — how did I react to the review? Well, of course, for the first few moments, I was a bit sad! 🙂

But I took to heart a few of the criticisms and the rest I had to laugh at — I showed it to quite a few of my friends, in fact. You can’t let haters get you down. Quality is very subjective and some people love things that others hate. Art Sippo, for instance, loved the book — and as the author of the excellent Sun Koh stuff, I respect his opinion. John paid for the book and has the right to express his views on whether or not it was worth his money — I respect that.

You’ve got to have a thick skin to be an artist of any type — because not everyone is going to love what you produce.

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