Time Frame on next book

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    The most common complaint of net fiction writers (both fan and otherwise) is that they get zero feedback, good or bad from their work.

    It’s like typing into a void….

    However, I am sure there are sites where there is a very interactive community and various haters. haters are more likely to speak up than people who like the work.


    [quote]many just want you to give negative feedback[/quote]

    Meaning if you try to tell them “I liked this” or similar they don’t want to hear it?

    Or are they saying they really want an editor? And lots of fan fic needs lots of editing…

    Yeah, I don’t know what the people who say the want feed back really want, and I think this is a common unknown that causes a lot of people not to feed back.

    In some ways, this is one nice thing about GoodReads, for book books, readers can either do a review or just give a star rating, and if you are on a kindle, if you finish the book it asks you right away to rate it with stars.

    That provides some feedback…of course it’s very painful if everyone gives you ones with no reason or explanation. But if you have a range of values you at least get the validation that someone read it and had an opinion on it.


    Where did that quote came from.

    Goodreads, yes, more refined ways of giving feedback… but also for very harsh criticism. I have so much fun reading negative reviews there. There are many who are really serious in making reviews. The negative critism specially can be very entertaining.


    OK, that is very weird, it was a quote to what I was replying to, it was in the previous message, and I was quoting because I was trying to clarify what it meant.
    but it’s not there anymore.

    The writer must have deleted it….although I thought I could see deleted posts…although that might stop after a while, e.g. during a nightly cleanup or something. Very weird.


    GoodReads Negative….

    Yes, very entertaining unless you are the author being stomped on. And yes, some works really deserve (at least internal/private) derision but…there is another person on the other side.

    However, I think better to get stomped at GoodReads than Amazon, which has a wider/larger effect on sales.

    And I think you get more open reviews at GoodReads because people feel that it is more removed/independent from the author, thus more impersonal.

    As readers, I think many readers (I know me) assume that the author is some distant figure who will never see the review. Because traditionally, they wouldn’t have and because they generally never respond.

    So this leads to the well known Internet Anonymity Say Anything You Would Never Say To Their Face syndrome. Well known to troll chasers of almost any site.

    In the Fandom universe in which I grew up, authors were not people, they were essentially these divine entities that would deign to provide us entertainment and amusement while filling us with new insights and sharing their wisdom and vision, gracing us with new ideas and new ways of thinking and looking at the universe.

    They were far removed from us mortals.

    And it was very hard to communicate with them, you had to go through the “Priests” (publishing house) and hope your snail mail got to them, and then, because snail mail is a pain, probably almost never heard back.

    Further we’ve been trained by popular culture that such creatives (authors, musicians, artists) are immune to the criticism of lesser mortals, they are all “Artists” and “auteurs”

    There is thus an assumption, that authors never read reviews and never see these really nasty things.

    And today that’s only true if they are dead, or very very old school.

    On GoodReads, if an author’s page or reference to that author says “GoodReads Author” you can be sure that the author owns that page and is reading it and will see any and all reviews and criticism. It’s not something setup by the publisher. The author is there, they are reading.

    They most likely won’t respond though. It is very well known in the author community that you NEVER respond to negative reviews, because you end up getting petty and it really looks bad and you just end up ticking off a wider audience, nothing good ever comes from it.

    And you don’t respond to good reviews, because if you respond to one good review, but not another, the person you didn’t respond to may feel slighted.
    And while that may not be your intention, for many authors it’s unavoidable because you don’t see the review right away, or if you are big, there are just too many to respond to and you never get writing done on the next book….

    But my point is, and I find this true for all sites with author/artist feedback (e.g. deviantart.com) you have to remember that there is another person on the other side. So constructive, helpful feedback is what they want (like what you give, Rosver–that’s great stuff) but outright trashing or “this sucks” can actually be hurtful.

    So my policy as a reviewer is to never say anything that I wouldn’t say to the person if they were sitting across the table from me. If I don’t want to get punched in the face, I won’t type it on the feedback.


    As a Goodreads user (well, I haven’t use it for sometime now) and giving lot of negative reviews myself, I quite sorry for that kind of experience.

    Though to balance:

    These negative reviews is often a small number among the flood glowing reviews that only contains empthy praises. Though these negative reviews might be scathing, there are actually very few who have the courage or the dedication of writing such things. Most, as I often do, just not give a review when they find the book not to their liking.

    Another point here is that these reviews is often for the other readers and not to the author. What you often see in the reviews are not about the reviewer talking to the author (which would have been more civil and boring) but a reader chatting to other readers. So, often, it would contain conversation that is typical of gossips.

    The assumption that authors don’t read the reviews is not quite right. The more correct assumption that reviewers has is that the authors will not respond to you. That is what I assume when I write reviews, both positive and negative, on goodreads. Since this is the case, reviewers, like me, don’t want to write to the authors, who wont respond anyway; and instead write for other readers who do respond.

    This assumption of no response is quite true, it seems, as you had pointed out. Author’s don’t respond to negative reviews, they also don’t respond to positive reviews. Essentially reviewers who write to the authors is writing into vacuum. That is quite discouraging. Writing with the author in mind is always received with silence; as the authors will never respond to it and other readers is unlikely to be aroused to respond to it. The reviewers then will often be forced to abandon being considerate to authors to be able to connect more with other readers. As you can see, this is quite effective, be it negative or positive, you’ll get more response if you write to other readers than to the authors.

    If you really want to avoid a punch in the face when giving negative review, the only good way for that is to be impersonal and technical. I tried to do that with my negative reviews (which is plenty), but it is so boring to write in such manner and is not what readers are in this site for. After a few times of writing this way, I give give up. I had started writen in more unrestrained manner now and actually do give a “this suck” review at times, since that is actually what I feel.

    Then there are those times when the reading material rubs you the wrong way, in that case, being considerate to author is the last thing in the reader’s mind. A heartfelt F**K Y** is actualy what such a person would actually say in the face.

    Those rather inconsiderate reviews is not because readers think that authors are distant figures that will never see the reviews. Its because these readers (I’ve been guilty of this) don’t actually care. These people don’t write these reviews for the authors but to other readers. They did not like the book and writing to the authors is ultimately unsatisfying, so why would they write the reviews with the author’s in mind? These reviews are not a critisms for the author’s benefit but an almost personal talk to other readers, be it positive or negative.


    You have good points, but what I am saying is that there is a difference between an objective bad review and one that is just mean, spiteful and insulting.

    And I am NOT saying that you are not saying this as well. I’m just expanding my point.

    Objective critical reviews are exactly what authors want. They are more useful than all the gushing reviews in the world.

    It’s called “Constructive Criticism” not “Bashing”

    And that’s the difference. And it’s a big difference. You don’t have to like a book to review it, and certainly point out what you feel are shortcomings, faults and failings. Just don’t start calling the author a dumbass or an idiot, or saying things that are outright insulting.

    It’s much like political discourse today. Everyone feels they have to shout, scream and insult in order to get their point across. Goodreads should be a collegial environment that is a safe place to discuss books and literature for both readers and authors. It should not be the battlefield for a flame war.

    And to be honest, they will ban people that are too mean, so they have to come back later.

    Now, to be fair, if the author is writing some nasty polemic of hateful trash, then they deserve what they get. But if it’s a sincere effort to provide entertainment to others, then there’s no reason to be mean. Just give clear objections and warnings to the other users so that they can decide whether or not to read.

    Also if it’s crass commercialism designed to grab a buck and cheat people, then OK, but just be confident that is really the case and it’s not just that the author is incompetent.

    –On to author interaction.

    Reviews are not the place for author interaction. They are reviews intended to help other readers find something interesting to read/and or an opportunity to provide constructive feedback to the author.

    Goodreads has “Ask the author”, Amazon has author discussion forums, these are the best place to interact with authors. I think you will find that most independent authors use these tools because they are very interested in having a relationship with their users. Since they don’t have a marketing and PR team, nor the budget or resources to setup book signings all over the country, these user interaction sites are their best tool.

    Big authors, say like GRRM, have the problem that they can’t respond to every fan request/question, just because there are so many. I’m not saying this is an excuse for no interaction, but if we ever want them to finish the stupid next book (And again I mean GRRM!!!!), they can’t respond to everyone, they sort of have to read and do more broad form response.

    Now for me, none of those were enough. I’m a fanboy. I want a way to interact with readers the way I want to interact with authors…so I have this thing plus facebook, tumblr (not used much), Amazon Forums and Goodreads that I monitor and respond to as much as I can.

    Unfortunately not all authors are as wired as I am, but that is changing and will change with newer generations of authors that are more plugged in and technical. So they do the best they can.



    I think T-A-G you are forgetting one thing in your generous all interacting all benevolent rant…

    Most authors don’t have a demon slave that they can force to maintain their stupid websites and field questions from people.


    Note that I am a parttime adventure designer for various RPGs (having written, developed and edited a lot of Organized Play adventures), so my opinion might be biased even as a reader. But how is “the characters are stupid” and similar comments really helpful to the reader?

    I mean, what I consider stupid might be exactly what somebody else is looking for. You would expect to include an example or two on what makes the character stupid for the reviewer so that we can at least get an idea wether we need to stay away from the book or not. The same is true for many other aspects of a story. I think most reviewers simply lack the energy and drive to give the review the attention it might deserve. I know I am certainly guilty of it, that is, if I even get myself to write a review. So I probably should not complain too loudly, kettle and pot and all that 😉

    As for EA and other big business stuff, don’t go bashing the actual authors too quickly. I don’t know the details for Dragon Age 2 and ME3 beyond the basic complaints, having played both games extensively and discussed the flaws with my friends extensively, but not having paid much attention to official press releases and the like. I do know that for some other things, the reaction to complaints (or even the cause of the complaints) has nothing to do with the author and everything with the company. In those cases authors are not going to react, because they want to keep getting that pay check and stay out of court for breaking NDAs and the like 😉


    As you are all pointing out, there are lines and gradations in all of this.

    I don’t mind attacks against characters or plots. It’s more the personal attacks that I think are inappropriate. I haven’t really gotten that many if any, I’ve just seen others attacked.

    Actually two of my favorite ‘negative’ reviews are from amazon.uk for DoA: ITA

    [url=http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B00JCJ9X3A/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1]A-UK Reviews[/url]

    The first two from Carl and Julie a couple days apart.

    Both readers absolutely hated Rupert and want him dead.

    I have no idea solid reason why–there are arguments but I have trouble agreeing with them–but I find it great they have so much passion that they want a character that I felt was pretty sympathetic killed.

    So yes, negative review…but I really loved the reviews, because they were very personal, yet pretty objective for those readers and very specific about what they liked and didn’t like.

    Overall I think a lot of it is tone. These two came off as very earnest and sincere to me.

    But on the for the reader thing: The more precised and detailed a review is, i.e. more constructive like, the more it informs other readers. Don’t just say the whole thing was yuck. Tell us more specifically, was it pacing? character development? If the reviewer has other reviews, then the new reader can check those out and see how the reviewers taste matches their own.

    As Modfoxii says, what one person hates, another might like so I think the better one explains ones criticism, for example with examples, the more useful it is to the other readers and the writer.



    That is a good point. They really need spoiler tags that can [SPOILER]hide the spoiler.[/SPOILER]

    Actually, one really needs qualified spoilers, sort of like they do for TV Ratings with the extra letters for what is being spoiled.

    It is actually the same with movie reviews, at least for the more in depth ones. You can do it with a blurb, but a detailed review is going to have some spoilers.



    I do it with comparison to another set. That is it is more helpful than the one writen for the author’s benefit. Of course it should be followed by details. The plain speak is something many readers can understand so “the characters are stupid” and its variation is far more helpful to readers than jargon filled “constructive criticism” most writers wanted. For most cases, potential readers actually is looking for opinions of the book. If it is a negative review then the reviewer saying that he hate certain character is enough. Further details is good if it is writen in entertaining way. Since constructive critism is rarely entertaining, writing such review would result into a TL;DR reaction from them. I know because it keep happening to me.

    So a “the characters are stupid” will actually gain more weight to the readers than a bullet list of reason as to why the characters are stupid because it is more direct, colorful and emotional. The long constructive one is TL;DR, in most cases.

    For that purpose, my examples is good enough.

    Of course there are reviewers who are able to list down the faults or complaints without being a bore, reducing the TL;DR beaviour from other readers, but that require a great amount of writing skill and you can’t really expect readers to be that adept.

    Also trying to illustrate that would make my post too long. It is too long already. I don’t want to post several paragraphs worth of someone’s review to make the point that is not what I’m essentially talking about.

    And… Oh come one Madfox! Please read what I’m writing carefully.

    I give the EA games as an example of fanatics outrage. That the worst form of hatred could come from the fans. Want bashing? Spiteful comments? Very, very unconstructive critism? Even death threats. Enrage the fans.

    I don’t put it there to talk about the authors or the company. I was talking about the fans. I made it clear in the end of the pharagraph:

    “Hatred from the fans might actually be more scathing than from the casual readers.”

    And stating that the authors has nothing to do with the complaints is disingenuous. They are the one who write the story which is an essential part of an RPG and many of the complaints is about the story.

    And the story of ME3? Horrible! Characters acting out of character. Plot holes to sink the Titanic. Extremely horrid use of Deus Ex Machina and a terrible ending. Way to end a trilogy. I actually think they had killed the franchise because of that ending.

    Also is that what authors in the game industry really is like? Nasty.

    @The Author Guy

    Well, to tell the truth, I kinda agree about their reviews though I think to put way to little stars.

    About Rupert. While I like his relationship with Tom, one thing I don’t like about him is that he is so exasperating. While I kinda like him when first introduced, he slowly show very annoying traits like his disrespect towards Jenn and his rather, unappealing dialogue. And such behaviour as when he run off from Tom’s cave and when he fly in the night into enemy’s teritory. He not actually irritating enough for me to hate him but I sort of symphatetic to their dislike of him.

    About Rupert dragging down Tom. Most of the time it was Rupert who move the story along. Jenn’s rescue, attack on the ship, fight with Talarius. It is Rupert who make things go. He is essentially a Plot Device.

    You are also a bit heavy handed on the drama in the ship with Tom and Rupert. I actually skip most of that part everytime I reread the book.

    I also quite agree about Tom being passive. It was Rupert who make the plan to save Jenn. He is also just following other members (Jenn and Gastrope) around. He innitially did nothing in the ship when they are attacked. And he is essentially just loitering in Freehold. The reviewers seem to pin it down to Rupert.

    And I also do find Talarius constant moaning about Melissance a tad annoying. While I can see that he was pained, I just can’t sympathize. We really know nothing about Melissance and we also doesn’t know Talarius very much. We don’t know their relationship and don’t know why it would pain him that much. As such, everytime Talarius mentions Melissance I just get annoyed. I only find him as an annoying whiner, crying for no apparent reason.

    This though isn’t really a big enough problem for me to give such low scores.

    As for longer constructive reviews, this is not really what would happen. Very few people could actually write a long detailed review successfully. I point out some reasons:

    >Such things requires a lot of time and very few has that time to spare. A very detailed review could easily take an hour or more to write. When readers just wants to say their displeasure and doesn’t want to spend too much time, direct, short “the characters are stupid” kind of reviews is what they could come up with.

    >It also requires lots of patience and dedications. To do such reveiws you actually hand to refer to the orinal literature a lot. Finding appropriate passages, recalling things you don’t like, pointing out plot holes, studying the structure, etc. That is not something many casual readers would do. This is especially difficult when you use mobile devices. As such reviewers would just give “the characters are stupid” review without backing it up because it is to tedious to do so.

    >And the most important one, it requires a great deal of writing skill. Even if they have time, patience and dedication, its is very rare that they would actually be able to write it properly. For a review to be useful to other readers they must be able to read it. More often that not, people who write long reviews writes reviews that are: confusing, garbled, TL;DR, boring, awkward, unclear or hard to read. Those reviews are actually even less helpful.

    And now my hand hurts for writing all of these. Hope your satisfied.

    Did any TL;DRed?


    Yes, this sort of thing is a problem. It is very difficult to be specific and detailed about your complaints becuase you had to put a spoiler in your review and I also hate spoilers. As such I rather avoid reviews that has the SPOILER warning on it.


    OK, I am missing one main thing


    What is that?

    Great points on the characters.

    Yes, Tom is passive and that’s somewhat on purpose. He’s completely out of his element, trying to adjust and crazy people just keep making assumptions about him based on his appearance and perceived power and acting on those incorrect assumptions. Tom is a reader, he’s not used to being an actor, and he’s 16 (almost 17) most teens in real life are rather passive, unless they are rebelling against something. As he gets his legs under him, gets his confidence he will grow to be more active, remember DoA is actually one very long book, broken up into three (or more) parts. To see character evolution, the “coming of age” you have to follow the whole narrative arc. If it’s a coming of age story and the character “comes of age” in the first third of the book, what happens in the last two thirds?

    I point out, here, but this starts showing up in the book, Tom has a number misconceptions about how things really work in Astlan. His idealism and “can’t we just get along; good guys don’t cheat” needs some tempering, it’s a process of growing up to face reality.

    Rupert does drive a lot of stuff, he’s the one that has emotional connections to Jenn and the world, he’s got the earnestness and drive of a preteen. Rupert is even more idealistic than Tom, but he’s also been subject to a lot more cruelty and hardship. Those two factors are what drive him forward now that he feels he has Tom and Tizzy to back him.

    As far as disobeying/disrespecting Jenn etc. Have you met a 10 to 12 year old recently? That’s what they sort of do. They can be brats.

    Of course thinking more on this passivity issue, the one thing I really hate about the modern teen female protagonist (e.g. Twig Light, etc) all the female characters seem to do is stand around and react to the actions of the male characters. Hate that. And of course, as you point out, that’s what Tom’s doing.




    TL;DR = Too Long; didn’t read. A term that is used others to denote that the post is too lengthly to bother reading. Similar to to Wall of Text.

    I kinda understand that Tom is out of his element but there are instances that I would have liked him to be more active. For example I would like him to contribute more in the plan of saving Jenn and for him to fight back more sooner in the ship. He for now appears to be constantly dragged along by circumstances and other people. He did become more proactive in the end like when he studied magic but that might be a little too late for some… it seems.

    I don’t mind his idealism because it add depth to the conflict, but it doesn’t seem that that is the cause as to why Tom is so laid back. For most circumstances, he appears too much like a deer caught in the headlights. A valid reason, but not satisfying.

    As for Rupert, that maybe, but that still detracts alot from Tom whom I think many readers would be rooting for.

    Also, it maybe true that kids nowdays are brats but these here aren’t modern children. Child rearing in early times is very different from child rearing now. Spare the rod spoil the child is an adage people follow, they literaly uses rods. Also, even in literature in modern setting, such characters aren’t well liked.

    I can’t say if it needs to be changed because I still liked the book even with such ‘flaws’ that others deemed a deal breaker. This is still up to you.


    It won’t change in second edition because I want to keep the story the same, just clean up the errors and tighten the text, no rewriting of history.

    One thing to keep in mind though on the proactive rescue of Jenn. Tom doesn’t/didn’t at that time particularly like Jenn. She was in the summoning circle and is directly responsible for killing his body and trapping him in the Abyss. And she was treating him with a lot of hostility. I have to put my Tom hat on and ask “Why should I be expected to go out and risk my butt for this woman who is responsible for screwing up my life?”

    His goal was to get Rupert to safety, to take care of the one person not afraid of him. Everything else was a distraction to his drudgery. He also had no real interest in the squabbles of his accursed master and another accursed master who were pitting demons vs demons. However, he stuck around to get Rupert to safety and because it was more interesting that sitting in a cave.

    The argument I would make is that, for most of book 1, he has no ‘stake’ in the game, other than this kid that he likes.

    On the boat, he hung back because he was on the edge of popping into demon form at any minute, shape changing was new, and he was afraid of popping back to demon form and freaking everyone out.

    But I think one thing I am trying to do is paint a different version of good guys vs bad guys. Not all heroes are perfect, not all villains are dastardly. Sometimes the protagonist doesn’t do what the reader wants them to do, or what’s in the best interest of the story. All characters should do what makes the most sense for them, not necessarily a story archetype.

    In fantasy, we have too many perfect heroes and too many perfect anti-heroes (bad boy protagonists) but in real life, heroics and anti-heroics are often complex and situational. So I was going for something like that…but I may not have (or had 20+ years ago) the writing skill to achieve what I want technically.

    Anyway this will eventually change..but I have to admit, for the first part of book ii, Tom will be up to his old “non”-tricks and relies pretty heavily on his ‘crew’ for what to do…but that will change…eventually…

    Anyway, it’s very good food for thought and stuff to work on. Thanks!

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