Critics making suggestions in what changes are needed in your book

Got one of my books on Authonomy. com being looked at. It's a historical detective novel about an art thief. It's a detective with lots of action and a fair amount of World War One histroy thrown in. Here's the problem; it's the three thousand or so readers in the site who have the potential of reading the book and voting for it up or down. And many make suggestions on how to improve it. But for every ten people who say they love this or that inclusion of fact . . . or writing style . . . or description . . . there are five who say they absolutely hate the very same thing.

And I've come to the conclusion there are lots of readers in there who love to read. But there are quite a few in there who prefer to . . . what I call . . . nitpick. "This comma shouldn't be there," or "Change 'that' to 'which'. "

So who do you believe?

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OMG! Graphic sex in a mystery!!!?!??!111!? OMG!
"This is why I'm loath to post anything unpublished on a public forum. "

Agree. You only have one chance to make a good impression. Get feedback in PRIVATE.
What the commenters are doing at that particular site is trying to stay on your good side so that you might reciprocally read and back their own book while at the same time appearing to be useful (by nitpicking). Prepare for more of the same.
Write a good book. Find an agent, or pitch it yourself to publishers who accept unagented submissions. There. That's the secret formula revealed.
I'm afriad it doesn't always work that way, Jude. Hundreds of really good writers try that route. They have the persistance, talent, all the requirements. Less than five percent are ever picked.
So you think getting published is like winning some sort of lottery? I'm not buying it. There might be SOME luck involved, but I'm of the firm belief that the best books find a home.
Agreed, Jude. To quote Billy Wilder (and I.A.L. Diamond): "If you've got what it takes, sooner or later someone will take what you got."
Exactly, Eric.
I think there's a LOT of luck involved--I certainly never took it as a given that my first novel would find a decent publisher. My stuff isn't a direct fit for the genre, exactly, so both agent and editor had to make a bit of a leap of faith.
To each his own, Jude. To each his own.
All you have to do is look at the history of publishing. How many times did Gone with the Wind fail to find a publisher? Or Stephen King's Carrie. Or any number of what we would now call 'classics' for that particular genre. Whenever there is an endeavor where multiple personalities have to make a choice on an issue, the chances run very high something good will not be chosen.
If you don't want to call it luck, then you might want to say what's needed is timing. Like Jon, my books really don't fit any formula (there are cops in my books, but they rarely solve any crimes, and there's no main character that's the same in every book) so I never expected to sell any. After all the big publishers passed, a small Canadian publisher took a chance and that was lucky (sorry, fortuitious timing) enough) but then I got picked up by Harcourt. The reason I think it was the timing is because a few months later Harcourt merged with Houghton Miflin, my editor got laid off and I got dropped. So it wasn't exactly the cream rising to the top, it was one editor who for a brief moment had the authority to buy a few books.

Still, it's true, all you can do is write the best book you can. You write the book you really, really want to read and can't find in any bookstore. Then you just keep sending it out.

And personally, I think a few really steamy sex scenes are a great idea.


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