My first novel, Yin Yang Tattoo was published a couple of months ago in the U.K., and I am quickly learning how impossible it is to get any reviews published anywhere in the mainstream media.

Of course, a part of me worries about the inevitable critical reviews that I will surely face, but so far so good. One (very brief) review from the Scottish Review of Books is even extremely gratifying.

Do any of you here have entertaining and/or enlightening tales of reviews good or bad or indifferent?


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The reviews have dried up. This is partly due to the cut backs in the newspaper industry. Book Review pages are the first to be cut. The remaining reviewers pick and choose carefully, sometimes on instructions from their editors. It means that bestsellers get more space, because readers are supposed to be more interested in them. Also new authors have a better chance at a review than familiar ones.

I've been very lucky in my reviews. No bad memories at all. Even Kirkus has been fairly moderate. :)
I've also been very lucky with print reviews--my first got a lot of critical attention, the second did pretty well, too. The amateur, online reviewers have turned out be more of a mixed bag; when there's no expectation of objectivity and no pretense, even, of even a minimally consistent critical standard, all bets are off.
My only print review thus far has been through RT Book Reviews. They gave my first one 4 stars, so I can't complain there. The rest have all been online. The vast majority have been very good. Only one really off one--when I read it, I got the distinct impression the reviewer had only skimmed, and had gotten a lot of the details wrong.
Speaking of online reviewers, what annoys me no end are the bastards who give a book one star and say I got the historical details wrong. No examples. Just a flat accusation that I don't know anything about the period.
Since I'm extremely careful about my research, this means that the reader in question doesn't know the first thing about the subject, and just felt like being nasty. And there's no recourse.
sure there is, I.J. -- log on and flame the bastard.
Unfortunately, that falls into the category of "Authors Behaving Badly", and readers see it as thin-skinned and unprofessional. They take it into consideration when they decide if they're going to buy your books.
My first book, Buffalo Jump, got rave reviews pretty much everywhere, except the Toronto Star, Canada's largest paper, which ignored it, despite a fair amount of lobbying from my publicist. So when book two, High Chicago, came out, we lobbied hard again. It took months but finally the crime books columnist reviewed it. And didn't like it much. The best line I could find in it was "Shrier is more than not bad...", whatever that means.

So I guess you have to be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it...
Oh, that's a good story. You can't please everybody.


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