My OWN Review

I write a lot of books. I tell a good story. And I share these stories with the world for the smallest price Amazon will allow me to charge: a dollar.

Like any woman in the world who knows what she wants, I know how I like my heroes and I write them that way. Women who read my books love that about them. But I’ve been getting a lot of reviews lately from men who aren’t happy about it at all.

As a romance author, I’ve raised the bar on what women should expect from a guy. And that means trouble for all of the computer-programming, cheese-smelling, anti-social basement dwellers out there. It’s bad news for the antler-collecting, shit-kicking, tobacco-swilling, homophobic bigots. And it’s dating death for the pink polo-wearing, Bible-thumping, daddy’s Lexus-driving prep school pre-meds who find a way to actually insert “pre-med” into every sentence they speak.

Women know what they want. And every spiteful, hateful review of a romantic book posted by a bitter, over-sexed, petulant wanker of a boy just proves it a little more.

But don’t blame me. Try taking a shower instead.

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9 Responses to My OWN Review

  1. Bruce O says:

    Like many romances, your stories show a man putting his women at the centre of his world, and that appeals because being ignored or taken for granted is horrible and all too common.

  2. Eris says:

    I agree with all of the above. Men have their fantasies and some of the time that fantasy revolves around a woman with boobs bigger than her IQ. Now that women’s fantasies are coming out it is irritating to them that guess what… Most of them don’t fit into our fantasies any more than we fit into theirs.

    When people are upset by this I think it’s a very strong indication that they suffer from very low self-esteem.

    No individual fits every person’s idea of a fantasy but we each all fit well enough into someone’s idea of what is desirable. That’s reality and that should be enough for anyone.

  3. Mary says:

    I haven’t noticed the male thing – the vast majority of comments I have read are by women. But male or female, what really annoys me are the slasher headlines some of them use, which can really hurt a book. Or those who have a history of giving 4 or 5 star books one star. Someone did that with Hell Bent – it was the only one star for the 5 star book. That guy who one starred Sam also gave the very first review on a new book and he gave it 1 star. I don’t know what the book is like, but I still think giving someone 1 star for their very first review on a book sucks. You don’t have to review.

    When I see a spiteful review, I make sure to click the “not helpful” button so they have some overall negative record. Also, I left a comment for that last guy – “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah” And I unchecked “notify me when someone responds to comment,” otherwise blowhards like that guy will drive you crazy. Don’t know if Amazon will keep it, but it is there for a day or two. I have also typed “You bore me.” I believe in the reviews process but it isn’t a platform for egomaniacs and whenever possible, when someone is really misusing it, I like to let them know or in the very least knock their percentage down. I would not do that to a reflective review, even if I disagreed with it. Just the abusive control freak blowhards.

  4. Elayne Blue says:

    Loved everything you said. So true.

  5. HRKW says:

    Read the latest reviews of The Game – all boys.

  6. Eris says:

    I saw the “blah blah blah” comment and the “I’m bored one”. They’re still there. 🙂

    My comment was directly aimed at men like the one who criticized Sam I Am.

    I have other sites I debate on from time to time and believe me there are a lot of “him” out there. Sometimes I am literally blown away, not just by the sexism I still in men, but the sometimes outright hate I see coming out in their posts directed at women – especially against modern women. I’ve even seen some blame little girls for being dragged into the sexual slavery. It’s disturbing.

    I have a couple of different theories about the negative posts by women but that’s because they seem to fall into two categories. Some are just serial bashers and some are expecting puff pieces. Not all of us enjoy the saccharine sweetness of mainstream romance. Some of us like it a little rough. I think that bothers them a bit. 😉

  7. pilar says:

    you said it girl…. women know what they want……..and i guess men need to start wearing hearing aids??????????

  8. Tom says:

    Disclosure: I’m male, 27, and enjoy reading (amongst other things) science fiction. While I’m not a computer programmer, nor particularly anti-social (I’m a musician, but consider myself no more anti-social than anyone else who occasionally likes to read a good book), and while I don’t tend to smell of cheese (owing to a fairly ordinary personal hygiene routine), I probably fall more into that first category more than either “the antler-collecting, shit-kicking, tobacco-swilling, homophobic bigots” or “the pink polo-wearing, Bible-thumping, daddy’s Lexus-driving prep school pre-meds”. I live in the UK, I’m definitely not what Americans would consider a “jock”, and the latter category is more or less the opposite of who I am. I am half way through reading the first Heather Killough-Walden book I have encountered, The Game, and I intend to write a review once I’ve finished.

    Ok. There’s that bit out of the way. Now then, I just want to add (before I get to the point) that I don’t intend for any of this to sound snarky or arrogant – I’m going for as neutral a tone as possible because I’m conscious this particular discussion (and the direction I’m taking it in) might easily erupt into all kinds of acrimony and abuse, and that’s not why I’m posting here. I have no interest in an internet fight, least of all on an obviously hardworking author’s blog. I thought long and hard before deciding to make this comment, and in the end felt that it was worth making. I’m not writing it to upset anyone, and while it might go down badly and lead to all kinds of assumptions being made about who I am (hence the disclosure – would-be character-assassins at least have some background to work on), I’m just trying to have a little bit of open debate, and hopefully anyone reading this will take it in the spirit that it’s written. Also, sorry for rambling on. Feel free to bemoan my lack of brevity.

    Now, as I’ve said, I’m reading The Game at the moment. I’d just finished a book on my kindle (a christmas present which has in the last three months seen me read more than I did in the last three years – for shame!) and needed to download something new quickly (I’m a commuter, and the kindle finally means I’m not reading the free trash magazines they give out on the tube in London). Presumably because I’ve read several sci-fi titles (and, no doubt, because of the mass of good reviews and number of downloads of the title), Amazon recommended The Game. I read the synopsis, which didn’t sound exactly to my taste, but was intriguing enough. Then I had a look at the eight reviews, which averaged out at a healthy four stars. I scanned through the 5 star reviews, and then went straight to the worst review. This is something I do with any book (or film, or piece of music) that has been recommended to me by a computer, rather than a person whose opinion I trust, and here’s why: if someone doesn’t like something, they usually explain why they don’t like it, and if the things they don’t like about it are the kinds of things that would bother me, that will either stop me from buying it altogether, or lead me to buy it out of intrigue, but with lowered expectations.

    The two three-star reviews for The Game, besides the vague spoilers, seemed fairly encouraging. Both reviewers identified things they didn’t like, but remained quite balanced in their appraisal, suggesting that the book might have its flaws, but still had a lot to recommend it. This whole process of deciding whether to purchase the title took maybe two to three minutes, and – noting both the very reasonable price of the book and the fact that I’d be making myself late for work if I dithered much longer (my kindle’s the wifi only one, hence the rush) – I decided to go ahead, and downloaded the book there and then.

    As I’ve said, I haven’t finished the book yet, and so haven’t posted a review. I do intend to post one, and (while I’m open to changing my opinion) I don’t think it’s going to be a thoroughly positive one. I won’t go into the details of my misgivings here, because it’s not fair to spout opinions of things you haven’t yet fully absorbed. Besides, I’m not commenting here to review the book, only to make a simple point – bad reviews can be good for an author. If people read a bad review of your book, and still buy it, it’s safe to say one of the following is true:
    a) they think the reviewer is an idiot
    b) they love the author and don’t care what anyone else says
    c) they appreciate the points the reviewer made, but don’t think they’d be bothered by them.
    d) they appreciate the points the reviewer made, think it’s possible they might be bothered by the same things, but want to find out for themselves.

    I’m sure all authors would want all of their readers (indeed, the whole reading world) to fall into category b, but that’s not very likely. There’s a lot to be said for getting people in categories c and d. I’ve read a lot of books based on bad reviews, and loved them. Equally, I’ve read a lot of books based on bad reviews and wholeheartedly agreed with the bad review, but because it already existed – because I went into the book knowing what to expect – I felt no need to write a bad review of my own.

    I’m not in the habit of writing intentionally nasty or aggressive reviews (to be honest, I don’t review on Amazon all that frequently; usually only when I feel my opinion isn’t being adequately reflected by the extant reviews – it’s not about ego for me, just balanced viewpoints), but if the internet teaches us anything, it’s that aggressive, negative, destructive tendencies get amplified massively by perceived anonymity. You can never escape the morons who will write abusive and/or cruel gibberish, but I daresay a few less of them would be driven to buy/read/post vitriol if they had first read a review that married up to their own opinions to some extent. So are bad reviews all exclusively – er… – bad? Can’t they be of benefit to the author sometimes? I don’t know. It’s difficult when you’re trying to earn a living out of something creative, the tendency is towards wanting to scrape in every purchase you can – this isn’t a dig at HWK, more an observation from my own experiences selling (trying to, anyway) my music online – but wouldn’t it be better to feel assured that everyone (or nearly) who paid for your artistic output enjoyed it, or at the very least, wasn’t driven to spouting bile on a public website? Maybe, maybe not – it’s an individual call I guess.

    Lastly, sorry for posting on an old(ish) entry. I was browsing round trying to find out a bit more about HWK and it got me thinking… Are we (men) all that bad?

  9. HRKW says:

    Hi Tom,
    Because you obviously took some real time to sort out and post up your feelings, I wanted to respond to your submission. I truly appreciate it.

    I have to whole heartedly agree with you on the mean-spirited reviews. Before I became a self publisher, I posted honestly but fairly. Meaning, I sometimes posted reviews with fewer than five stars, but I never made direct attacks on a seller’s or creator’s character and was never cruel. However, since becoming a self publisher, I’ve realized how detrimental bad reviews are to a livelihood. Now, when I don’t like something, I have two choices. If the problem is fixable, meaning the item can be repaired or returned, then I contact the seller or creator. They’re always very grateful for this, as you can imagine. Instead of having to save face or scramble or simply be embarassed by a bad review in front of millions of people, they are given the opportunity to correct what is wrong and it’s done in private. If the problem is not fixable, I learn my lesson and I simply don’t do anything. For me, it’s five stars or nothing.

    I have noticed that once someone posts a bad review about a book, others are more inclined to do the same. I’m not sure whether it’s the inherent cattle mentality of some humans or it’s that people who probably won’t like the book tend to buy later. But it does happen. I’ve also noticed, as I’m sure many people have, that bad reviews on Amazon are for the most part – angry. As for my particular products, the book is a dollar and you can return it if you don’t like it, so I’m honestly not sure here this anger is coming from. Nonetheless, it exists and it’s scathing. I’ve been told I need to see a psychiatrist, that I’m sick, that I have real issues. I’ve been told I chose the wrong profession, that I have no imagination, and so on and so forth. Again, not sure where this is all coming from. Sometimes I wonder whether Amazon reviews are really a place for people to conduct a little self therapy. Let it all out. Hurt someone who can’t see you, doesn’t know you, and can’t do anything about it, and you feel better? Perhaps. For some, anyway.

    Based on experience, I can definitely tell you that a higher percentage of displeased people post over those who are pleased. Each day, I receive an average of fifty feedback messages from readers who claim to love my work. If I received that many positive reviews each day, I would be… well, my numbers would probably be off the charts. These people don’t post. The angry ones do. That’s highly unfortunate because, you’re right. I work my butt off. I respond to each and every feedback message personally. I sleep about four to five hours on average every night. I home school my child. I am working on seven novels at once. I give interviews and keep up with my Facebook page on a personal level. I have contractual obligations with print publishers for upcoming releases that have me editing, scanning type edits, writing novellas for marketing, working on synopses, sales blurbs, cover copy, etc. nearly non-stop. I have a quote on my website about how writers are either always thinking about writing or writing. I promise, it’s true. So when people who could so easily reward me for my efforts remain mute and those who, for some unfathomable reason hate me on a personal level, do NOT remain mute, it gets to be frustrating as hell.

    And again, that’s why I responded to your post, Tom. You took the time to say something when most people don’t. I’m sorry that you aren’t liking The Game. My books may not be to your taste, and The Game is one of my earlier novels, so it did not have the benefit of professional type editing. It’s also a bit of a floater genre-wise, as I don’t think Amazon knows where to put a romantic science fiction novel with the Norse pantheon in it and it’s probably marketed to the wrong people. I do hope you post a review however, even if it isn’t five-stars, because you’ve proven yourself to be open-minded and fair. And again, I appreciate that.

    Best wishes,
    – Heather