When I published my first mystery, Murder Under the Microscope, I was requested to fill out a questionnaire. I don’t remember what the purpose of it was; I’ve had to fill out others since then. One of the questions I remember was How would you react if you got a bad review?
I answered it something like this: I would probably be hurt. I might even cry. I haven’t been doing this long enough to develop a thick skin. I would tell myself that you can’t please everybody and that it would be a boring world if everybody liked the same thing. Of course my friends who have read it would assure me that my book was great and they all loved it, and those stupid reviewers didn’t know a good book from a hole in the ground, and then I’d feel better.
Up until now, I didn’t have to worry about it. The few reviews I’ve gotten were good, or at least okay. Then I got a bad one. It called Toni Day’s reactions to Dr. Shore “juvenile.” It said there were too many characters and they were interchangeable; none of them stood out. It said there were too many plot twists. I didn’t know that was possible! Finally, it criticized all the medical jargon. And I didn’t cry, but I didn’t sleep very well that night. And then my friends read it and said that everybody they know loves my book and that reviewer was just one person who didn’t.
The very next day I got my best review yet. The reviewer loved Toni Day, she loved the characters, she loved the dialogue, she loved the fact that there were so many plot twists, and the medical jargon was well explained and didn’t hurt the story at all, but gave it a sense of realness. In short she loved everything that the other reviewer criticized.
So there you have it. You can’t please everybody, but if I can please more than I don’t please, that’s worth feeling good about.
On a different note, I had a book signing at the LA Times Festival of Books a couple of weeks ago, and I signed 75 copies of Murder Under the Microscope in 30 minutes. I heard someone say that was some kind of a record.
Too Much Blood is now through its edits, and is being reviewed for Editor’s Choice. If I get it, that will be 2 for 2, because Murder Under the Microscope got it too.
I realize that I don’t blog nearly often enough, and I’ll try to do better, but now I have to go feed my cat.