The Longevity Thesis Book Video

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Interesting . . .

Well, the first independent review for LT has appeared on the internet. "Independent" as in, I don't have any association with this person whatsoever. I found it on

"This is apparently a first novel and it suffers from some of the usual awkwardness associated with first novels, but the premise and background are actually rather interesting. It's a very atypical fantasy world that almost but doesn't quite come to life, set in a vast underground civilization. The protagonist, Antronos, was born on the surface, which makes him a kind of second class citizen. He perseveres, graduates from college, and begins to work with a man who is studying ways to prolong human life. The problem is that his new boss is making use of a corrupt nobleman with psychic powers to steal the life force from others. Antronos gets caught, not exactly in the middle, and it's not clear whether he will become an involuntary life donor, a co-conspirator, or the man who saves the nobleman from being exploited by the evil scientist. The narrative portions are generally well written, but the dialogue is often quite artificial and awkward. I'd call this one an interesting misfire, and hope that the author develops the writing skill to match her obviously creative imagination. 10/27/07"

I kinda like the term "interesting misfire". That's very unique.

Anyway, I'm reposting this because I'm curious about reader feedback for this sort of review. What's your reaction to it? Would it make you look for other reviews or turn you off the book altogether?

(Thanks in advance to anyone who cares to comment!)

I'm not too discouraged by this one review, because some very nice people have emailed me directly with the following comments:

"I think your book is very interesting. I think the desert is almost like consciousness in that you don't know what will arise. I was intrigued."

. . . the opening scene with the dust storm and the rescue of Antronos by his mother has me intrigued . . . if I enjoy this book as much as the opening scene, I will be looking for anything else you write."

I had to take a moment to let you know that I am 60 pages into the PDF version of your novel and I really am enjoying it! I love fantas[ies] that do not rely on the 'standard' themes, characters and settings and your work is definitely forging it's own original path."

So what does it all mean? Am I headed towards a niche audience? I know it's unrealistic to expect universal appeal, but every little piece of feedback does get filed away as I go along. So thank you to everyone who has taken time to write something, good or bad, and know that you are not wasting your time, because all of it is being taken into consideration.


JD said...

The important part is that the reviewer thought your story was different, “atypical” as he put it.

I dug a little into this person’s website. He reads a book PER DAY or faster. Geez, I’m lucky to find time to read one book per YEAR. I’d love to be able to read a book per day, but there’d be issues of “paying” (paying for the books or the fuel to go back and forth to the library, paying utilities and mortgage, paying attention to my family…).

I recognize there are different kinds of reviewers out there. It’s impossible to say which kind, if any, is ideal. Professional reviewers often need to generate sales of the publication carrying their review, so being clever in the review is essential and unfortunately it’s easier to be clever in a scathing review than in a glowing review. Semipro reviewers may tend to be less concerned with drawing attention to their reviews, but will they have the resources to peruse every book published yearly? Amateur reviewers should be the most honest, but how qualified are they? And realistically, who’s more likely to pick up a first novel, someone who has a life and reads in their limited pastime, or someone who can devote their life to not only reading everything but reviewing it as well?

This guy used to be a pro reviewer and now seems to do it for personal fun. He didn’t loathe your work, and given the volume of reading he does, it’s not unusual he found your book, but it is a compliment of sorts that he found points of interest in it when he reads so many established authors.

But you can have fun with this. Here’s how you could pull “quotes” out of his review that could become back cover blurbs on future editions:

“…the premise and background are actually rather interesting…” -- Don D’Ammassa

“It's a very atypical fantasy…” -- Don D’Ammassa

“The narrative portions are… well written…” -- Don D’Ammassa

The sad fact is, the majority tends to be silent. More people will read any book and enjoy it if only for the sake of reading, versus the minority that just might hunt you down at a con and spend five minutes of your life telling you everything that is wrong about your prose, your story and you as a human being.

Overall, this review says you’re creative and you don’t construct your stories with standard elements. (Heck, I already knew that!) If anything, a review like this might get people looking forward to your next project. And if they’re looking to read something that’s different, they’ll probably be intrigued by your book and pick it up. For those who want to read rehashes of what’s already out there, you’re probably out of luck making a sale to them.

The really important thing is to write for yourself. Just watch those vampire adverbs.

Jennifer Rahn said...

Wow. Thank you for the in depth analysis! I was hoping that the reaction to "atypical" and "interesting misfire" would be for a reader to say "just what the heck did she do?" Yeh. That would work for me just fine.