Well, I went through a significant rite of passage over the weekend: I got my first one star review on Amazon.
The review was for “From the Ice Incarnate,” which doesn’t really surprise me because it’s currently my lowest rated story. The biggest complaint seems to be that it feels more like a vignette than a complete story, which is a fair criticism. I’ve tried to make it clear in the description that this is an excerpt from a larger work, so hopefully it doesn’t feel like a bait and switch.
I wish everyone loved all of my stories, but of course that’s not possible. And although it’s easy to dismiss readers who complain about free ebooks, any book takes an investment of time and emotional energy; no matter what the price, the writer has a responsibility to deliver the best story they can write.
This is the reality of the new system: readers are the new gatekeepers, and rankings are one of the major ways that they give feedback. It’s a lot more public than a rejection letter, but ultimately I think this is a much better way for stories to grow into their natural audience.
Every writer gets one star reviews from time to time; writing is so subjective that it’s inevitable. My object isn’t to please everybody, but to do my best and to be constantly learning.
In the meantime, I’ll keep writing.