How a Review Reviews the Reviewer (for Authors Coping with Negativity)

I wrote this post shortly after the Soulless ARC was first sent to reviewers in 2009…

How a Review Reviews the Reviewer

And now, from the Wayback Machine

Soulless Free Download

Well, Gentle Reader, Soulless has been getting some of its first reviews in email and online. Some of these are from libraries, some from bloggers, and some from brick & mortar independents.

These are the folks who got the first round of ARCs or picked one up at BEA.

I’m not going to talk about the reviews themselves, because what I’m finding most intriguing at the moment is how different they are from each other, and how much each review reveals about the reviewer’s focus and interests.

The Reviewers: Analyzed by the Author Being Reviewed

  • Those whose interest is largely fantasy orientated tend to write more about the world building process and manipulation of the Victorian era to accommodate the supernatural elements.
  • Those who are fans of urban fantasy focus on the way Soulless deviates from other paranormals with regards to treatment of vampires and werewolves and any major aberrations from the pack. (This, in Soulless‘s case is the idea of excess or absent soul.)
  • Those coming out of romance go into detailed analysis of the hero/heroine dynamic, flavor of dialogue, and other personal interactions.
  • Those who read widely and do not associate with any particular genre tend to talk a lot about characterization.

Soulless Square Original Audio

Multi Genre Surprise!

With Soulless, my main worry was that I had my fingers in too many pies.

I was concerned I might have the equivalent of a dinner party full of picky eaters, and serving up a meal with too many exoteric components.

Fortunately, what I am finding is quite the reverse. It is more like a buffet, and so far, even the pickiest of eaters seem to be finding something to chew on.

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Yeah but the bad reviews, Miss Gail?

Even those who are negative about the book or don’t find it their cup of tea, reveal something to me that tells me simply this:

They weren’t the right reader for this book.

Had they not been reviewers, they probably would have just put it down and moved on.

And that’s fine. I’ve dozens of friends, family, lovers who have not (and do not) share my taste in books to read.

Why would I expected this to be any different with a book I wrote? It’s not a judgement on me personally, it’s a matter of flavor.

I mean to say, I love marmite.

I know what it means to love a thing most of the world is repulsed by. I’ve had lovers who refused to kiss me because of it! Now that’s a serious issue.

This is just a few bad reviews.


So, this is my moment of gratitude.

Not only am I grateful for the reviews, that you took time to write one, no matter what it says, but I’m grateful that by writing them, you reviewers are sharing with me a little bit of yourself and your own taste, which is a remarkable gift indeed.

Yours forever,

Miss Gail

Gail’s Daily Dose

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Quote of the Day:

“I got to thinking about the point in every freelancer’s life where he has to decide whether he wants to A, have a social life, and do art in his spare time, or B, do art, and have a social life in his spare time.

It has always seemed to me that if you have any hope of making a living as an artist – writer, musician, whatever – you absolutely must learn to tell people to leave you alone, and to mean it, and to eject them from your life if they don’t respect that.

This is necessary not because your job is more important than anyone else’s – it isn’t – but because a great many people will think of you as not having a job. ‘Oh, how wonderful – you can work whenever you want to!’ Well, yes, to a point, but generally ‘whenever you want to’ had better be most of the time, or else you won’t have a roof over your head.”

~ Poppy Z. Brite


Soulless: Parasol Protectorate Book 1

Soulless Free PDF


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

  • First, she has no soul.
  • Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead.
  • Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced!

Where to go from there?

From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

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