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A Bad Review–This One Hurts

I usually don’t draw attention to negative reviews unless they are unwarranted and silly like the “Christian propaganda” reviews or the “I got duped into buying a Christian book” reviews.

This is for a couple reasons. One, honestly, it’s just a bad idea. Why would I shine the spotlight on someone’s disappointment with my work? And two, I don’t like to dwell on bad reviews. Sure they sting temporarily, but I’ve grown pretty thick skin and can easily brush the negative away.

But sometimes it just hurts.

I share this review with you for no other reason than to give you a glimpse into the heart of a writer. Most negative reviews I read, I frown, and I move on. Oh well. Not life-altering stuff. But every now and then I’ll get one that stabs at my heart and sticks with me. I can’t seem to shake it.

This was one of them. It showed up on Amazon and it has been haunting me since I read it.

I don’t know what kind of copyright laws Amazon has so you can go to the site and read the review here. (It’ll open in a new window).

It pains me that I was the one chance this guy gave Christian fiction and he was so disheartened and disappointed he vowed to read no more. Ugh.

I applaud this reader for giving it a try. I’m sorry he spent his hard-earned money and in the end was not satisfied with the product. Please, don’t post any negative comments on his review. He was honest and respectful and I appreciate that. I’m just sorry the story never really reached him.

One of the worst things about these kind of reviews is that the author never gets a chance to talk to the reader. I wish I could sit down with this gentleman and discuss the issues he had with the story. I’d like to ask him not to let me be the sole representative for Christian fiction. Try it again; there’s some really good stuff out there that doesn’t have supernatural elements, stuff I know he would enjoy.

Oh no! Christian Fiction!

A couple weeks ago my novel SCREAM was offered as a free download for the Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers. Great idea. I knew two things would happen. The promotional offer would greatly increase my exposure to readers. Free books attract readers like bears to a campsite. And I knew the 1-star reviews complaining about being “tricked” into reading Christian fiction would follow, possibly in droves.

Well, the first happened, which is a good thing. I’ve received many emails and messages from readers stating SCREAM was their first exposure to my writing, they loved it, and would be getting all my other books.

And the second happened as well, just not in the droves I expected. Since the promotional offer, SCREAM has been awarded several of those oh-so-predictable 1-star reviews from unhappy readers. Here are some excerpts:

This book does all it can to shove religion down our throats.

It started out as a fairly good horror story, then got all born again Christian somewhere in the middle.

As some of reviews said, this book started out well, but slipped pretty quickly into a born-again, Christian-conversion book. It was very disappointing and I felt used.

Book started great. THEN I found he was mixing religion in…..RED ALERT RED ALERT…..I flipped through and saw something about giving myself to Jesus…and since I didn’t think he was mixing in a Hispanic name, I realized I had chosen poorly when I down loaded the book.

I’ve seen this happen to other authors, friends of mine, and it always amazes me. Okay, I understand these readers weren’t expecting a Christian novel or a novel containing Christian themes, or however you want to phrase it. They were surprised, they were disappionted perhaps. I get it. I do. But the negativity is startling, I think.

Are Christians not allowed to write faith-based fiction? Is it that offensive when we do? Do we need to label our work in big block letters: WARNING: CHRISTIAN FICTION?

One, the book was free. If you don’t like it or themes contained in it, stop reading and delete it from your reading device. No blood, no foul. Two, I always get a little background on any book I download. I read the book description, some reviews, and so on. I want to know what I’m getting myself into. The very first review of SCREAM at the top of the page on Amazon begins like this:

Mike Dellosso introduced me to Christian suspense/horror with his previous novel, “The Hunted.”

Um, that should tell you something, shouldn’t it?

I’m not upset about these poor reviews; I’m really not. These readers have every right to express themselves and I know full well how offensive the gospel is to some. I view their comments less with contempt and more with a healthy curiosity. In a society that constantly preaches tolerance it’s amazing how intolerant people are to the message of true Christianity.

So just to spread the cheer a little more I’m giving away a paperback copy of SCREAM. To enter just leave a comment below. Winner will announced Thursday.

And if you’re looking for another thrilling read, check out my latest novel, FRANTIC.

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