I recently posted about having joined the Goodreads community, which is proving to be enjoyable and useful. Today I noticed that two reviews had been added for Turner.
The first was a 5 star rating and a positive review from Frank. He said:
"Horror (Check), Chilling (Check), well written (Check), Hilarious? Absolutely. This is a must read for any one who enjoy good horror writing, but also loves characters whose main reason for being alive is to make the reader pop a few laughs. I can't wait for Drinkwater's next works, I rate this one A+"This really made me smile, especially the recognition of the novel's very dark humour, which not everyone takes to or recognises. The multiple characters were there to keep the reader guessing about who - if anyone - will survive.
However, I was surprised at the other review, which was negative. The book was obviously not to the reader's taste at all, and they were concerned at what they perceived as an inherent cruelty in the actions that take place in the novel. It has made me question whether I need to alter the marketing of the novel so that it is clearer that some very nasty things happen as part of the survival horror. It is a genuine learning curve for me, this issue of trying to direct your work to readers that will get what they expect, and avoid attracting readers who won't enjoy the novel. A fine line to walk, but I would much rather sell fewer books but have all the readers enjoy the work than make more money but waste people's time or risk disappointing them. To my mind this is like adhering to the second and third laws of library science proposed by Ranganathan. I remember learning these during my MSc in Information Studies!
I know some authors get upset by negative reviews (and the fact that each one lowers the average rating score for their book), but I am just trying to take it as part of the inevitable experience of making an element of yourself public. As a result I sent the review writer a friend request, thanking them for their time in writing a detailed review, and apologising for the fact that the book wasn't for them. The world is a better place if we can appreciate that we all have different viewpoints. Despite the review being negative overall I was grateful for a concession at the end, so I will focus on the positives! The reviewer said:
"the atmosphere was suitably creepy. Karl Drinkwater did a terrific job of creating a menacing vibe that kept me reading. I felt as if I needed a good shower when I was done"