and the bad reviews have started... - New York Times Bestselling Author, J. Sterling

and the bad reviews have started...

with 16,000 free downloads, i knew i was bound to get some bad reviews on amazon (you know, like 16,000 of em- lol).

and here they come.

and i'd be lying if i said that they didn't hurt. of course they "hurt" to some extent. even when my head is nodding itself in agreement with their thoughts, my feelings are weeping.

but here's the thing. those reviews talk about something in my writing i didn't even know i did. y'all, i've never taken a writing class. i don't know anything "technically" about writing a book. i also didn't want too. i didn't want to follow the exact same formula that every potential writer is taught to follow. hell, i've already broken the first 2 "rules" that every agent posts on their website:

1. don't start a book off with a dream. CHECK! In Dreams starts with a dream!
2. don't start a book off with a phone call. CHECK! Chance Encounters starts with a call!

i think those rules are stupid. but see, i don't have an agent, so i don't have to follow them. haha

i'm straying.


back to my point.

one of the reviewers took parts of my book and posted them. when i read those parts, i literally cringed. i was embarrassed. they sounded TERRIBLE! awful! no wonder she hated the book. i even hate the book now. lol just kidding. she's not a fan of a particular writing style- the style i write in. and that's okay. every negative review has the possibility of helping me see things from a different perspective. and it's not that i have the intention of catering to everyone's opinions, but sometimes a reader will make a valid point that the author (me) was otherwise completely unaware of.

for example- there have been a few comments about how things are confusing because i tend to change character perspectives without any warning. i didn't even realize i did that, but clearly i do. the last thing i want is to have my readers be so annoyed or confused that they can't get through the book. here's the thing:

i see the story unfolding in my head. sort of like a movie or a tv show. then i write it the way i see it. and i tend to forget that you aren't in my head with me. i skip things, i jump around- all the while stupidly assuming that you're right there with me, seeing everything i'm seeing. i sometimes forget that i have to create the world for you... i forget that you don't know the characters the way i know them...

this is a learning process for me.

in dreams was the first book i'd ever sat down and attempted to write. while i'm completely in love with my characters and their story, i know that my writing could be better. i've never claimed to the best or most talented writer out there (dur). all i wanted was to write a story that made people feel, or think about things they may have never thought of before (reincarnation, past lives, the idea of soulmates). but mostly, i just wanted to write a story that people could enjoy.

my hope is that my writing will continue to grow and get better. i truly think that with each book i write, it will. and with each negative review, i'll do my best to learn something from it. don't get me wrong, there are definitely parts to negative reviews that i don't agree with. but i realize that each person has their own style, taste, personality and interpretation. we're not all going to see things in the same exact way. even when it's written down for us- we'll interpret characters differently.

and that's okay with me. it's never been my intention to please everyone.

i may be dumb, but i'm not that dumb. ha

so i guess a thank you is in order to the negative reviewers. thank you for taking the time to write them. thank you for helping me learn where i'm flawed, where i suck and what you hate about my writing. at the end of the day, it truly is helpful and i will be a better writer for it. being a self published author means i don't have an agent. i don't have a publisher. i don't have a team behind me of professional writers, editors, and copy editors (clearly). you can't expect me to be perfect. well you can, but you'll be disappointed. :)

ps- i also need to THANK all of you who have loved/liked/enjoyed my book. you inspire me, encourage me, remind me that i do have some sort of ability to tell a decent story with good characters. you make me not want to give up or stop writing. i can't tell you how much your wonderful reviews do for me. and when you take the time to email me, when you're passionate about my characters, going crazy over something cooper did or said- it makes me smile. don't ever hesitate to email me. i might take 100 years to get back to you because sometimes i truly suck at the internet, but i will get back to you.


  1. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Well, I still liked it! And that says alot because I am NOT a reader! ;-) and what grammatical errors?? I usually catch that crap and I dont remember any??? xoxo...a

  2. Well, I read your book and I read one of the negative reviews where one person was writing that she was upset at your exposition??? Let me tell you this sweetheart. Many people who only began reading when the twilight books came out, have no idea that most books are written with narrative view point; meaning the author is the all knowing eye. They are stuck with a reading a very modern and in fact a limited point of view types of books. Meaning that they would get completely lost in regular masterpiece classics. Don't go down to their level, but make them want to reach higher. Our society is "dumbing down" and people who can't follow narrative books are just proof of that. It's too complex them bwahhahaha. Are there improvements you can make? sure.. but don't we all have improvements to make? The technicalities need to be cleaned up, that's all. And to even write, let alone publish a book that can move people is more than most people will ever do. Keep up the good work :)

  3. j. sterling10:42 AM

    A- not sure about the errors- i can't catch them anymore. not sure i ever could. lol i'm the writer, not the error catcher. ha! :)

    AJS- i was just going through my book and realized that there is a TON of exposition in there- but it's all exactly what you say.... narrative. i guess the thing is, i DO have a style of writing. and that style isn't going to change- so either people like my style or they don't.

  4. Elizabeth Ribera10:45 AM

    Oh man.... Let me smack some people... It was your first book and there are bond to be somethings that some people don't like. BUT you had the courage to write something. And that something completely sucked me in and I can not wait for your next book.


    Keep your head up and know there are always people who like to put other people down.... YOU ROCK.....

  5. Do what I do—don't read them! If you want to read some reviews, go read some bad reviews for very popular books. Even the top 100 books have reviewers saying they're "awful," the "writing sucks," etc. It's impossible to make everyone happy. Heck, there are many popular book that I don't like. (Although, I usually don't bother to write reviews on them) If you write for yourself and it makes you happy, then the reviews shouldn't matter. :) keep your head up, Girly! :) Just keep doing what you love!

  6. So....when can I read this on my nook?
    Also, 2 bad reviews out of a total of 28 gives you a grade of 92%. That's an A. :D

  7. J. Sterling9:21 AM

    b- as of right now, it's still available at barnes and noble... it should come off of that site soon. but i found it!

    i like A's. B's are good too. :)

  8. Awesome! Thanks so much! I seriously couldn't find it last night. Reading now :)