A bone or a tibia?

‘Awful. Stopped reading it after a few minutes. Very disappointed. I’d be interested in what other readers think or was it just me that was disappointed.’

This is my only one star review on Amazon….so far. There have been 31 ratings and the average is 4 star. Overall I don’t think I can complain at those numbers, and if the ratio stays the same going forward I’ll be happy. I don’t expect everyone to like Under The Bridge.

One of the problems in trying to get published is that agents and publishers have to be interested in your characters and setting. The setting of Under The Bridge is Garston, Liverpool, not the most exotic location and the people are normal people. The subject matter of Irish immigrants, dockers and car factory workers might not appeal to everyone either. I understand that sometimes people want to get away from where they are, they want to read about the romance, and the fantasy of lives they don’t have. So it would be weird if everyone ‘loved ’ the book, luckily some people have and do.

The thing that gets me about the statement above is it doesn’t give any idea why they stopped after a few minutes? How far would they have gotten? The first page? The first chapter? That might be the problem, the first chapter is on a building site and the foreman’s first language is not English, so his sentences are not perfect. I wonder if the reader thought this writer can’t even produce grammatical sentences? Maybe …. seems a shame he didn’t get beyond that. If you want to check out the first page go to Amazon you can have a read, or look around here the first few chapters are posted.

During the process of applying to agencies and seeing if my writing was good enough to be published, I sent the manuscript off for professional assessment. Overall they rated it very highly and said it was publishable but it just missed reaching the level required to be accepted onto a special programme they ran. The first line at that time was The tibia poked out of the mud and into Micheal’s life.

The editor objected that a caretaker on a building site wouldn’t know what a tibia was. My first thought was, I wonder how many building site caretakers this guy has met? The second thought was, does he not recognise that the narrator is calling the bone a tibia not Micheal? I was a bit offended by his comment though, of course there are some caretakers who are probably not the smartest, but there also some older manual workers who have never been ‘educated’ who know more about fishing, or the history of their football team, or gardening, or whatever their hobby or interest is, than this ‘literary editor’ knew about people.

So this was given as the reason this particular editor kept my book out of the programme that would have seen it presented to a list of publishers and agents. I did change the line because with no agent and no publisher you are trying to do everything you can to get published, and I accept the first line as it is published is more direct. The bone poked out of the mud and into Micheal’s life. So a couple of points, the one star will always drag down my average rating but it also shows the importance of leaving a review. If you bought your book from Amazon go and leave a comment and a star rating. It really makes a difference. Even if you got it from a bookshop Amazon will sometimes let you leave a rating. Finally, the reviews I care most about come from the people the book was written for, normal working people. So far they have been consistently good.

Published by jackbyrnewriter


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