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Confidence Wavering? Read Your Old Reviews

I’ve been pursuing this publishing dream for eight years now and even though I’ve previously landed an agent (and later let them go) and I’m currently working with another agent modify a manuscript to her specifications, I still struggle with bouts of negativity and self-doubt.  I’m not sure why I ran across this today, but I opened a file that contained a bunch of critiques from one of my older books. Some of you might remember Authonomy– a peer-review site that was ran by HarperCollins for budding authors which generated publishing contracts for some members. I uploaded several chapters of my Mystery/Thriller FALLEN KNIGHT, complete with a mocked-up cover, primarily to get some kind of feedback. This was before I knew about critique groups or beta readers, so I was looking for help where I could find it.  Well the reviews were so positive that I copied them from the site into a word document for safe-keeping.  Here are a few of them.

Usually I try to find some helpful places to finesse, but honestly, this is really well written and edited! My hat's off to you.

This promises to be a first-class mystery. Finely crafted, the descriptive prose flows with compelling dialogue and interior dialogue driving the story forward like a rocket ship. This is a terrific mystery/ thriller.

I find your storytelling to be highly engaging. This story starts with a bang and the action is excellent – shelved.  You weave the components of your story together like a master. I didn't see anything I'd change.

Well edited, smooth and easy to slip into.  A good, strong piece of thriller writing, you will need it, the genre is very popular and crowded but your writing certainly shines.

I love the way you throw us straight into the action of this novel. There's an excellent blend of action, dialogue and introspection which gives a smooth flow to your writing. You're a born story-teller and I think this has great promise.

Up high on my little shelf!

I enjoyed the opening chapter it set the scene and the pace was good. The end came as a complete surprise.  I do like this; it is for me nice easy reading, deep enough to interest. The plot is building as it should and you have hooks in all the right places. Your characters are lifelike as are their names.

This is very good, I want to keep reading and find out what happens. An enjoyable read, lots of unanswered questions to keep the reader interested, the sort of thing I can imagine buying and reading.

Loved it.....I like that your MC is a lady detective and very good at it..... The difficulty for writers in the thriller genre is keeping to pace, even when dropping in background detail......You do this very well.  I can clearly identify each characters profile in my minds eye.....A great read, which I'm happy to support.

This is a fluent and engaging read. The end of chapter one was certainly a shock. An energetic and dramatic beginning to the story.

Very interesting end to chapter one. Very unexpected too and a real kick in the pants. Good characterization and you give us just enough to let us fill in the blanks without telling us every little detail about the people. Good pacing too and the dialogue is sometimes written in short fragments, which is exactly how people talk.

Whoa, didn't see that end of chapter one coming. Having read all your chapters now I'm impressed with the way you set up that opening chapter: giving the characters, especially the unfortunate Brady, real depth. I'd initially thought that his appearance was set to be short-lived, but the revelations of chapter ten show the importance of that opening chapter.  I liked your pitches and there are some great hooks at the end of chapters - the one at the end of your final chapter is particularly strong and left me pleading to read more, well done.  This is a strong contemporary thriller with strong characterization and realistic dialogue where the demands of the genre are well covered. I've enjoyed it very much.

In my opinion, this is a well written work. The beginning is very good and the story develops well. The story is interesting and you treat your characters nicely. I believe it will do well here.
John Harold

Oh shit, what a first chapter. I was loving the relationship between Brady and his mom - really unusual and beautifully done. Then, wham. So of course we turn the page, and keep reading and keep reading.
This is very well done, nicely paced and much as I'd love to find some nitpicks or offer some helpful crit, I'm afraid I can't think of anything I'd want done differently. You clearly know exactly where you're going and I suspect a lot of people will want to follow your Pied Piper's trail!

It was what brought me to your book . You know what?
The first chapter is perfection, wrapped in awesome and tied up with Holy Crap.
You do an above excellent job in depicting the relationship between Brady and his mother. I could feel the love.  Brady is a great character. He is typical and yet different at the same time, he is familiar and dynamic. You do a great job at letting the reader know what is going on without TELLING them what is going on. There was a subtleness to this that I think a lot of crime/thriller books miss. You have it to a tee.
You finish off the volleying of the first chapter with a superb cliff hanger and who couldn't read on.
I looked, honestly I did, for things that were out of place. I then slipped so far into the novel that you could have spelled every second word wrong and I wouldn't have noticed. That is a talent. For a first time in a long time I was simply a reader, felt great!

The ending of chapter one is undeniably shocking. The plot and characters are well developed. The dialogue is snappy and quickens the pace. All in all, I think you have a winner here.

Bloody hell, that is some first chapter! Professional, engaging and well-paced, there's a lot here to like and I can't find anything to criticize.

DL, this was one of the easiest reads I've seen on this site. The writing is clear, fluent, and well polished. C1 is a superb portrayal of adolescent insecurity and confusion. I challenge anyone to read the first chapter and try not to turn the page after that splendid hook at the end. I am amazed more people haven't read and backed this. I know I'm backing it.

Great work! This is one of those books that sounds good from the pitch and once you start reading you cannot put the bloody thing down (so to speak!!). I am starting to get worried that the whole thing aint uploaded, or even finished! You are So backed buddy!

You sure know what you are doing. Great cover, inviting pitch, great opening and a polished read.  I can see this published, I know I would buy it

Very slick. An engaging thriller (just when I was ready to give up on the genre). It's topical, exciting and has a unique female detective, not to mention a great hook at the end of the first chapter. This has all the elements of success. Backed.

This book is entirely publishable and is a really good read. Diane is a great, believable character and a book like this could even spawn a series. If I had one thing to mention it would be perhaps that the prologue is a tad too long and involved, though you brought it to life so well! Backed!

Holy mother of cliffhangers, Batman! Just read through chapter one and HAD to turn the page... Nice hook, way to keep the reader sucked into the story.

Needless to say, my confidence level was boosted considerably after reading these. So if you find yourself down-in-the-dumps about your writing, do what I did, pull up a few of your old critique/beta reader comments. They can do wonders!


  1. Sometime we have to go back and read those good reviews to remind us we don't suck.

  2. My reviews are so old though. I need to write something new - and I'm working on it.

  3. Hi Don - what a great set of comments ... well done. Good luck with going forward now - and all the best with the publishing aspects ... cheers Hilary




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