The World’s Worst Book

January 22, 2013

I must have wrDark and Stormy Nightitten the most preposterous novel ever unleashed on the reading public of the Western World. Okay, there’s a chance I’m being a tad over-sensitive, but that’s what some reviewers seem to be saying about my 2010 novel Let’s Play Ball. Even paying for reviews doesn’t guarantee the reviewer will get it. And I do shamelessly pay for a few of them, because I need an occasional word of praise or at least less of a pummeling now and then. That doesn’t always work: one of my worst reviews came from an expensive service with a reputation for dishing out tough love to self-published authors.

I’ll concede that even the meanest reviewers are capable of making fair points, as long as they actually bother to read the book. It’s true that my story maintains a first-person viewpoint although most of the action happens to other people. Of course there are limitations to that approach, but it suited my goal for the story. My heroine has a fraternal twin sister with whom she is close but competitive. Their rivalry drives the plot. She’s  an ordinary bureaucrat with a lawyer husband, while her sister is a sportswriter, engaged to a major league ballplayer. When the fiancé is kidnapped, it’s the sister’s idyllic life that is torn apart.

My heroine tries not to get involved, but she’s inevitably drawn in for various reasons: her husband is having an affair with a possible suspect; she retaliates by sleeping with a teammate of the kidnapped player; through a comedy of errors, she briefly becomes a suspect herself. While her sister’s life is in the spotlight, hers is shaken up too. Does that make her too weak to be a heroine?

I’m also guilty of combining all sorts of genres, including sports, politics, crime, and chicklit. Two baseball teams, in the course of executive-level wheeling and dealing, encounter meddlesome politicians and their equally devious women. A scandal erupts that eventually threatens to bring down a President. Plausible or not?  I guess that’s why they call it fiction. I love baseball, political scandals, and catfights, so my readers get all of that.

I still stubbornly believe in this novel. It’s the story of a woman who’s peripheral and minimized and resents it, yet stumbles on the answers. It was my vision, and it endures. In my fevered imagination the story continues, with sleazy politicians and even foreign dictators continuing to meddle with professional sports teams, and gossipy women still churning up even more trouble behind the scenes. The reviewer says these threads are “promising,” but need to be fleshed out with stronger characters and action. I get it, but it’s only a 250-page novel. Is the reviewer perhaps encouraging me to write a sequel? How about Let’s Play Two?

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6 Responses to “The World’s Worst Book”


  1. You are brave to take on bad reviews. Haven’t read your book but it sounds interesting. Here’s wishing you every success with a book you actually finished and published and are marketing! Something I’m still in the progress of acheiving. Kudos.

    • lgould171784 Says:

      Thanks for your kind words! It does take some courage to put your innermost ramblings out there for public consumption, not knowing how they’ll be received. But there’s a certain satisfaction in it, even if the response isn’t great. Best of luck with your own endeavors.

  2. wfsantini Says:

    Reviews must be the hardest part. I agree with Deborah that you are brave. It’s wonderful that you are taking what you can from them.

    “While her sister’s life is in the spotlight, hers is shaken up too. Does that make her too weak to be a heroine?” – This is a great question. I like when story lines focus on an “unwilling hero.” I don’t think it makes them too weak, but it’s a focus that is more challenging than the obvious view points of those most involved in the action. It’s not a negative, and I think it would add interest.


  3. Sounds like the Olympics – but in a single sport. Political intrigue and government meddling and private gain are all part of sports. And athletes playing for different countries. And…

    I’m not a sports person, but I highly doubt it’s ‘the worst book ever.’

    Maybe you should publicize it every year during the World Series.

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