Control: One Bad Review…
I, Dalton Lewis, wrote a book. That’s an overwhelming accomplishment — that something that can give me pride. Someone sabotaged my novel’s debut without thinking about it, and I’m upset. I worked like crazy writing 175 pages — forty two thousand words or so. I poured my heart onto the page and tried to show the reader my everything — to show them the reality of a life of a writer with a mental illness, to show a person trying to be a good person, alienated and with few friends, in America. Also included was a murder mystery and some Hollywood goings-on for good measure. Oliver has no friends but doesn’t want any — he shows how lonely some young men in America can be. Amanda is used and beloved by society — a society which doesn’t pay attention or care about mental problems that she has, a society that doesn’t notice what’s wrong with her, what she really needs. I tried to show society mistreating adults in America.
I wrote a draft in about a month. Then I printed it out and scribbled notes on the manuscript for a week or so, making changes and altering and adding entire scenes. The initial concept — a slasher in the vein of James Joyce — didn’t work. Instead I gradually changed it into a realistic look at twenty-eight years in the life of two mentally ill writers. I loved — love — those two characters and wanted to show them to the world. Then I typed up those changes. Then I printed it out again and wrote out changes on the manuscript a second time. Then I typed up those changes again. Finally I felt satisfied with the document.
I published the novel and had 1,100 free downloads and the process seemed to be going well. Then I had a rating and a review: one star.
This can practically sink a book. Having a one-star rating is terrible. To have my only rating be a one-star rating? Catastrophic.
The reviewer said that he would not read any book by an author with my last name. He admitted that he didn’t even read it. That’s some bullshit. He should have read it if he was going to give it a rating. I have the same last name — real last name, not Lewis — as a celebrity who is considered a bad person. I’m not related to him. I have nothing to do with him. I am being unfairly punished for having that last name.
This review system is brutal. I can work like crazy and have one person destroy all that work with a one-star review without thinking about how hard I worked on that novel. I find that frustrating.
Now I worry that people won’t give my novel a chance. It’s a novel that I worked like crazy on — and it’s an attempt at a work of literature instead of an action, violence-filled extravaganza like I usually write. I just hope that people give it a shot.
Thanks, and take care, friends.