How You Can Learn From a Good Review!

Honest reviews offer insights into your work that you can learn from!

Do you learn from you book reviews?

Douglas C Gilbert (no relation) recently reviewed Serpents Underfoot on both GoodReads and giving it 4 Stars. It was an honest and fair review which I appreciated very much. It is a review I can learn from. One comment he made to me personally but did not include in the review was, “My first reaction is that your book is undoubtedly a five-star concept – big, broad, and sweeping in the imagination. I believe that you could have made it a trilogy or the great, modern, 700-page epic. It was that good in relevance to our world.”

Well, it is going to be a trilogy. Maybe part one should have been a bit more epic! The review, included in its entirety below, is a review that a new author like me can learn from. It is a review that will help make me a better author. A review such as this will make the second book in the trilogy better than the first!

Can’t Stop Thinking About it

Serpents Underfoot is an ambitious novel that sweeps the reader over two generations and multiple continents in a series of convincing vignettes that hopscotch abruptly around the world through a large cast of characters. More action than thriller, the story has plenty for every reader: SpecOps, international terrorism, foreign intrusion into US presidential elections, assassinations, torture and atrocities, wartime love and lust, a heroic K-9, and the loose handling of classified information. While the author, DC Gilbert (no relation), clearly knows interesting people and things about how the world works, he leaves the reader hungering for more depth, more detail, and stronger connections among the characters and the events. He weaves a linear plot in a matter-of-fact narrative through a dangerously conflicted world and drops it on the reader’s doorstep. I can’t stop thinking about it.

What advice does Doug offer in his review?

  1. Smooth the transitions from location to location, slow the pace here a bit. Maybe some foreshadowing?
  2. I need to flesh out the details a little more.
  3. Let the reader know a bit more about what the characters are thinking.
  4. Develope inter-character relationships a little more.
  5. Maybe add an additional plot thread or two, and let them converge during the story.

But it is still a great read!

I am glad Doug can’t stop thinking about it! That means, despite my first novel’s shortcomings, it was still a great read!  I will work my butt off to make the sequel a real improvement based on his observations above. Do you have an opinion of my novel, Serpents Underfoot? If you read it, I would love to hear your thoughts. Kindle readers can get my book from for $3.99, about the cost of a good cup of coffee.

6 thoughts on “How You Can Learn From a Good Review!”

  1. You make it sound intriguing. Glad you got two good reviews and inspiration for the sequel. Generally speaking, in trilogies, the middle event (movie or book) is usually the most troublesome because the action continues but does not resolve. (Based this from what I read, saw, and heard for the Star Wars trilogies, LOTR books and movies.)

    1. Thanks! I have gotten several great reviews. Maybe 15 have been 5 Star. I try to learn what I can from the reviewers that make good comments.

      I think you are right about the trilogy being problematic. It may be that I am lucky in this regard, because I see them as three chapters in the main character’s life and they are fairly well defined.

      We shall see!

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