28 March 2014

What's an author to do?

Here are sixteen quotes (verbatim, typos and all) from recent Amazon reviews of The Penal Colony.

1. Unfortunately upon reaching the end I felt unsatisfied due to the author leaving numerous loose ends. This ruined the enjoyment for me.

2. (And with a satisfying ending, too)

3. the ending left a lot to be desired, very open ended and a bit of a disappointment.

4. I always like a happy ending.

5. Not a bad story, would've been quite a bit better if it had been edited better. Also the ending, abruptly one page. C'mon...

6. Great read and loved the ending.

7. The only downside I could find was that the ending of the book was a little too quick for me and I had to read the last chapter a couple of times to see if I had missed something hence I only scored it 4 stars.

8. Well done from beginning to end.

9. I wanted more information about the end the the trip. Without giving spoilers I wanted more of the end . How the trip went. What happened ? The author could have given more there and didn't . It was an ending without a real ending if you like that sort of thing

10. It had a good ending, it was smart, and it spoke to redemption.

11. I felt short changed at the end, but enjoyed it overall.

12. A wonderful story allowing for great character development throughout and the inkling of "I wonder how he fared" at the end.

13. This was an interesting read and the first half is great but by the end it was like, enough already.

14. it is a good story though and has a pretty good ending.

15. I was glad I stuck with it, but have to say that the ending was a bit of a let down!

16. I also want to go on the record and say can you teach other authors to write endings? Yours was damn near perfect and there were no silly cliffhangers or any such nonsense, just a beautiful ending. I just don't get to read but one a year.

See also here.


Moe The Cat said...


"What's An Author To Do?" Keep writing! I'm looking forward to the next installment in the Reincarnation cycle.

Some people simply don't "get it". You've created a story that says something that you wanted to say. The novel was about the character's time on the island and how it changed him. The ending, leaving the island, is the start of a new, different story. The character continues, and probably changes some more, but that's beyond the scope of this work. These disgruntled readers seem to have their own idea about what the story should be.

This reminds me of the scene in the movie "Amadeus", where the Emperor tells Mozart that his opera was good, but had "too many notes." His advice to the composer was to "cut a few, and it would be perfect." Mozart's response was that the opera had exactly as many notes as he required. The Emperor had his own idea of what the opera should be and just didn't "get" Mozart's intention in composing it.

Richard Herley said...

Thanks, Moe, as ever, for your support. There's no pleasing some folks, I suppose. And it's very flattering to be compared to Mozart!

pete whitfield said...

Well said Moe. The ending felt perfectly natural and satisfying to me, just waiting for the sequel! Any more books coming out soon?

Richard Herley said...


Yes, I have another one on the stocks, should be ready in a few months if all goes well.

Carmen Webster Buxton said...

There is a reason Baskin-Robbins sells 31 flavors of ice cream: Everyone's taste is different. Some people write vanilla stories trying to please everyone, and some write Swiss-chocolate-macadamia nut and too bad if you're allergic to nuts! My advice is to write what you like to consume; then you are sure at least one reader will be happy.

Aniel said...

As a rule, I try not to read other people's Amazon reviews before I write my own. However, having followed the link at the end of the book, I was undone. It then came to me that we might collect the most puzzling reviews from across the web and publish them as a collection. I often have laughed at reviews along the lines of: "I haven't read this book yet, but I don't think it's very good." (27 readers found this review helpful).
Before I write the real and appreciative review, I will toy with:
"This is a most disaponting book as there's no Zombies", "Penal Colony: Writers shud not be writing about colonilaism, because that was a bad thing" or "This is not a real book becuse it couldn't happen and there should be more swearing".
Enough of that, real and glowing review coming to Amazon any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Herley, I just finished reading Refuge and I liked it so much that it merited being added to my list of favorite apocalypse / post-apocalypse fiction.

Hopefully it gets the name of the novel out there, because I thought it was great (character development, story-line, the writing itself, etc.), and I know it is hard for self-publishers to get the word out about their work!

The link is:


Anonymous said...

Mr. Herley, DSmizzle here (the guy with the blog post listing my favorite TEOTWAWKI fiction).

Do you have an email address publicly listed for readers to send you an email?



Richard Herley said...

DSmizzle, thank you so much for your kind comments and for mentioning that book on your page! Illustrious company indeed ...

My address is richardherley at gmail dot com.