To the Unknown *Cough Troll* Reviewer

As someone who is just beginning to write and publish, your input is important, and I want to take the time to address the concerns you so eloquently mentioned in your review, specifically the capitalization of first words in the chapter, the typos you claim to have seen and the overall weird formatting.

To begin with you wanted to know, “WHAT is this capitalizing the beginnings of sentences sometimes but the entire first word of chapters.” (Incidentally, you really should have ended your sentence with a question mark since you were asking a question, weren’t you?). Here we really have two separate issues. One is the capitalization of first words of chapters, and the other is the capitalization of the beginnings of some sentences. I’ll be honest. I was trying something. Many authors use capitalization at the beginning of their chapters to signal the start of a new chapter, which is why my chapter titles were not larger or bold (another one of your concerns). Unfortunately, as a self-published e-pub author the programs that I use to convert my manuscript into different e-pub formats did not transfer the capitalization of first sentences well, and it looked like I was shouting. Your comment was welcome, if poorly worded, and I have changed that and re-uploaded a shout-free version to Amazon and other platforms that carry my book.

As for your second concern regarding capitalization of first words of some sentences, I was signalling a change of scenes. Some authors use extra space while others use hashtags to specify a change of scene or change of point of view; I used capitalization. Again, the e-pub platform I use to convert my manuscript frowns on extra spacing. I suppose I could have used hashtags, but then again that would cause problems with extra spacing. I don’t know that I feel using caps in this case was unwarranted; however if enough people complain, I will consider using hashtags.

Another concern of yours was that, and I quote, “Also, the last sentence, when ended, the next chapter number was directly below it, and directly below it, a new sentence began with all capitals.” I believe I just mentioned why there was not a lot of spacing in the text, why first words, and not the entire sentence as you have just claimed, were capitalized, so I will refrain from being repetitive, although you should be congratulated for doing such a stellar job with it.

On to your last concern. “AND there were a lot of typos.” Really, now. If you are kind enough to mention the number of typos in my manuscript, it is only fair that I point out to you that sentences in English do not start with and, especially not one in all caps (BTW, nice irony). Perhaps you might argue that I started many sentences with and in my manuscript (see how I used italics here instead of caps?); however I would point out that in the context of creative writing, the rules of grammar can be bent, while you, a reviewer, should be conscious of how you appear to those reading your words.

And now on to your concern about typos. I went through my manuscript again and checked for spelling and other grammatical errors. Just to be clear, the main character’s name is Tavis, not Travis, so if you were concerned I had misspelled my main character’s name throughout the book, never fear. Also, there were times when I used many rrrrs in a row to show Tavis’s Scots burr. That was purrrrposefully done. Additionally, I used several Gaelic words and used spellings I found on the Internet. Now, I am only fluent in four languages, Gaelic not being one of them, so I very well could have misspelled any one of  those Gaelic endearments Tavis used towards Amelia. If I did and you speak Gaelic, please let me know. I did find one instance where I used a homophone incorrectly (that’s where two words sound the same but are spelled differently). When I should have used too, I accidentally used to. My bad. I may have missed a comma or to (oops!, I meant two!), or have even inserted won when one wasn’t needed (the horror!); however, I ask because did those mistakes truly impede your enjoyment of the story?

“I enjoyed the story line and the two characters, Amelia and Tavis. The supporting characters were not bad either.”

Those are your words, not mine, which begs the question, if you enjoyed the story and the characters why did you give me a 2? Was it truly because of some formatting issues and some misplaced commas? Really? Because based on that criteria your own review–replete with incomplete sentences, poor punctuation and awkwardly worded phrases–would by your own standards earn less than a 2, which is what I am going to give your review.

And at least, unlike you, I have the balls to put my name on my work.

Sincerely,

S. Ackerman

**I do welcome reviews and critiques. I just think the practice of ripping apart someone’s work because of the safety and anonymity of the Internet is reprehensible. If you have constructive feedback that you would like to provide, I would love to hear it! TRULY! Even from this reviewer’s poorly written example, I was able to take away something and change my manuscript for the better. Please! Review! Let’s discuss! We can only ever become better _______ (fill in the blank) if we are willing to engage in open dialogues of mutual respect!–S.E.A

4 thoughts on “To the Unknown *Cough Troll* Reviewer

  1. Oh I am so sorry you had to experience that. As a fellow writer it takes so much strength to put your work out for everyone to see and I commend you for accepting it as way to grow in your art. And welcoming more critique. Have you considered looking for a critique partner? Someone who’s opinion is more valid and constructive than a review because as you said anonymity makes people think they can comment however they please and act like there isn’t a person on the receiving end. I’ve also read that many well-known writers don’t even read their own reviews and you should never respond to a negative review. Just ignore them because nothing good can come of it. I know it’s a double standard. Well good luck and hopefully we see each other on the bookshelves one day! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I knew I shouldn’t have responded, but it was my first negative review after all. I was more flabbergasted that the reviewer liked my story but decided to pick on the formatting of all things! Haters got to hate, I guess! I have been looking for a critique partner, but have come up empty. All my friends/family are complimentary and are reluctant to tell me what I need to hear to get better. I’ll keep looking, though. Thanks for your advice. I think from now on I won’t read the reviews and will just keep writing! Good luck to you, too!

      1. I found an in person critique group through meetup.com, there’s plenty of writers’ communities on there as well I was lucky to be invited to an online community through facebook.

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