Further to my previous post, it was good to get a couple more five star reviews for A Weaver’s Web from Nathan Mercer at Movies and Manuscripts and from Margaret Millmore at Crystal Crichlow’s blog.
Nathan wrote a long review and was clearly impressed:
“The author’s command of his characters is amazing.”
“I can’t recommend this book enough …”
“The settings and descriptions are awesome!
“… writing style … is so smooth and perfectly paced …”
“… agents might look back and think ‘why did I pass up that book’ and kick themselves!”
Margaret was also impressed:
“The characters are so well written …”
“This isn’t my normal read and I was delightfully surprised at how well the author grabbed my attention to the very end.”
That’s now 9 five star reviews and 3 four star reviews at Amazon for an average of 4.75. See the About page for a few comments from reviewers, e.g. comparisons with Dickens, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald and Dos Passos, and a “read of the year!” comment.
I had a favourable professional appraiser’s review on a draft of the novel. I made changes and ran off a couple of boxes of the book and got back 18 responses from general readers, all of whom really liked or loved the book including five who couldn’t put it down. Their comments are in the book’s preface. I may have got something like a 4.75 star average from these people too.
My submissions to literary agents included comments by the appraiser, general readers, writers at a US writing site, and other agents. None of it made any difference. In fact, I don’t think any agents even commented on the comments. Many read or asked to see chapters. Most gave a standard no thanks type of response. There were a few positive comments and a few negative ones. I don’t think any two agents had the same negative comment, and on a few occasions what one saw as a weakness, another saw as a strength.
Many commented on the subjective nature of fiction and to keep trying. Virtually all of them were nice about it all, though I doubt I would have got better than a 3.75 star average from them. I made no changes to the novel based on literary agent comments before publishing it as an ebook.