Another Rant on MM Romance Reviews
I know it's a major mistake to respond to a negative review, so I'll do it here where presumably the person involved will never see it (hence, it's not a "response" to them). The only reason I want to rant and vent about this is that it is literally the only review on Amazon for The Harp of Dunnbog. That means Book 1 in the series currently has a 1 star rating over totally bogus accusations.
I'm halfway through Book 3, and I'm pretty sure this one review has single-handedly made it a complete waste of my time to continue with it. Honestly, it's almost enough to make me take a break from writing and figure out what else I can do with my life.
If your only complaint in a book is that the author didn't do their research, you might want to be 110% sure you know what you're talking about. It's one thing to dislike a book. It's one thing if it didn't click or you didn't like the writing style or something subjective like that. But if you're going to call out a factual mistake as the only reason to completely tank an entire trilogy, you better be certain.
Let's start with the easier one to dispense with. It is true that I "don't know much about archaeology" as the reviewer put it. But I'm not sure why he thinks the main character would "know better" than to touch a stone lodged in the mouth of a body at a site.
Martin studies folklore. He's not an actual archaeologist. The book makes it clear that he's mostly there to interview townsfolk about the stories passed down through the generations. This is his first time at such an archaeological dig. He's nervous about it. He makes a mistake. These things happen.
It's called the "inciting incident" if we're being pedantic. But even if he should have known better, a freaking spirit comes out of the bones and has sex with him later on! It is clear this is going to happen from the description of the book. Why would you even start reading such a book if "realistic archaeology" is what you're looking for. Wouldn't the better thing to complain about be that it's unrealistic for a freaking spirit to come out of some ancient bones?
But now on to the real kicker. The reviewer says I "don't know much about baking." This crosses a line that disgusts me. Don't give my book 1 star because I don't know about baking. In real life, I'm basically a professional baker. I've baked every type of bread imaginable. There are NO baking errors in this book. I assure you. If you think there is one, it's probably your own misconceptions about how baking works.
Sean's first bake is a sourdough bread. Here's some of mine (I've baked sourdough every single week, without exception, for years):
In that scene, he talks about Irish soda bread. Here's one of mine:
Martin eats a French pastry soon after, and Sean describes the process of making puff pastry by hand. I've studied French pastry, and here's a cherry and cheese Danish made from an 81-layer puff pastry I made from scratch:
I'm not sure if Sean bakes a cake in this one, but here's a three layer, cherry and almond cake with Swiss meringue buttercream I made (obviously all from scratch and by hand):
Sean doesn't venture into German territory in the book, but I have! Here's a two-layer raspberry torte with a chocolate ganache I've made:
I've made breads with rye, spelt, and pumpernickel. I've made classic dinner rolls, fan dinner rolls, and crescent rolls from scratch. I've made French baguettes, macarons, and croissant. I understand the ins and outs of all of these from years of reading, training, and experimenting. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
So dear reviewer, you've tanked any chance I could have had at Irish Dream Hunks being a successful series. I'd like to know what baking mistake was so egregious that my entire book was worth giving 1 star to.
The reviewer claims I should "do more research." I'm a writer. If the above isn't enough research to write a main character that's a baker, no one is ever allowed to write a baker.
Reviews matter. If you don't like a book, just say so. One star reviews are a part of being a writer. I've never minded them in the past. I've even learned and improved because of them. But don't make up nonsense reasons you know nothing about and tell the writer to go do more research.
(P.S. if you think I'm overreacting to a single review, consider this: someone is giving away a book FOR FREE. You click to the Amazon page. You see that the only review is 1 star. Do you still download it? Probably not. You will definitely not buy it. Plus, most advertising sites require minimum Amazon ratings even if a book is free. I now can't use those.)