One of my earliest efforts, “8 Track Plans For a Spare Room” got panned by reviewers. With the detachment that comes with time, I consider the plans within it some of my better lifetime designs. Go figure.
“If you can’t stand the heat…..then get out of the oven”. It’s a good adage to keep in mind for anyone considering becoming a published book author. No matter who you are, there will be a percentage that is “not impressed”. On Michael Connelly’s famous book, “Black Echo”, one reviewer, “Mr. G.”, posted the following 1 star review on Amazon “Boring plot, terrible dialogue, cheesy characterizations. Was genuinely surprised by how bad it was.”
I’m sure Michael isn’t losing much sleep over Mr. G’s opinion considering both Amazon and Netflix have top rated series based on his books.
My eleventh book, one on structures published by Kalmbach, hits the shelves in May. It’s been an interesting ride from the standpoint that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to predict what subjects will catch on and which ones won’t. I wouldn’t say it was a “phoned-in” effort, but my operations book rolled off the typewriter fairly easily. It was just an off-the-cuff idea that went on to become my best seller.
By contrast, what I’d consider one of my better efforts from a content point of view, the one on designs for a spare room has gotten mixed feedback, the lowest ranked reviews, and experienced tepid sales. One less-than-impressed purchaser wrote: “Not worth the money. All the plans are for the same 11’x12′ room (which is true). Only one plan allows for continuous running (factually incorrect, three are continuous run). All the plans are variations on the same theme (factually incorrect. Each is an entirely different theme). Nothing really innovative or clever. Not worth the money”. Well then, tell me what you really think!
It all comes down to different strokes for different folks. I’m a little surprised how emotionally detached I am from how a book is received. I put all of my effort, and it’s a LOT of effort, into satisfying myself that what I’ve come up with is my best effort. That’s all I can control. Once it hits print, I wash my hands of it and don’t go back to re-read them.
Stepping to the other side of the fence, putting myself in the position of a reviewer, I’m no different. We watched a movie a few weeks ago, which I thought was great. I looked up the reviews on IMdB and was surprised to see it got 2 ½ stars and terrible reviews. The following week we watched an old De Niro flick which I thought was awful. Guess what? 4.8 stars and rave reviews!
The room footprint in the Spare Room design book is by far the most common I see in my design and construction business. I honestly hadn’t looked at it in ten years. On a whim I dusted it off and gave it a read. Yes, it has rough edges that come with me being a newbie in self-publishing when I wrote it fifteen years ago. In retrospect, I should probably should have expanded on the text a little and made the font smaller. Water under the bridge. When I look at the content though, the pure meat and substance, I do consider the nine plans inside to be pretty darn solid if I do say so myself, some of my best work. I stand by them. Shown below is one example.