Authors should never respond to Amazon reviews, but when we do it is hilarious

As a rule of thumb authors should never respond to their negative reviews on Amazon. No matter how stupid the review, that is the customer’s opinion. But sometimes I just can’t resist. The following are all one stars for my first novel, Monster Hunter International. And yes, I did actually post these comments.

1.0 out of 5 stars
Sorry, I don’t believe in Vampires of any sort or werewolves or orks or fairies. I read the book because it was free, and I deleted any requests for future Monster Hunter books.

AUTHORS NOTE: That is because it is fiction.

1.0 out of 5 stars
15 year old me would give it 4 stars. So, there’s that. Kudos.
I had to stop reading when my eyes rolled out of my head.

So what you are saying is that 15 year old you was way cooler than you are.

1.0 out of 5 stars You will love this book if you are Glenn Beck
Completely agree with all of the one star reviews here. You will love this book if you are Glenn Beck.

Then it would be very thoughtful of you to give Glenn Beck one of the nice leather bound editions for Christmas.
1.0 out of 5 stars Give it a skip
Want to read a long novel about an unrealistically humble badass who turns out to be the chosen one, complete with love at first sight, getting the girl in spite of the stereotypically obnoxious other guy, the most cliché monsters you can think of, and the libertarian gun-nut author reminding you of his political views every three pages? Then you’ll love this book.

AUTHORS NOTE: Holy shit. You make this book sound awesome.


1.0 out of 5 stars Should have been a comic book
Monster Hunter is great if you are a 12 yr. old boy, hooked on graphic, gory video games and your mom says you need to start reading. Just don’t do a book report on it for school.

AUTHORS NOTE: Great book for young adults. Gets youth to read. Would make a great comic book. Thanks!


1.0 out of 5 stars I do not recommend reading this book.
This is not a good book. I am a huge fan of urban fantasy. I’ve read all the Dresden File books, I’ve watched every season of Supernatural. I get it. This book reads like the revenge fantasy of an angry 14 year old. Yes there are monsters and guns, but it’s tied together with a pathetic, loathsome main character. I couldn’t finish it. The cover art is the best part of this book.

AUTHORS NOTE: Luckily Jim Butcher must enjoy the revenge fantasies of 14 year olds, because check out his Monster Hunter International short story in the upcoming Monster Hunter Files anthology.


1.0 out of 5 stars This book reads like a bad Dresden Files fan fiction written by a …
Awful. Truly, stunningly awful. The characterizations are bland and frankly nonsensical, the plot is slow, and the author describes the guns in terms of makes and models and it is still the single most detail he puts into anything in the book. This book reads like a bad Dresden Files fan fiction written by a right-wing conspiracy theorist. Which, come to think of it, is precisely what it is.

AUTHORS NOTE: If you love Dresden Files, check out Jim Butcher’s short story in the upcoming Monster Hunter International anthology for right wing conspiracy theorist gun nuts!

1.0 out of 5 stars Don’t bother
Poorly written and edited. Stick-figure characters, bad plot. I suppose if you’re really crazy about gun stats it might be worth reading – nah. Better to get a subscription to a good magazine.

AUTHORS NOTE: For a good magazine I would recommend Cat Fancy.



1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn
This book is full of transparent characters and situations. Every plot point and joke is telegraphed pages ahead like the worst of a SNL skit. I’m not sure why it gets so many good reviews or even why it was published.

AUTHORS NOTE: It was published in order to make obscene sums of money. But I too love SNL, so thanks for the compliment!


A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership
I'm Glad That's Over With!

113 thoughts on “Authors should never respond to Amazon reviews, but when we do it is hilarious”

      1. I had buttons on the top of the window that I was pretty sure I shouldn’t have. I don’t know if they would have worked if I’d tried them, but I didn’t want to mess anything up. Posting seemed the least disruptive way of alerting you.

        And on topic, I’d love to see the face of the complainers when they read about Jim Butcher writing stories in the MHI universe.

        1. Yeah, I accidentally clicked on one of those buttons the other day and was afraid I sent one of Shadowdancers comments into moderation.

          Good to know Larry’s only teasing us with power.

        1. I live in a trailer park, and that ain’t the kind of magic we do. (Well, unless we’re doing ‘shrooms. Hallucinations like imaginary web log dashboards are surprisingly common then.)

      2. At a guess when you grab and share the link to your latest article you are just copying the link in your browser which includes your credentials. In the unlikely situation that I guessed right always grab a link you plan to share from another browser where you aren’t logged in.

          1. *giggle*

            I’ve burned books exactly twice. The first time was because our library had gotten infested by termites (we lost a LOT of books, and the infested ones that were too badly off to be considered ‘salvageable’ had to be burned.)

            The second time, was an actual ‘I hate this book and it’s better used as kindling’ thing – it was such a badly written thinly veiled early socjus wankfest I had to read for college, that put a useless Mighty Whitey (I wish I was joking) ‘protagonist’ who was there merely to witness the ‘various atrocities’ of the Marcos Dictatorship stand-in of a fictional Philippines (the protag drifted along, having rampant sex with the local beauties, was ‘tempted’ into ‘aiding the revolution’ with his mere presence somehow, which failed, and one of the last things he saw was several young homeless being pointlessly shot to death by machine gun, falling backward into the dictator’s olympic sized swimming pool, and him gazing at ‘floating entrails that reminded him of jellyfish’.) Book went soaring at that point, and my teacher was… displeased… with the scathingly negative review I had of it.

  1. Actual made up author quote: “What’s that? I can’t hear you over the me rubbing obscene amounts of money on myself.”

  2. Well, the main character in the first one was a bit adolescent–but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good fun. It was enough to hook me for the whole series. Your comments were fun.

      1. Yeah, that’s how an origin is supposed to work: we’re not joining Owen after he’s had the responsibilities of monster-hunting or even just general real-adulting (which honestly does not start until you’ve got kids and debts…!)

        Otherwise every story starts with the characters at level-99 and that’s the writing equivalent of a Game Genie…

        1. Can we change “kids and debts” to simply “responsibilities” please? Otherwise my old maid aunt who died at 65 with no debt and significant money left for her relatives would apparently have never qualified as an adult.

          Points for the Game Genie analogy, though. 🙂

      2. I am always surprised by the reviewers who are upset that young men in a story act like young men. Makes me wonder if they grew up in a box or something…
        Though the feminists who screech about it are pretty funny.

          1. Well I’d expect them to be better at some things, and I’d also expect them to eventually be right about most things.
            After all, I want to read books about exceptional people doing exceptional things. Not whiny losers who can’t do anything or get anything right.

          2. John Van Stry, I agree. I expect them to get the “big things” right, in the end. I expect them to be competent. I don’t expect them to be masterful snotty ensigns of the space navy who can lead vet marines and be respected when they suggest mutiny.

          3. I think there should be a balance between “so amazing at everything that nothing’s a challenge and he’s not really even human” and “completely incompetent”. I think Harry Dresden hits this balance extremely well. I once read a self-published book by a co-worker which fell into the latter category, and it was not interesting to read at all. Reading about a supposed ‘hero’ of the story getting his ass handed to him every fifth page and then whining about it for the intervening pages is not something I consider fun.

    1. It looks like some of the other reviews have disappeared as well.

      Must be a fan vs. detractor Reporting War going on since this posting.

      Note to Larry’s obviously pathetic stalkers: Did you see how the author countered speech with speech? There’s a lesson there. Take your time with it.

    2. I’ve heard that Amazon doesn’t allow authors to leave product reviews (of books, at least). Maybe it’s based on a similar policy?

      1. I just recently read some reviews of Michael Williamson’s books that he had replied to, and I think one of them has been up since 2009, so if they do have that policy, it isn’t uniformly enforced.

    1. In fairness, there are some books that I consider to be so obviously bad that I wonder why people like them too. It’s a common feeling. I’m pretty sure he understands that the good reviews are because people like it and what he means is, “I wonder why so many people like this.”

  3. I don’t really get the comparisons to Dresden files. Every author’s first book is usually not the greatest. Storm Front wasn’t the end all to end all of good first books, and neither was MHI. Both were excellent though.

    I like the fact you wrote out every make and model of firearm. Otherwise everything becomes a S&W Model 10 (if revolver), a Glock 19(if pistol), or an AR-15 in my head unless stated otherwise. Everyone can agree that OZP and friends armed with Glocks and AR-15s would be super boring.

    “Oh no! I lost the Glock my wife bought for me in that monsters stomach! Welp… Better stop by wal-mart on the way home to get another.” It’s boring. Super boring. Like holy crap boring.

    I mean in Dresden files, Thomas uses a sawed off shotgun. Of all the weapons that ever existed in the history of man, why would a suave badass love-vampire pretending to be french and gay use a sawed-off shotgun?

    Gun Choices Matter.

    1. Butcher wrote Storm Front as a dare to his writing teacher. He followed her instruction to the letter and got published. Yes the first 2 books of Dresden Files was a bit rough, but it really got going by book 3.

      1. Yes, it definitely got going after book 3. I think I read the first dozen books in about a week through my library’s ebook lending website.

        1. I agree that book 3 is where it really started picking up for me (but that’s probably because Michael and Thomas are my favorite characters of the series).

    2. You know what? You make a very good point about Thomas’ gun choice. I could definately see him with some blinged out race gun or a gold plated Desert Eagle .50

      1. Exactly. (Well, not the eagle x.x) Even the whole Wizards-mess-up-tech thing isn’t that much of an issue if Murphy is carrying around modern autos. I see no reason he wouldn’t carry an STI 2011 9mm. It’s not like he can’t handle the weight. He’s a vampire. Heck, even a Glock 17 with a messenger bag full of happy sticks make more sense. Calvary saber in one hand, handgun in the other.

      2. Thomas is a practical vampire. Sure he has super strength, but he tends to go with stuff that won’t go wrong, such as cavalry sabre and big calibre guns.

        1. I think the fact that it’s *not* the kind of gun you’d think he’d pick is what makes that a great choice. Thomas portrays a certain version of himself, but it’s not who he really is. His gun choice is a reflection of the real him, not the flippant, nonthreatening playboy persona that he cultivated as a defense against being murdered by his dad.

    3. Even the fans of the Dresden Files who recommended it to me said that the first book isn’t fantastic, not like the later books. (And now Larry and Jim are both on my ‘must preorder hardcovers’ list.)

      1. I only listened to Storm Front because it was read by James Marsters. And it ended up being the book that launched my ongoing binge on both audiobooks and urban fantasy, and Jim Butcher is now on my ‘must preorder hardcovers’ list as well. Even though I still consider Storm Front only a pretty good book.

  4. As an English major I can sort of see where some of the complaints may be coming from at times. Still, I personally loved the book and the series, so obviously no major issues. Especially awesome considering it was your first published book as I recall, and many authors first published can be much worse. Also the fact that it has sold a ton of copies, is kind of an indicator that the book is good, and those one star review types just didn’t get it like the majority of us.

    1. As a once upon a time English Comp professor AND professional author, I CAN’T see where they’re coming from. Unless it is from unearned superiority from believing what their teachers told them is “good literature.”
      I, like Willie Shakestaff, aspire to be the darling of workmen and youths, and people who read for fun, not snobbery.
      Which Larry does, very, very well, which is is why he’ll be remembered long after all the litewawy dahlings of our time are forgotten.

      1. I was an English major too, and one thing I learned from getting that degree is that the books/movies prized by university intellectuals are, for the most part, pretentious, pointless, and boring AF. (The notable exception to this was the professor who taught a Tolkien class. Her classes were always fun and interesting.)

      2. I WISH my English Lit professor had let us read something like MHI! Instead, she made us read Margret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. Give me OZP shooting a vampire in the face any day over that turgid drivel. Cant believe I didnt just go find the Cliff Notes version of Atwood’s “classic”.

    2. Paraphrasing Ernest Hemingway: Don’t use a 5 dollar word when a one dollar word will do. Larry writes action adventures. Words serves to tell story, not as beautiful construct.

  5. It would seem many snowflakes are upset about how the world is going, and they’re taking it out on you, Larry.

    Good news, snowflakes! PNH of TOR fame is doubling down on his current path of ruination, and will be seeking more “good science fiction” after the Trumpocalypse. Y’all will have all the gender bending and depressing character studies you can manage. Until the bankruptcy sale, anyway.

    1. It just occurred to me I may be the only person who likes reading the reviews, recaps and rereads at TOR who is also commenting here . . .

      In fairness, while I agree with a LOT of the criticisms of the contemporary left esp re: trigger warnings gone wild and taking legit concern over not offending people past the outer limits of sanity and especially going nuts trying to hit all the proper ticky boxes of virtue signalling (with the counterpart among some types that failure to be current on which ticky boxes to hit in order not to give hypothetical offense means immediate and sometimes prolonged slinging of insults), and while I will not (can not) argue that some of this is not occasionally present at TOR, there is also a lot of intelligent, thoughtful, thought-provoking and just plain fun stuff over there and some genuinely nice people.

      1. The problem seems to be the incredible amount of drek (to use a polite term) you have to wade through to find the occasional “intelligent, thoughtful, etc.” bits.

    1. I know an RSS feed exists, because I get the posts in feedly, but I can’t figure out how to get the feed I”m using back out of it.

  6. Yeah, yeah, the first book wasn’t the best… But every one after got better. More awesome. More good story. Characters that act like real people (granted, real people with guns (correction: really awesome guns), confronted by monsters, but real people nonetheless).

    The first book got me to say some bad words, too. Like “Aw *expletive deleted* yeah!” It got me to pick up the next. And to recommend it to friends, acquaintances, random strangers, and bar waitresses before I stopped going to bars (was working weird hours, it was the only place open with food at 10pm at the time).

    When I look at reviews on Amazon, I look at the five stars and the one stars. I’ve bought books based on the right kind of one star review… and if I’d found MHI that way, I’d have bought it on the spot. *chuckle* Those are some gems right there.

    1. I actually started throwing money at Larry because someone linked me to his “An Opinion on gun control” piece shortly after it was first written… and then I read a lot of the other content he had up on his blog… and then decided that I wanted to read his books.

  7. As a general rule I read the worst reviews on any book I’m looking to buy. I figure people who (somehow) take personal insult on the writing of a book will give me the best idea of what is “wrong” with it. I then decide if I can live with the “flaws”. If more authors like you would respond like that, I’d buy the book immediately.

    On a side note, why do some people expect pulp action books to be The Next Great American Novel (which, in reality, are more old than great). Why does every book need amazing character development, intricate plots, and perfect framework? Can’t books just be FUN?

    Larry’s books are all amazing fun, worst part is waiting for the next one! At least I have Project Blue to get through yet.

    1. I read the three star reviews as in my experience that is where the serious criticisms tend to be and I get the best sense of whether I will like the book.

    2. And yet, time and again, I find that even though they’re fun, Larry’s books also have great character development, intricate plot, and are well-structured. It’s not a case of, “Well, they’re not great writing, but they’re fun.” They actually *are* great writing, *and* they’re fun.

  8. I had previously commented on this page that I was not a fan of MHI, but bought the books and had them shipped to my brother when he was in Afghanistan, where he distributed them as he saw fit. Some months back, I was stranded at the airport, with nothing to do, and I was danged if I was going to pay for WiFi. I had a free copy of an MHI book on my Kindle ( I never pass up free books) and it being the only unread book…and my being trapped…. So, I read it. Then I ended up paying for WiFi so I could buy and download other volumes. Now I buy them to read myself. But I have not stopped my “spite buying” BTW.

  9. Are these people all just shit posting because they are triggered (heh) because of your gun porn in the books

    (I read the explanation on how to make silver bullets work and I think I had to change my pants. When me and a buddy tried to co-op divinity original sin my wish for things to make sense had an orgasm when I found out that yes, if you are standing in a pool of your own fresh blood and your buddy throws a lightning bolt at the enemy it WILL conduct out of then enemy, into the blood and into your buddy followed by “IT’S NOT MY FAULT!”)

    because this bullshit almost seems like some sort of virtue signally ideological nonsense.

    Honestly your style is a lot like Jim Butcher’s but in a good way, though some people get butthurt and call you a thief because you know two men can’t both like LOTR and such and channel their snarky smartassedness into their books and main characters of said books

    1. I kinda wonder what happens to these people when they find out that Jim and Larry are friends and that Jim voted for Larry’s book over his own in the Dragon Awards.

      Comically shattering and then spontaneous combustion?

  10. I read the “I don’t believe in Vampires” one aloud in the break room at work. Five seconds of stunned silence followed by maybe a minute’s worth of gut-busting laughter.

  11. Looking at that cat magazine, I have to wonder how you would get a cat to sit still for a tattoo.

    What do these people expect, Dostoevsky? I read and enjoy Larry’s books for very different reasons than I read Dostoevsky. Sometimes a guy needs to just lighten up.

    One time, I was driving through northern Michigan and saw a truck mounted snow blower for sale. I thought to myself “I know what that thing wants to be when it grows up”.

  12. I saw some self published authors complain on forums that the Amazon deals where people get inlimited books leads to bad reviews. They may have less than 10 total reviews. Since the book is free the person may read the first 20 pages and then leave a 1 star reviews. A few negative reviews wont hurt Larry, but it likely makes people just getting started narotic.

    I mention this since one of the reviewers said he got the book for free.

    This knd of thing even happens to GRRM. After the premiere of the TV show there was some review in a major newspaper he complained about. Started off with… I dont like fantasy. I dont like gay erotic SF, so I do not think it would be fair for me to review Chuck Tingle.

    I generally look at negative reviews when I am thinking about to buy a book. Most negstive reviews are terrible. I look for patterns. Do a number of reviewers say the same thing and is this something that would bother me?

    As a fan, the best reviews tend to be the 3-4 star reviews. 5 star tend to be slobbering over it, which doesnt really help me decide if I like it. The ones that like it , but its not the best thing ever tend to write the best reviews.

    Best fantasy review sites I have seen are Elitist Book Review and the Wertzone.

    1. “I mention this since one of the reviewers said he got the book for free.”

      If it was a review of the first book and was posted in the last two years or so, then *everybody* can get it for free. As for the idea that free books attract more negative reviews, I’m very skeptical of that. If anything, I think people tend to be more generous about rating things they get for free, because the ‘I can’t believe I wasted my money on this dreck!’ factor isn’t there.

    2. I’ve seen some advice to indie authors regarding putting books up for perma-free or even for temporary free sales. While many people consider this a great way to get new readers, others point out that getting something for free means they’re more likely to grab something without looking at it very closely to see if it’s something they’d like, and then they don’t like it and they leave a negative review. I can see both points, though I think the second point is more true for indie authors without name recognition than for tradpub authors with high name recognition.

      1. I doubt it, unless I’m really untypical. I’m someone who grabs stuff for free without looking. If it’s free, and I don’t like it, it cost me, hmm, hitting delete on the notification from Amazon that I downloaded it, about a half a second. Plus however long it took me to decide I didn’t like it–if it took me more than a few seconds that’s on me, and the amount of time to remove it from the kindle. Why would I waste my time leaving a review of something I didn’t waste money buying and spent a minute or two of time on? To get a negative review out of me I have to feel cheated, and since I didn’t spend money on a free book . . . heck, I’ve even recommended things I didn’t like at all to friends I thought would like them, because if they were free in the first case it’s no skin off my teeth.

        But then, I don’t often leave reviews of the books I do like. Instead I buy other books by those authors, for money, usually ALL the other books by those authors. Paper copies, if I can get them, and if I really love them, multiples for gifting.

        1. Ah, see, for me, when I review a book, how much I paid for it is irrelevant. It mostly depends on if I have something to say about it (good, bad, or other). Though I’ve gotten less interested in dwelling too much on really awful books this year, but if it’s awful enough I feel like it’s kind of a service to other readers to warn them about how awful it is (specifically, and preferably with examples).

  13. FWIW, I yesterday briefly had free time in a mall with a bookstore. Being me, I went in the bookstore. This is a given. Since I was commenting on your website thought I should check out your books. Figured I would read the first pages of each of your three series (you may have more, but I found three that were easy to pick out as starting points).

    I hate the face of the guy on the cover of Hard Magic. He seems like someone I would want to punch or possibly kill. This almost made me not look further, but “Grimnoir Chronicles” + my fondness for film noir convinced me to try it first. Initially, I was kinda horrified but kept going to see what your take on the first p.o.v. character was. Finished the first chapter in the store, will let you know when I eventually finish it, but I am now very eager to read the rest, meaning so far so good.

    Monster Hunter International, read the first sentence. Before writing this comment, checked “best first lines of all time” and was somewhat surprised to see this was not on the lists (they are good lists, tho). I have not read further but am now very interested to see where this goes. Note: This does NOT mean I will like the book. Near the top of my personal “best first lines of all time” list is “People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles” from Less Than Zero. Haven’t read the book since the late 80’s but still remember the line. Alas, the rest of Less Than Zero is very much not on any personal “best of” lists. Still, I am stoked to read the rest of MHI.

    Lastly, Son of the Black Sword. From what I’ve seen of your blog, I didn’t think your writing style would lend itself to fantasy, so almost didn’t try it. Surprisingly, I liked the writing style here better than Hard Magic. But DID NOT like the lead character much right off (like, first page, I think), and already have a giant “to read” backlog, so almost set it aside. Then read a little more just to see if I should permanently write off this one or put it on the imaginary “come back to later” list. You write action well, and I kept reading longer than I meant to just to see what happened to the old guy with the spear. So now you have 3 books in my “to be read” pile. Still not sure which order, and reading is a lower priority for me than it used to be, but clearly you are doing some things right.

    1. “From what I’ve seen of your blog, I didn’t think your writing style would lend itself to fantasy, so almost didn’t try it. ”

      Since the vast majority of his books are fantasy and I like them a lot, I’d have to say that yes, his writing style lends itself to fantasy.

      1. My bad for extremely sloppy wording. And possibly being confused re: MHI–I was thinking that would be more science fiction for some reason? And in my head I use “fantasy” to refer to secondary world fantasy or whatever (stuff like Son of the Black Sword) and view it as a different genre than urban fantasy or contemporary this-world fantasy even if it’s not urban (ie Patricia McKillip’s Kingfisher).

        Hey, if nothing else I’m coming to these books w/out spoilers. =)

        1. Actually, I strongly suspect that the world of Son of the Black Sword will turn out to be based in science fiction rather than fantasy, due to what seemed to me to be various hints scattered around the book. I suppose I’ll just have to see how it’s handled in later books, which adds to the anticipation for me. And while I would say that the Grimnoir books are firmly fantasy, there is certainly a strong element of dieselpunk-style science fiction to the alternate-1930s technology (and some ambiguity in the magic system). If anything, the MHI books are the closest Larry has ever got to ‘pure’ fantasy, as despite the present-day ‘real world’ setting, everything that seems supernatural is unambiguously stated to be supernatural.

        1. Oh yeah. I figured that out with relief. And there’s clearly signs of potential character growth there (also a relief–this may be a huge flaw on my part, but I have trouble enjoying long form stuff where I hate the lead or leads), even if it’s coming a wee bit slower from a lot further growth-needing than I’d prefer.

          Just in case it was unclear, I liked the beginning to all three–my post was meant to be favorable. I don’t believe in being rude to my hosts and if I thought they sucked I just wouldn’t have said anything.

  14. There will always be 1-stars for politically ‘charged’ books because you are hitting on confirmation biases. I’ve read sci-fi with Socialism itself as the protagonist, where it ‘just works’ because people are satisfied going to trade shops to pick through other people’s used foot wear (yuck), or somehow, in no explicitly explained way, socialism is just naturally better at producing anti-malware firewalls and computer protection than what would arise in the capitalist system (which would in fact include efforts like Linux as well).

    I’m sure all the Socialist types loved that book and gave it five stars, even though it probably only merited 2 at best, based on story. I’d personally give it one, due to the fact that it actually made Socialism the protagonist, and it prevailed because ‘it’s just better’.

  15. “I was considering to read this novel when I noticed all the negative reviews. Truly awful. 1.0 out of 5 stars because I can’t give it a 0.0”

  16. How many of these ‘reviews’ do you think are real, compared to those that just hate your personal stance on things, and want to punish you for that?

    But, on the flip side…I hope you read the 5 star reviews too…There’s far more of those (and well deserved)

    1. Most of the one stars are crap. I’ve got plenty where it is obvious they didn’t read it. I don’t respond to the ones where they obviously actually read the book and criticized it. I just like to mock the ones that tried to be snarky.

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