Cover Reveal and how my first bad review convinces me I’m on the right track

Well, the event that I’ve long dreaded has happened.  What a surprise–I’m still standing.  I got a negative review. A co-competitor left a negative review on my Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Entry, The Preacher’s Promise.  It is inevitable that all of the competitors want to review  the competition.  However, after thinking about it some more, my main sins were using long words and not revealing Amanda’s blackness early enough.  Well, it’s too bad that the contest doesn’t let us have covers on our excerpts because if covers were allowed, the first thing my fellow Romance contestant would see is this:


Clearly, I’m not hiding anything about Amanda or her race. She is a very educated woman for her time, so she would use long words.  After a bit of a mini pout on twitter, Kwana Jackson pointed out to me  (Twitter is so good for people reaching out to one another): “I’m sorry to hear you’re getting haters but that must mean you’re doing something right ;-)”. When I expressed my gratitude for a new viewpoint, she told me her minister told her that.  I’m taking that as a sign. 

The excerpt for The Preacher’s Promise was posted on Good Friday.  The link to my entry is below or you can click on the cover.  The excerpt will be up during the remainder of the contest. To see it, you need an account and a Kindle or Kindle app (even Kindle for PC will do.)  Search by my name (Piper Huguley) or the name of the story–and you have to include the apostrophe:  The Preacher’s Promise. You can then download the except  and and assess for yourself  if the race of the characters isn’t readily apparent to you as you read it. Then, if you feel as if you can and if you have time, please leave a 4 or 5 star review.  High numbers will help defeat the bad review–that’s how Amazon works things out.

So, thank you so very much, my fellow Romance contestant.  I am now prepared.  Your gift of the opportunity to learn how to handle my first negative review has readied me for the others that are sure to follow.   If you had not felt so free to express your discontent over The Preacher’s PromiseI would still be unaware of the high stakes involved here. I know now and I understand.  May God continue to bless you.


The link to the excerpt of  The Preacher’s Promise, to be published in August:

50 thoughts on “Cover Reveal and how my first bad review convinces me I’m on the right track

  1. Good for you, Piper! Congratulations on that bad review. You have broken through the writing industry and now on your way to becoming a seasoned author. Diversity is good and I love the heart you’ve chosen to represent this episode in your writing career. This is a tough industry to be in and it takes thick skin to prove yourself. And you my lady, have CLASS! God Bless!

  2. Congratulations on your beautiful cover and on your Amazon breakthrough nomination. It is wonderful to be so recognized on your journey to publication. I love your excerpt from The Preacher’s Promise. It got me on the hook…now I need to find out what happens. Bad reviews happen when you’re a writer. That being said, as a writer you are not responsible for a reader or reviewer’s lack of vision, not being able to grasp big words or….gasp….their inability to deal with African American characters. Continue on your journey….onward and upward.

  3. Piper, gorgeous cover! I’m so excited about this. It is unique and I know in your more-than-capable hands, will be astoundingly good! Cannot wait. And brush them shoulders off and keep walking! Dust to be shaken off your feet as you RUN forward! Proud of you! 🙂

  4. I didn’t get irritated with the review until I heard it’s from a competitor. Amazon shouldn’t allow that. The comments should be without prejudice to give readers an honest review.

  5. Piper – Good grief. The book description talks about how Amanda wants to work to better her race and work with the formerly enslaved. Doesn’t that *sorta kinda* imply she’s black?

    I agree it’s a shame you can’t include the cover on your ABNA page, though, because it’s just lovely.

  6. Well, I enjoyed the story myself and you have done a great job. I cannot wait to read the rest of the story. I also love your book cover. I just discover a new author. I cannot wait to read more books by you. Keep up the good work.

  7. In my own experience, for every negative review, you’ll get ten good ones. Not everyone will like everything–that’s to be expected. And, some people just like to bash books and authors. Love the cover and am betting what’s inside is even better!

    • Well said Judy and this is certainly true. So many people have stopped by and said lovely things. There is alot to counterbalance this unfortunate comment. I appreciate your kind words!Thank you for stopping by!

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover, Piper!!! Beautiful, intriguing, and perfect!

    Now. As to the point at which you reveal Amanda’s blackness: Hmm. Wasn’t that on the first page where she refers to herself as having russet-brown skin? (Not sure I have the quote exactly right, but that’s what I remember.) It was pretty clear to me.

    No matter. You are a good writer, and this is an engaging story, and every book will have its detractors. Thanks for sharing the lesson you’ve learned from the experience and for facing it with grace and maturity.

    Best of luck with the contest!

  9. What’s the old saying from RIF? Reading is fundamental?? Thank you for reading my fellow Lucky! I appreciate all of your kind words and for stopping by the blog!

  10. Lovely!! And I don’t even like romance novels, I’m a big science fiction and fantasy fan. Well written, and yes, it was clear from the start that the main character is a woman of color. SMH, some people need help in reading comprehension!

  11. Good grief! Didn’t this person read the book description, which mentions that Amanda wants to help “her people” and “the formerly enslaved?” Doesn’t that pretty much say what her race is? Duh!

  12. Sheesh, Piper, I totally disagree that Amanda’s race was not clear, you describe her skin color pretty early on, but if that was the major bone of contention, then you’re in a great place, darling!
    I loved the beginning and I am literally holding my breath for this book to come out.
    Hugs and good luck always!

  13. Piper! I have HUGE plans to celebrate my first negative review. It’s SUCH a right of passage isn’t it? I want them. Because I want readers to feel strongly either way, not that middle ground of take it or leave it. =) You inspire me friend, and to share some wisdom from a buddy of mine lately, Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. 😉

    • I love that idea! I’m going to celebrate with some Easter leftovers! It would make my son laugh a lot if he knew I was being described as a lion. But you are right! Thank you for stopping by!

  14. I had to go back and read the excerpt again because I knew I’d seen her race described. Yep, the sentence before the examples of ‘long words’ the reviewer pointed out…the ‘russet-brown colored woman’ reference. Not sure why that’s not clear.

  15. When a fellow contest competitor gives an author a bad review, it reflects his/her bad manners (at best.) At worst, it’s unprofessional and makes the reviewer look jealous.

  16. Hi Piper,what does Amanda’s Blackness has to do with the story. Anyhoo I read the except and I loved it can’t for the book to be available for purchase.. Keepup the good work. Haters gonna Hate.

  17. Velmer, I don’t know. 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed the sneak peak that you read. Set a countdown clock–July isn’t that far away!! Thanks for your comment!

  18. I just finished reading the excerpt and I look forward to reading the book when it is released in August to see the fireworks between Virgil and Amanda.

    All I can do is shake my head about the negative review. If they know their history, they would know the chatacter was African-American because she went to Oberlin which was mentioned quite early.

    Good luck in the contest.

    • Jennifer,

      I appreciate your comment here today! As far as knowing history…well, that’s one of the reasons I’m writing these stories. I’ve had the comment that a reviewer had to look it up to see if there were college-educated African Americans in 1866. They were rare, but they existed. I try to think of it as an opportunity to “spread the word.” If it means people are compelled to do research…all the better! Thank you for stopping by my blog–where I feature that kind of history quite often….

  19. The whole “I didn’t realize the character was black” thing is also really problematic because it just reinforces the fact that for most readers white is the default. Why should we buy into that?? I’ve gotten similar feedback because I specifically don’t mention anyone’s skin color in my manuscript until several chapters in. I understand that in America the default is white, but I reject it. My characters are black unless I say otherwise. Why can’t we change the default assumptions?

    • Hello!

      I agree. The default is problematic. However it is there. It is very, very deeply ingrained. I suspect such a comment came from the surprise of Amanda’s race. The answer? You and I have to keep writing stories and putting them out there to make that default assumption a meaningless waste of a reader’s time. That’s a long term solution, I know, but we just can’t have it be a “surprise” anymore. The diversity of characters have to be at least possible. Those are the things that keep me going, even when I get those kinds of comments and scores–the possibility of changing the landscape. Thank you for stopping by!

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