The Phoenix Project Tour with #RRBC Author D.M.Cain


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I am very pleased to welcome D.M. Cain to Fiction Favorites. She is on her The Phoenix Project tour with 4Wills Publishing. You can go HERE to see other stops on the tour.  I present D.M. Cain

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Why I’m proud of my 1-star review

To an author, a negative review can be soul-destroying. You have poured your heart into hours and hours of writing and editing something that, at times, feels like your baby – you treasure it and love it, and want to hold it high and shout your pride from the highest mountain. So when a reader dismisses it as ‘rubbish’ or slates your use of language, it can be hard to take.

Recently my debut novel ‘The Phoenix Project’ got its first 1* review:


Did I sulk and cry and decide to never write another word? No, I smiled and heaved a sigh of relief.

This little solitary star does not mean I am a useless writer. It means I didn’t appeal to that reader. But more than that, it means I’m being taken seriously as a proper author. This isn’t a requested review, it hasn’t been paid for, it isn’t a friend or family member doing me a favour – this is a 100% honest member of the public who took the time to read my book. So it wasn’t for them – that’s fine. There has never been a book in the history of literature that hasn’t been disliked by somebody. I want reviewers to be honest and I appreciate it when they give me points to work on. I know that I am already a significantly better writer than I was this time last year – because of the reviews and advice I have received. I have taken comments on board and altered my style in just this last twelve months. It also means that, at this moment, I am a far worse author than I will be in one or two years’ time. So, I need this feedback from readers to help me to get to that level more quickly.

The Phoenix Project is not an easy read, I know that. When I set out to write such a bleak and emotional story, I wanted to affect my readers. I wanted them to have a strong reaction to my work – even if that reaction is negative. A 1* review is as powerful a response as a 5* review and, in my opinion, is better than a dispassionate 3* review.

I also believe that 1* reviews tell potential readers as much as 5* reviews do. When I’m looking for a new book to read, I often take a glance at a few five-star reviews, but then I head straight to the 1* column. Why? Because the things people hated about a book will tell me what I need to know.

Take these two reviews of Suzanne Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games’:

5* review – The hunger games series are some of the best books I’ve read for a long time, couldn’t put them down!!

1* review – Should have been called ‘The Boring Games…’ It was juvenile and seemed to be gladiator meets big brother.

Here, the five-star review tells potential readers nothing – just that the particular reader liked it. However, the one star review actually tells a lot about the book – it tells us people fight to the death while they are watched on TV screens (a bit like The Phoenix Project!) Based on these two reviews, I would still buy this book as the 1* review told me what I needed to know.

That’s the way I am viewing my own 1* review. Take a look again:


This review tells my potential readers 2 things:

1)       It is a dark and heavy-going book with emotional and disturbing material (Thanks, reviewer – that’s exactly what I was going for and want my readers to know before they pick this book up)

2)      That the storyline didn’t make much sense to him (Which is fine – I appreciate that this is a dystopian sci-fi and this genre always takes a stretch of the imagination. Maybe he isn’t used to reading dystopian novels. But I bet there will be people who read his review and decide to pick the book up for this very reason – to see if the plot will make sense to them.)

To me, getting 1* reviews isn’t always comfortable, but it can tell us a lot about our book and ourselves as a writer. So, fellow authors, when you get negative feedback, hold your head up high and take whatever positives you can from it.

The Phoenix Project full cover

Don’t miss my Author Party Event ( on Friday, January 15th at 1:00 pm CST!!

GIVEAWAYS:  (2) book bundles – (1) paperback of THE PHOENIX PROJECT along with (1) paperback of her children’s book, SOREN!

To be eligible to win one of these sets, merely leave a comment on any stop along the tour, including this one and you could be one of our two lucky winners!!!


D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it.


D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.


Cain lives in Leicestershire,  UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.




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  1. harmonykentonline · ·

    This is a lovely post, D M! Best of luck on your tour 🙂

    John, thanks for always being so supportive 🙂

    1. Aw Harmz. You are the best. Thank you.

    2. Thank you Harmony, for stopping by and for your kind words 🙂

  2. Good point about reviews. Without the critic telling us why they feel the way they do, the critique is useless.

    1. I agree, Thanks for stopping by

    2. Exactly – we need all feedback, good and bad, to help us improve

  3. Oh DM, I like your attitude about that one star review. I don’t know whether I could have acted as well as you did, but I learned something from you. Congrats as you continue to tour. Thank you John H. for hosting her.

    1. Thanks for the visit Joy.

    2. Thanks! To be honest, I try to uphold these words as much as I can, but I still crumble sometimes and weep 😉

  4. Ha! Well congrats to DM. I would “cry and decide to never write another word.” (At least for a couple of weeks.) Wishing her all the best.
    I need to start studying dystopian fantasies as a genre… because the satirical one about my job is just dying for a voice. 😈
    Hugs all ’round. 🙂

    1. Yes that would be a good book. Thanks Teagan

    2. Sounds awesome Teagan! You definitely need to write that 😉

  5. A one star review never puts me off because you’re right. Reading is subjective. I am in awe of your attitude. I’d most likely hide in the woods for a month, even in a snowstorm.
    Happy New Year and wish you much future success. 🙂

      1. I’ll remember the “t” next time

      2. About the ‘t’, could it be your keyboard. I have a stubborn ‘d’ and my laptop isn’t a year old yet.

      3. You may be right.

      4. I only say this because I’ve noticed my problem. 0_O

    1. Thanks for your lovely words! It is hard to follow my own advice sometimes, but I always try to look at feedback positively, no matter what the feedback is

      1. You are welcome. We never follow our own advice, or at least on rare occasions. o_O

  6. What a wonderful way to look at reviews! Best of luck!

    1. Thanks for the visit

    2. Thank you! I try to stay positive, even in the face of awful criticism!

      1. Thanks for stopping Jenny

  7. You have a good, healthy take on book reviews. They are subjective to opinion and authors should take what they can use to improve their writing and take the rest with a grain of salt. I used to get very upset over feedback from writing contests and couldn’t write for months afterward, but did I stop writing completely. No. Good luck with your book.

    1. Thanks for the nice comment as well.

      1. You’re welcome on both, John.

    2. I think that if you’re a writer, you HAVE to write. It’s in your blood and in your soul. So, no matter how much of negative feedback we get, we’ll always find a way through it

    1. Thank you Kim for the reblog

      1. You’re welcome, John. Thank you for hosting.

    2. Thank you for reblogging 🙂

  8. Very enlightening, thank you.

    1. Thank you for stopping by.

    2. Thank you 🙂

    1. Thank Jennifer for the reblog

  9. Thought I’d posted here but obviously got distracted – yet again! lol A single solitary star may feel like a slap in the face but at least it’s an opinion – too many people never even bother to comment no matter how much they loved or hated the book…
    I think, especially if you have a lot of high-ranking positive reviews, a low star review doesn’t carry much weight as it’s generally the reviewer who has the problem & not the book – though negative criticism can be very useful as you say. At least the person cared enough about their experience to come out and say so, which is a kind of compliment if you look on it as you did ! 😀
    Thanks for hosting John! 🙂

    1. Nicely said Jan. Thanks for stopping

    2. Exactly! I completely agree, Jan. I wanted to evoke reactions from people – whether positive or negative

  10. Another fine post, D.M.

    Thanks for hosting, John!

    1. Thanks for the support Beem

    2. Thanks, Beem!

  11. Beautifully spoken, D.M.! High five! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the visit Natalie

  12. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Check out my latest post on the 4Willspublishing blog tour – Why I’m proud of my 1* review

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