Will Not Disappoint

by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers

What exactly does it mean when readers say in reviews, “You won’t be disappointed,” or something similar. I get that sometimes lately, and I see it in a lot of reviews for other authors.

I understand and appreciate that the phrase is meant to be positive. In fact, it could be part of a terrific review. But sometimes the line worries me, because it feels like a euphemism for “This book is okay. You won’t be disappointed, but you might not be impressed either.” The absence of a negative is not quite the same as a positive.

The feeling could just be misinterpretation or paranoia on my part. I suspect that authors like myself with ten or more books published hear it more than new authors with just a few. It could be that readers who stick with a favorite author for a long time start to worry that eventually the author will disappoint them—because it’s inevitable that eventually it will happen. Believe me, as a reader, I know!

So when someone is reading my tenth or eleventh book and they get to the end, they might be thinking “Great! She wrote another story that didn’t disappoint me.” Then that thinking/language becomes part of the review or feedback or blurb.

Of course, I’d like to do better than just not disappoint my readers. I’d like to thrill them, mystify them, and make them think—among other things. I’m also grateful for every reader who has stuck with me through ten books…and for some, two additional unpublished manuscripts.

So I’m not complaining, just musing out loud and trying to understand.

Readers/reviewers: Do you use this phrase? What do you mean by it? Does the meaning varying depending on your expectations of the author?

Writers: How do you feel about this response to your work? Am I the only one who worries that it’s not quite a compliment?



3 Comments

  1. LJ, I’m sure it’s meant as a compliment. Especially with series, if we fell in love with Book One, then we have a bit of trepidation picking up every subsequent book. There’s a sense of – “How long can s/he sustain this?”

    I do see that phrase cropping up in my own reviews lately and it’s probably just the phrase du jour. Like “Best” was for so long as a closing for e mails. I hate “Best”, but… people just use it because they don’t know what else to say!

    Keep calm and keep writing.

    - Alex

  2. Karen Dionne wrote:

    I think Alex is right – the phrase means what it says: you won’t be disappointed if you read this book. That said, I can see why the implication that readers might be disappointed could get under your skin!

  3. L.J. Sellers wrote:

    Thanks, ladies! I know it’s a good thing, but I kind of wish reviewers would find another way to express their support. But again, I’m grateful to be read and reviewed!