First impressions: it hurt. Not so much because it was bad (although a little bit because of that) but mostly because I agreed. Ms Reviewer (a complete stranger) somehow spotted all the issues I struggled with over the 9 long months it took to bring the novel to life, all the flaws that appeared so glaringly to me, like clogged pores in a makeup mirror, and which I had almost managed to forget when my friends gave such a resounding cheer.
Ms Reviewer's main complaints: my pacing is off, the action rushes and slows with no apparent rhyme or reason. And I use too much passive voice (despite my constant battle against it). The one complaint I wasn't completely sure I agreed with was my apparent capital crime of "head-hopping".
Head-hopping, as I've just learned, is editor-speak for switching points of view. And a huge no-no if you want to get published. It doesn't even have to be extreme switching either. If I may quote from Ms Reviewer:
I once had someone (a bestselling author no less) tell me I'd been "head hopping" because I wrote that the "throat constricted" on one of my characters, and he thought that my POV character would not have been able to observe this. For good or ill, people have become downright paranoid about head hopping.Well. I don't know what to say about that really, except I guess it means my publishing future is doomed. At least now I know why.
After 24 hours the initial shock has died down, to leave room for something more positive. Who hasn't had a bad review? People whose books have never been read, that's who.
So my book is out there, for better or worse. Maybe it wasn't ready. Maybe there wasn't enough editing. Maybe no amount of editing would have made it publishable anyway. But at least it's being read. Some people will like it. Some won't.
And that's okay.