Confession time…



This week my conscience encouraged me to visit my local church to make confession, to seek absolution for my misdeeds. It just feels so right that my priest is a world-weary Irishman with a fondness for the drink.

Welcome, my son. What brings you to church today?

I come to seek forgiveness father, for I have sinned.

I see. And what form did this sin take, my son? Is this about the sheep again because…?

No father. I’m over her.

I’m glad to hear it, my son. God does not approve of…. Anyway, go on.

I’m a CWAP.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

A Crime Writing Author Publisher, father.

Oh. That’s not sinful. Unless you write shite. But that’s not for me to judge. That’s up to the readers.

I haven’t finished, father. I’m a CWAP. One of the cardinal rules of being a CWAP is never get shirty with a reader.

And you did?

Yes, father.

Perhaps you should tell me all about it and we will see what is to be done.

This week I received a comment on my blog…

What’s a blog?

It’s like a little plot of virtual land in cyber space, father.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. (The sound of glass touching glass followed by the gentle trickle of liquid leaving a bottle filtered through the dividing screen.) You were saying, my son?

I received a comment from a reader of one of my books that went like this:

I love books of all kinds … but your book was poorly written. I quit after 3 pages but the book did receive a first for me … it was the first book I have ever deleted from my quite full kindle list. Please try again but this time hire a brilliant editor and you just might have a chance.

I tried to ignore it father. I didn’t approve it. I deleted it and marked it as spam. I know the world is full of bastard trolls who hide behind their computer screens spewing out their virtual puke with no thought for the injury and pain they cause. But I couldn’t forget it. It gnawed away at me. What was the book? What was her problem with it? Who the fuck does she think she is to leave a nasty, spiteful comment like that on my fucking blog?

Language, my son, and God thanks you to keep your voice down. That’ll cost you three Hail Marys.

Sorry father.

What happened?

I replied, father. I always reply to comments on my blog.

Was that wise? What form did your reply take, my son?

You recently commented on my blog about one of my books (you didn’t mention the title). I was wondering, are you a real person or was it just malicious spam? You see, I just can’t believe that anyone would seriously take the time and trouble to write such a nasty, mean-spirited comment. Unless that person was a total bitch, of course. Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you.

PS Just in case you are a real person, perhaps you could let me know the title of the book and exactly what it was about it that bothered you enough to feedback so spitefully. 🙂

That is indeed sinful for a CWAP. But fair play to you for standing up for yourself. Did she respond, at all?

She did

Nope, not a robot.  And this is the first time I’ve complained about a book on a blog.  

The book was “Dirty Business”.  What I didn’t like was the ambiguous (as in “not expressed clearly” definition of the word) introduction.  Instead of catching my attention and wanting me to continue reading it left me with such a blah feeling that I honestly couldn’t make it past the first few pages.  Which is why I suggested some good editing so that the introduction … and possibly the rest of the book, though I cannot judge the rest as I didn’t read it … would be a compelling read.  

Consider me a bitch, or consider it constructive criticism, it really doesn’t matter to me either way.  But if you take it as constructive criticism remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression with a book, as with all things in life, so make the introduction pop.  That is why the tv shows that start with a well crafted gory scene and then go from there last for numerous seasons (i.e. CSI shows).  They capture the audience and make it so they have to stay to the end to find out what happened.

Peace out.

Did you respond?

I did

Thank you for your reply. I’m glad of it. And a little perplexed. What I now don’t understand is why you couldn’t have made that constructive and focussed criticism in your original comment on my blog. If you had said the things that you have in your email I would have happily approved your comment. Here is what you did write:

I love books of all kinds … but your book was poorly written. I quit after 3 pages but the book did receive a first for me … it was the first book I have ever deleted from my quite full kindle list. Please try again but this time hire a brilliant editor and you just might have a chance.

If you had nothing better to do with your time than to trawl through the comments on the blog you would see that I always welcome constructive criticism and I always respond positively. In fact, may I share something with you from the back of my books? (You wouldn’t have seen it as you didn’t get to the end.) I invite readers to give me constructive feedback.


Firstly, thank you for taking a chance on downloading this book. I hope you found something in it to enjoy.

Secondly, I invite you to visit me at where you can find out more about other books I’ve written. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter .

Thirdly, if you enjoyed the read, please leave a comment to that effect with the retailer you obtained it from. That sort of thing is really important for an indie author/publisher. Readers’ comments are all we’ve got to go by. Alternatively, I would be genuinely pleased to receive any comments, corrections or suggestions regarding any aspect of this book and my writing at the web address above where I have made a page available for feedback.

Best wishes

Oliver Tidy

I’ve been writing for long enough now to understand that one simply cannot please all the readers all the time. It doesn’t matter who you are. I accept that. I also accept that if a reader tries one of my books, even something they downloaded for free, then that entitles the reader to have their say on it. But, I do think that readers should not abuse or take lightly this right. Hating the read is fine. However, if you must pass negative comment can I suggest that it is done in a way that is fair, constructive, focussed and helpful. It’s much nicer than the alternative. And the world needs more nice.



Did she respond?

She didn’t.


Not a word, father, and I’m sorry for that because I believe we could have mended fences. Am I to be absolved, father?

Let me think a moment. For getting shirty with a reader, three Our Fathers and a couple of Hail Marys ought to do it. In future try to rise above it. And just remember for every shit bag in the world there are a hundred good people. Next…


23 thoughts on “Confession time…

  1. LOL So glad you found a way to get that off your chest. Much better than letting it fester.

    Her loss. Sadly she’ll never know the many treats she’s missed. Fortunately your many fans do not require blood, guts or 3rd world war apocalypse on the first two pages to grab their attention……..but then your latest closely guarded secret work in progress may come to shock us all!
    Love Bee

    • Hi Bee,
      Thanks for your comment and for your kind words. I’ll stick with what I do for the time being.
      As for the next one out I do hope ot provides a shock or two, but in a good and non-violent way. 🙂
      Best wishes.

  2. Hi Oliver, like other commenters here, I noted how this lady clearly wanted gratuitous violence in first sentence otherwise she was off. As a writer of mystery books that steer steer away from graphic descriptions of violence, I tend to fall foul of readers such as this lady. Please continue as you are doing, books that weave a story and build characters will always have greater longevity.

    • Hi Kath
      Thanks for your comment.
      I agree with you over the violence aspect. I’ve never really felt the need to get gory in my writing (only when responding to readers’ comments 🙂 ). I don’t like to read it either. Less is more for me. Characters and dialogue is where my interests lie for story telling.
      Best wishes.

  3. This is fabulous. I keep seeing David saying great things about your books and after this I must read one. If you write books like your blog you have won me over straight away.
    What an ace reply. I have only liked not retweeted but will if you like. Just let me know. Have a great weekend

    • Hi, Sue
      Thanks for your comment. David appears to have a soft spot for me – I have no idea why but I’m happy and he is exceptionally supportive of us lesser knowns, as you’ve probably seen.
      My later R&M books do have more of my humour in them. I didn’t find my stride with that series until halfway through book two, so the first one is a little more serious.
      I’m very happy for any likes, comments and retweets I can get, thank you.
      All the best.
      PS If you fancy having a run at the R&M Files the first one is permanently free through Amazon. 🙂

      • Hi Oliver
        I shall go and get your first one but will be mid to late February before I can read as diary full until then. I’m afraid I shall read with a smile on my face just thinking of your response to this lady.
        Thank you. I am already looking forward to review 😊😊

  4. Not all authors books can suit every one ,but you should take time to ether push further into a book or explore the other things the author has done.
    I am not a fan of deep state but that does not mean it’s not well written it’s just a matter of taste.

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree: if a reader is going to actually comment somewhere on a book they should at least give it a chapter or two. And absolutely, reading is a matter of personal taste. I start lots of books that I quickly understand aren’t hooking me but that doesn’t mean they are poorly written.
      Best wishes.

  5. Morning Oliver,
    Three ‘How’s yer Fathers’ and two ‘Bloody Marys’ is not enough in my opinion. You need at least one hour of self-flagellation 🙂
    On a more serious note: I’ve just got back to my writing routine after taking eight weeks off to recover from a hip replacement. I left a book half finished in September and it still has no title. But, like you have said yourself, the break was worth it, as I did manage to do more research.
    But getting back to that crit – if you can call it a crit – I actually trawled through my kindle to find Dirty Business again and began reading it. I had read the first chapter before I actually put it down as I wanted to read on, so really I don’t know what the person was on about. The writing is tight: nothing wrong with the editing: and it did make me want to go on even though I’ve read it before.
    Such a diatribe of negativity is not on, and a serious reader would not deign to write such a bitter response. But as I’ve found out lately myself, there are some horrible people out there. One I encountered when out shopping three weeks after my surgery. Here I was hobbling into a shop on crutches when this young man cut me up which made me stop dead in my tracks. He had the audacity to swear at me for getting in his way. My response was to verbally attack him with words that are not becoming of a lady of mature years, and if he had turned on me I was ready to beat him about the head with one of my crutches. People like that can get me so riled, and being temporarily disabled certainly was an eye-opener.
    My motto is, if you can’t say something pleasant or constructive then keep your mouth shut, but I too lapsed on that one occasion. I’m still self-flagellating at my own outburst and will carry on with the ‘How’s your fathers’ after a few ‘Bloody Marys.’
    Best wishes as always.
    Pat. 🙂

    • Hi Pat,
      Always lovely to hear from you. My best and sincere wishes for your continued recovery from the op. Ouch. Just the idea of being opened up for something like that makes my knees go.
      I’ve realised a temptation in myself to write a book and then want to get it out quickly (The book). It’s a temptation to resist. Leaving it in a drawer for a few weeks/months and then going back to it can really help to see it in a clearer light. I’m making a good break from anything I finish a must for me these days.
      Thanks for your kind words for DB. I honestly felt her criticisms were rather harsh for such a meagre sampling. I quite understand that anyone can see that maybe it’s not for them after one page but that is not a good enough basis to leave a comment. Not on my blog anyway. 🙂 That’s like climbing in my kitchen window and taking a dump on the floor.
      Good for you for calling that selfish young man out. Some people need to hear some truths sometimes.
      How’s your fathers and bloody Marys haha that’s a religion I could get into.
      All the best. X

  6. I have just reread the first pages of Dirty Business and I found it set the scene of the story and the thread through the rest of the series, of course she has missed out now.

    By the way when are we going to see a new work from your pen.

    Trevor Smith

    • Hi Trevor,
      Thanks for your comment and vote of confidence for DB. Much appreciated.
      My next book should be available for preorder in early December. It’s called Cold Kills and is something new for me, as in it’s not from one of my series. Just an idea I couldn’t leave alone.
      Best wishes.

  7. Well Oliver, you know only too well that I take no prisoners and will say what I think about your books but I simply cannot understand why someone would be so rude after only a couple of pages. Yes, sometimes a book which doesn’t grab from the off does turn out to be a dead duck, but it is always worth pushing on for a while. I can’t tell you how many gems I would have missed if I had worked to that criteria. I am now suspicious that maybe she thought you would refund the download price (assuming she paid for it)

    You have always responded very well to constructive criticism – just as well considering what people on here have told you 🙂 but I don’t see why she should get away with such unwarranted sniping. I don’t know how she found a chink in your armour, but she obviously got to you because you are also generally polite even to people who leave bad reviews. I don’t blame you for being put out about this one though but am glad that you are able to maintain a sense of humour about it.

    Now get back to the writing – I have been Oliver-less for far too long. 🙂

    Take care

    • Hi Dawn,
      Always good to hear from you.
      I agree, you have to give a book a chance. Like you, I’d have missed out on some great reads if I hadn’t persevered for a chapter or two.
      She did get to me. That chink in my armour 🙂 I really have tried to limit my engagement with less satisfied readers over the years – after my first flush of boyish enthusiasm – but i couldn’t let that go. I really don’t know why she didn’t get back to me. I wish she had. We could have patched things up, perhaps.
      My sense of humour is what keeps me going sometimes. We all need to hang to that, I think.
      Cold Kills is nearly there. I’ll be listing it for preorder when I get back to Turkey next week. (Back in UK for a flying visit.)
      Best wishes and take care. 🙂

  8. Mr. Tidy:
    I hope you are having a great week.
    I’m a spy action and suspense thriller writer, and I have three series on the go: Justin Hall, Carrie Chronicles, and Jennifer Morgan. I was wondering if you would be interested in joint promotions to our readers’ mailing lists.
    The way it would work is that I would promote your book, Dirty Business, to my mailing list, which has about 6,000 readers. They can get you book for free by joining your mailing list. In turn, you would do the same with your mailing list—offer them a free book from one of my series if they join my mailing list. We write in similar genres, so our readers would be likely to enjoy our works, and these joint promotions could be a way to increase our readership.
    Let me know your thoughts about this idea or any other joint promotion. What are some other strategies you’ve found useful?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Ethan Jones –

    • Hi Ethan,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      It’s a great idea and one that I’d be willing to participate in if… I had a mailing list. I don’t. It’s my one big regret that i didn’t sort that out from the beginning. I know it makes sense and I understand that it’s pretty fundamental to informing existing readers about new releases but I just never got around to it. My blog doesn’t even have a large regular following. So while I envy you your impressive and sizeable list I wouldn’t be able to offer anything in return.
      All the best with your writing and thanks for the thought.

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