There Is No Reason Anyone Would Ever Pick Up This Comic Book
The first thing I ever wrote that was released into the wild was a self-published comic book. There's probably a hundred comic book review sites and I must have emailed and called every one of them to let them know my book was coming out. Thanks to the artists I paired up with we had stunning CGI artwork that was bound to get us some attention, and it did. People did take notice. I was excited to read reviews, and the very first line of the very first review I read said exactly this:
“There is no reason anyone would ever pick up this comic book.”
That is not the most promising start to my writing career. No reason? Not the groundbreaking CGI? Not the cool epic space adventure with a cliff-hanger ending? Not the colorful over-the-top characters and situations? Not reason at all?
As I continued reading, the reviewer said positive things about the artwork, then said positive things about the story. Actually, he said a ton of positive things about both. I would go so far as to call it a glowing review save for the first line and the fact that he seemed unimpressed with the image we chose for the cover. I finished the review and thought, What the hell? If he liked everything then why would he say that no one should buy my book?
Then I figured it out. He didn’t say no one should buy it, he said he didn’t see why anyone would ever pick it up. He meant “pick it up” literally. He didn’t think the cover was impressive and his first line was meant to convey that it was a pity that such an otherwise great book was never going to be seen by a lot of people who would skip over it because the cover didn’t grab them.
The irony, as I see it: A lot of people don’t look past the cover of a comic if that cover isn’t good, and a lot of people also don’t read past the first line of a review that says, “There is no reason anyone would ever pick up this comic book.” By starting with that line he was doing to my book the exact same thing he was criticizing me for doing.
Of course, you don’t get far by getting angry with reviewers, so I sent him an email profusely thanking him for the time and attention he put into reading and reviewing my book, asked his opinion on what kind of cover would work better in his opinion, and mailed him a copy of the second issue (with a much more dazzling cover) when it was finished. His review of the second issue was full of praise, this time starting with the very first line.