On readers and reviews

I have 312 reviews this morning on my latest book. They are entertaining if you don’t take them too seriously.
Let me tell a story about weighing other’s input too seriously.
When I was in high school I worked as a bus boy at a sort of a half restaurant / night club. The place had a lady playing requests on an organ at the center on a raised stage and she would sing on occasion.
They served some high end items but normal family dinner type things too.
The owner was cost conscious – which is good in a manager – but she had no FILTERS.
A 90 pound little old lady would say – Oh, honey your chicken dinner is wonderful but I can’t eat that much! She would immediately run into the kitchen and tell them to cut back the portions. Then a 300 pound truck driver would complain the chicken dinner left him hungry. Back to the kitchen she’d go…
One of my reviews today said the story went too slow like “drip coffee’.
The very next review said I flew through it too fast and it should have been three books.
You can’t make everybody happy and you will drive yourself and everybody around you crazy trying.
If you liked it well enough to finish it and not demand a refund I thank all of you. – Mac’

27 Responses to On readers and reviews

  1. Jerry October 17, 2021 at 1:08 pm #

    I was prepared to hate Fair Trade because I really wanted an April book. Instead I enjoyed it. I really like stories that break away from the repetitious plots that most authors have fallen into. Aliens contacting ATC for permission to land was brilliant!

  2. Kathleen Sanderson October 17, 2021 at 4:01 pm #

    I was prepared to love Fair Trade because I’ve loved all of your other books. It was even better than I expected — one of your best so far, in my opinion.

  3. Mickey October 17, 2021 at 8:56 pm #

    I’m not demanding a refund and might read a second book in the series, but I’m certainly not going to go around recommending it to people.
    I wouldn’t be so sure the two reviews you mention are contradictory – they may both have the same view just focused on different parts since IMO both are true.
    The book had too much setup dragging it out too much for a book of that length, and then zoomed passed the actual developments, with an occasional aside (like the relative strength of the two species) that would have been interesting if it was developed but instead had nothing come of it, turning it into more pointless setup.

    The book was IMO saved by interesting characters and several great scenes, which is why I think I might buy another book in the setting, but it was rushed and too with too much setup.

    • Mac October 18, 2021 at 4:49 am #

      I’ll think on all that and see how I might improve.

      • Sean Cleary October 18, 2021 at 9:20 pm #

        It was a wonderful novel approach to first contact.
        I go Thursday times were nothing seems fun. So maybe its me.
        The novel had places where it dragged/was a bit of a grind, but not as much as a few I had read recently. But also places of interest and fun, many in the start.nice ending, every thing tied up, but not revelation joy awesome
        Gave it max rating anyway, not much competition lately.

        • Mac October 23, 2021 at 7:43 am #

          “Not much competition.” Dear God so true. I read too. Most of the time I read a little of the preview most books offer (just above the cover on the sales page) and decide I’d rather do laundry or scrub the tub.

  4. Rick October 18, 2021 at 2:33 am #

    OMG! LOL!
    You just continue doing what you do. It works! I will continue to buy your books no mater how you decide to write them. Your story telling is engaging, enjoyable and creative enough that all I have to see is your name as author, and I buy it!

  5. john prigent October 18, 2021 at 5:31 am #

    I enjoyed it! It was a nice change from the usual ‘alien invasion seizes earth’/ ‘alien invaders slaughtered’ dichotomy.

  6. Dorcas Gray October 18, 2021 at 10:19 am #

    I enjoyed it! I always love your stories and think they are well written and flow nicely.

  7. Barry October 21, 2021 at 6:32 pm #

    I’m continually baffled by folks that think novels should be this way or that. If the writing flows and you were entertained, why bother being critical? 99% of the readers are not really qualified to give critiques beyond “I like” or “I don’t like”, any way!
    No book is perfect. I liked the April series better, but will definitely buy the next in this series, or any book that Mr. Chandler puts out. Please keep it going!

  8. John October 23, 2021 at 5:40 am #

    A good read. The acquisition of English through ATC was brilliant. The tweaking of the “mathematics as a universal language” was a laugh-out-loud passage too. Sorry, Carl.

    • Kevin November 1, 2021 at 3:57 am #

      Loved it too, then laughed harder when realized the used math in family law.

  9. J B October 28, 2021 at 2:18 pm #

    It reminded me of Gorden’s ‘Little Fleet’ negotiating with badgers.

    I was fully prepared to have you show world governments being completely awful to the aliens and I was surprised that you showed more restraint on their actions then you do in other series.

    There were a few lost threads… Early in the book you hinted the Aliens had some sort of nano-fabrication technology but we never saw it in action. The Alien ‘attack’ was rather rushed through and only really discussed in hind-sight.

    What I would have liked is to have a chapter or two with an Alien ‘lost’ in human society and its reactions to things we take for granted that might seem strange/barbaric to an Alien (Love to see one lost in Disneyland or on a roller-coaster). Would have worked if they aliens had some sort of shapeshift or cosmetic camo making them look human.

    I enjoyed the novel. Thanks.

    • Mac October 28, 2021 at 6:58 pm #

      MFJ – Maybe you should write a short about an alien in Disneyland. Sounds interesting.

      • J B October 28, 2021 at 7:22 pm #

        I have tried to write myself and I get stuck when I worry about making a plot mistake or some other technical detail gets me too worked up to finish. If I ever get a chance to jot it down I will send you a Google Doc link. Thanks. I left a 5 star rating for Fair Trade on Amazon, hope it helps as I think the book deserves the audience.

      • Mac March 28, 2022 at 8:54 am #

        They are in the front office.

  10. Kevin November 1, 2021 at 3:54 am #

    Like some posted above was not going into fair trade happy. I Want My APRIL…. However you had another 5 star hit. I read one review on another author that was 1 star and the author only had one other 5 star so that one review dropped it down to a 3 star review. The complaint was the dog was killed. Had to read see what she was talking about. The dog was a bomb sniffing dog that was, what for it….killed by a bomb, plus was a minor character in the story. Also found it funny she had no problem with the humans that were killed before said scene, or during. The book was part of the Cambridge annexit series, forget what book.

  11. Brad November 1, 2021 at 10:03 pm #

    Excellent approach and enjoyable read as always; thank you.

  12. Jim November 2, 2021 at 5:20 pm #

    Good read, maybe didn’t grab me as hard as April and FL, but that’s not an issue with the story, its just my preference. For sure I will buy further books in this universe, might draw me in further. Thank you for keeping us entertained and escaped from reality.

  13. Mike November 7, 2021 at 4:09 pm #

    I really enjoyed it, like all of your books.

    I was just looking for “The Way Things Seem” but it’s not available on Kindle, have you withdrawn it?

    • Mac November 12, 2021 at 6:21 am #

      Yes, I had some objections to it as having an identifiable character.

    • Dan March 27, 2022 at 11:54 pm #

      My only complaint with the book it’s gonna be a long time before I get to read the sequel. No matter how short a time that is, it’s gonna be too long!

  14. Clarke November 10, 2021 at 5:41 pm #

    609 ratings as of today. Average 4.6 stars

    I’d call that pretty bloody great Mackey!

    • Mac November 12, 2021 at 6:35 am #

      Thank you. It has sold really well. It’s still in the top 100 Science Fiction today. I’ve started a sequel to write while I do April 13. I like having two to switch back and forth. I got an actual useful complaint that I switched spelling on a name and I corrected that.

  15. jay November 12, 2021 at 1:50 pm #

    Keep it up. I enjoyed this one, read it first day out.
    I have like everything you have done but of course, more April please.

  16. Dave Down Under December 4, 2021 at 8:08 am #

    I often hang around Sci- Fi blogs and read comments about my favourite characters/books/authors that make me wonder if they are actually the same books I read. According to others, all of my favourite characters seem to be ‘too Mary Sue or Marty Stu’, the books ‘too short or too long’, the author ‘too verbose or too laconic’. I’ve come to the conclusion that we should all just be grateful that there are so many people out there willing to put their different work out for us to read, and from there it’s just best to choose what you enjoy and maybe take recommendations from people with similar taste. We all seem to have our ‘reading rules’. My main rule is a competent protagonist who doesn’t suddenly become incompetent. I can read David weber’s over-abundance of information or CR Daems total lack of pretence at any hard science and still enjoy. In the last few years, Mackey has become my favourite author because of the happy middle ground between sci-fi as a setting and hard sci-fi practicality, fascinating plots with well-rounded characters. Thanks, Mackay!

  17. Clay boyd January 2, 2022 at 4:17 am #


    If only you could write as fast as I can read 🙁

    I usually read KU books, then buy the ones I like…. Well, I have all of yours except “The Way Things Seem” which I’ve read 6 or 8 times. I still have it in KU and will keep it forever…. And enjoy it again and again…

    I really loved “Fair Trade” and am anxiously awaiting the next in a new series! Please, please!

    Thanks for the entertainment,
    Clay Boyd

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