Earth Dwellers Release, Fire Country Review, and a Guest Post by David Estes

September 05, 2013

Fellow reviewers aren't exaggerating: the world-building in this novel is incredible, as is the character development. Siena is both a realistic and lovable character whose perspective on life in Fire Country is positively enticing. I couldn't put this book down. (I stayed up until 5:30 AM to read this. 5:30 AM, people!) Aside from some notably out of character dialogue in the scene with Veeva (who is a wonderful character!) in Chapter Two and a handful of modern phrases/witticisms strewn throughout, Fire Country did away with the elements I wasn't completely stoked on in Estes' debut novel Angel Evolution. The book begins in media res ("in the middle of things"), and man does it suck you in. My jaw dropped. I got teary-eyed. I felt ALL THE FEELS.

I will be back for the second installment.
(P.S. As part of David's release party for The Earth Dwellers, Fire Country is free to download for a limited time! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more details. I enjoyed this book immensely and I bet you will too.)


I'm one of the lucky few who nabbed a guest post with the author himself! I suggested this topic to David because I was one of the negative reviewers of his debut novel, Angel Evolution. (Egads!) Without any further ado...

Surviving Negative Reviews (and maybe even learning from them!)

David Estes

I’m a writer. I’m a writer with negative reviews. Gasp! The horror!

Not really.

Negative reviews are NO BIG DEAL. Really. I promise. No one is going to die. No countries will be bombed. No one is going to contract the bird-flu or swine-flu or any-other-animal flu and get very sick as a result of you having received a negative review.

Sounds obvious when I put it that way, but I know as well as anyone else how hard it is to survive negative reviews, particularly early on in your writing career. I used to get VERY depressed from a negative review. My debut novel, Angel Evolution, got LOTS of—let’s stop using the word ‘negative’ and call them what they really are—BAD reviews. They hurt. Each negative review hit me like a punch in the gut, knocked the breath out of me, made me very very sad. My novel was supposed to be a bestseller! I worked WAY too hard for someone to read it and sum it up in a couple of paragraphs that said what rubbish it was! I don’t even know these people and they can just judge me like that?

Pretty much.

Honest reviews are part of the writing gig. Not everyone will like your work, and some people will hate it. The sooner you realize that, the better. The other thing you have to realize is: It’s OK that people don’t like your books! In fact, it’s a good thing! If everyone told you that your books were the best thing since piƱatas all the time, you’d never grow as a writer. I learn a hell of a lot more from the constructive reviews than from the glowing positive ones. Granted, I love the positive ones because they make me happy that people like what I do and validate all my hard work, but I don’t hate the negative reviews like I used to. I accept them, glean what I can from them, and strive to constantly improve my writing.

I know, I know, easier said than done. Let’s try this. Here’s a guide for Surviving Negative (bad, horrible, painful) Reviews:

1. Don’t read them unless you’re in a good mood! If you’re already in a bad mood, and you see a 1 star review pop up, wait until later to read it. Preferably when you’ve just laughed or done something fun. You have to be in the right mindset to receive constructive feedback.

2. It’s OK to rant and rave and get a little frustrated with things that were said in a bad review. Don’t hold it inside. Talk to your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, mother, father, whoever. Rant and rave about the review just like you would about the other frustrations in your life. It’s good to get these things off your chest.

3. Do NOT respond to the reviewer. Don’t. Just don’t. Not about any aspect of the review. Don’t thank them and say “but…” and then proceed to tell them why they are wrong. Even if you do it politely, it will NOT turn out well. Trust me. I’ve seen it happen to authors with good intentions, and they ALWAYS end up looking like the bad guy/gal.

NOTE: I have broken this rule on four occasions. However, I did it very carefully, in private, and for the right reasons. I contacted four negative reviewers to ask them if they would beta read my next book for me and provide the same critical/constructive feedback that they did in their negative reviews of my already published book. I did NOT challenge any part of their previous review, I did NOT ask them to change their rating/review, I merely said that I thought they had a good eye for detail and would make a good beta reader and that I’d appreciate their help, if they had time. On all four occasions those readers became beta readers and are now fans of mine. They help me hone my books and make them better for the ultimate readers. But the important take away from this story is that there are a lot of reviewers out there who write constructive feedback to HELP the author. Don’t dismiss their opinions so quickly.

4. If you’re really depressed and frustrated about a bad review, go to Goodreads and look at the 1 star reviews for one of your favorite books/authors. There will ALWAYS be 1 star reviews, usually LOTS of them. If even your favorite author gets bad reviews, then you shouldn’t feel bad about getting some too. This REALLY helps me sometimes.

5. Remember that some people who read your book won’t be in your target audience. So if they don’t like your book it makes perfect sense. No biggie. Just move on and seek out the readers who are more likely to enjoy the types of books you write.

6. Ignore the negative reviews with NO SUBSTANTIVE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK. One of my favorite negative reviews was a 1 star review that said, “I should have spent my $1 on a bag of chips.” That was it. I laughed, got a little angry, laughed again, and then ignored it. There was nothing to glean from that review that would help me in the future, so I just let it go.

7. Once you’re in the right mindset, re-read the negative reviews that you find useful. Focus on the constructive points that tend to come up again and again in reviews. If multiple readers think the same thing, then it’s probably something to work on in your writing. You have some options: you can either try to take the feedback on in your future books. Or you can revise/edit the book and re-release a new edition of it. That’s the beauty of the world we live in today. Nothing ever has to be “final.” I’ve released 4 versions of The Moon Dwellers so far, and now that I’ve landed an agent, we’ll be releasing a 5th version soon. There’s nothing wrong with trying to make your book better for future readers. Each time you’ll find your sales go up and your reviews get better.

8. Finally, for every negative review you read, try to read at least a few positive ones afterwards. That will remind you that, although you’re not a perfect writer (no one is!), that you do have talent that people appreciate. It will remind you that dealing with the negativity is WORTH IT when someone ENJOYS one of your books.

So you might be wondering whether I’ve managed to improve my writing from negative reviews? I think I have, and I’ve received many messages from readers who said they think each of my books is better than the last. And the stats about the first book in each of my YA series don’t lie either:

Angel Evolution- % of 1 and 2 star reviews- 12%
The Moon Dwellers- % of 1 and 2 star reviews- 6%
Fire Country- % of 1 and 2 star reviews- 3% (No 1 star reviews so far!)

See what I mean? Taking ALL reviews seriously works and it will pay off in the long run, so don’t get discouraged or frustrated. Your first book won’t be perfect, nor will your 15th book. The goal is to always improve and try to entertain your readers. Never forget that and you’ll be just fine!

All the best and happy writing!

David Estes


Your favorite Dwellers and Country Saga characters come together in this epic seventh book!
As President Borg Lecter threatens to annihilate the Country tribes in order to expand his glass-domed empire, Adele ventures into the belly of the beast. Her only hope of survival is the consolidation of Dwellers and Country power before it’s too late. Former demagogue President Nailin is eliminated, yet civil unrest infects every alliance. To save Adele, President Tristan faces his greatest challenge yet: unifying unfriendly Dwellers in the Tri-Realms to raise an army against Lecter. Meanwhile, Dazz must convince the Ice Country leaders to march with Siena and the Tri-Tribes on the gates of the Glass City. The world sits on the edge of a knife. Will Adele, Tristan, Dazz, and Siena defeat Lecter and his army of killers before the Glassies wipe them off the face of the Earth?

See where it all begun with The Moon Dwellers and Fire Country

To celebrate the release of The Earth Dwellers by David Estes, the fourth book in both The Dwellers series and Country Saga, David is giving away UNLIMITED free eCopies of Fire Country, book one in the post apocalyptic, dystopian, Country Saga. A little over a year ago, David published his first young adult dystopian series, The Dwellers, and it has changed his life forever. Since then, he’s gone from struggling Indie author to fulltime writer, he’s watched in amazement as his Goodreads fan group has swelled from 300 members to over 1,600, and growing. He's been featured on Buzzfeed, as one of the '15 Book Series To Read If You Enjoyed The Hunger Games', and has just signed on to Andrea Hurst and Associates literary agency. Andrea will we working with David to expand both the Dwellers and Country Saga, taking David's career to a whole new level.

So before the two series collide in The Earth Dwellers, grab the coupon code below and download your eCopy of Fire Country from Smashwords. Share the code with your family, friends and literary inclined pets. The only thing David asks for in return is that if you enjoy the read and continue on with the series, to please leave a positive review on, Goodreads and blogs for each of his books that you read.


Visit: Smashwords
Simply use the coupon code: WM49N and download your FREE eCopy.
Expiration Date: September 15, 2013


The Earth Dwellers will cap off an eighteen month journey that has taken me from unknown Indie author to still-mostly-unknown fulltime Indie author. The change is a subtle one for most people, but for me it’s a dream come true. To the hundreds (and now maybe even thousands!) of readers who have come along for the ride with me, either by reading the Dwellers Saga, the Country Saga, or both, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now down to business. There may be some of you who have only read the three books in the Country Saga or only the three books in the Dwellers Saga, and are now thinking you’ll read The Earth Dwellers, which is supposedly the 4th book in BOTH the Country Saga and the Dwellers Saga. Well, that’s awesome! However, I must highly recommend that before reading The Earth Dwellers that you read the three books in BOTH series. Trust me, doing so will greatly enhance your experience, as The Earth Dwellers will be taking significant characters from both series and crashing them together (yes, like a water country wave) into an action-packed tale of struggle and loss and hope and friendship… And maybe a little love, too.

The Country Saga
a Rafflecopter giveaway

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife and soul mate, Adele, who he’s now been happily married to for more than two years.

A reader all his life, David began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and has completed 13 novels, 11 of which have been published.  In June of 2012, David became a fulltime writer and is now travelling the world with his wife while he writes books, and she writes and takes photographs.

David gleans inspiration from all sorts of crazy places, like watching random people do entertaining things, dreams (which he jots copious notes about immediately after waking up), and even from thin air sometimes! Recently he’s been inspired by some of his favorite authors, like Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and Maggie Stiefvater.

David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, an obsessive Goodreads group member, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.  He loves responding to e-mails, Facebook messages, Tweets, blog comments, and Goodreads comments from his readers, all of whom he considers to be his friends.

Where you can find David Estes hanging out:
Blog/website Facebook page Goodreads author page Twitter

Other Young Adult Books by David Estes:
The Evolution Trilogy: Angel Evolution   Demon Evolution   Archangel Evolution

Children’s Books by David Estes:
The Nikki Powergloves Adventures: Nikki Powergloves- A Hero is Born    Nikki Powergloves and the Power Council    Nikki Powergloves and the Power Trappers    Nikki Powergloves and the Great Adventure   Nikki Powergloves vs. the Power Outlaws (Coming soon!)


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