For openers, no matter how carefully you provide a summary of what your novel is all about, you’re subject to a number of filtering systems that seem to fall into three categories.
In my own case and for some unknown reason, the initial responses came from those who like to make cursory, snap judgments. For example: “I don’t really go for handyman types who have no business solving crimes. But I really go for vampire stories like the one I posted last week which was really hot and sexy.” Needless to say, all you can do is hope remarks like these won’t find their way onto Amazon and Goodreads.
Next, there are reviewers who get so involved they tend to want to alter the narrative: “I really loved Jed. He reminded me of some guys I knew. But I didn’t like those state policemen who were so mean to him.” In other words, without realizing it, this woman wanted to change what was driving Jed out of his comfort zone. On one hand, it’s always good to know you’ve created a central character readers can relate to. On the other hand, if you’re governed by how readers might personally react to the given circumstances, your tale will never be truthfully self-generating.
At best are the hosts who can pull back and function as bone fide reviewers, offering meaningful comments for potential readers and a critique a writer can at least ponder over: “I think a good story brings you in, doesn’t let you go, and when it’s over you think about it for days if not more. The author of Murder Run has a way of plying you with bouts of suspicion and conspiracy that keep you coming back until the very end.”
Even if these latter two lines were part of a mixed review or even a negative one, they stem from a source that is actually applying standards. Giving you something to consider re: your craft at this point in your creative journey.
To be fair to the tour runner, there’s a takeaway from the entire gamut. You can begin to zero in on your special readership. You can think about the correlation between what you tried to do and how it seems to be coming across. On balance, if nothing else, it’s what happens when you take a chance and throw yourself out there.