I confess I purchase what the hive mind deems commercially good for my kindle sometimes. I’ll look at #1-10 of a genre and buy those books and then see if they do with their craft what the critics say they are supposed to be doing. [Commercial success is a viable indicator of that: Though most books get by on their merits, some of them have no business being a commercial success, and maybe there’s a lesson there.]
Something, I’m not sure what, happened in the last tale I read. It started out a little infodumpy, and in first person. I didn’t like the lead character much. Nevertheless, I pushed through the opening of the novel and it finally began to expand and I could see where it was driving me, and thus I finished it at 2 am last night. Giant space wars? Had ’em. Exciting protagonist? Had it. Conflict? All over. Set backs? Had ’em. Just when the situation couldn’t get worse, it did. Pacing, 5 stars AFTER you got through the beginning.
At first I thought it was that book everyone warned me about, the one where the author didn’t know anything about what he was writing and gained dozens of legitimate one-stars. Thanks, narrow-minded Amazon reader villagers with pitchforks! This story, however, had not had a plethora of one stars, so the beginning baffled* me. Bull through, I thought. It must get better or this wouldn’t sell so well.
The lesson? You can do well, even if parts of your book are marginal or barely adequate, as long as the rest of the prose is a proper roller-coaster. As Junie B. Jones would say, Probably.
* Please note that “baffled” is a term of art used by the media to refer to policemen, detectives, and law enforcement when they don’t know something. I’m none of those things, but I didn’t know something so I’m going to use it anyway. Just like owning more than one firearm means you have an “arsenal.”