To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Grabbed it the day after it came out. Wildly varying reactions to the essays, from "sounds interesting, but doesn't sound like it'll work for my situation" to "welp, that that was the kick in the pants I needed, thanks". My biggest overall takeaways (keeping in mind that they were very useful for me and where I'm at with writing):
The amount of writers that came close to giving up, and how much persistence seems to factor into getting published overall. Before I started reading things like this book and the forum and listening to the podcast, I always figured that either you were a talented writer or you weren't, and if you weren't, no amount of persistence could get you published. Now I have a ton of information indicating otherwise: you can improve as a writer, there are editors that may even be rooting for you as an individual, and it may not be that your story is no good - it may just be that the publication wants a bigger name so they can sell easier. I believe that last one was from your essay, and it was so relieving to know that.
David Farland's tip to take your chances and start submitting early. He's right - it can't hurt anything. The worst you can get is a no. I started doing that with WotF. They got the first short story I ever finished. It sucked and they rejected it, but at least I submitted something. The whole point is you never know until you submit.
One of the craziest things to me was how wildly different each author's path to publishing was. Some were only ever traditionally published, some only indie published, some only self published, and others who alternated between two or three of the above. And all of that is really cool! All of them did exactly what was right - for them. One or more of those author's could have taken a path that was completely wrong for me and if I tried to follow it, I'd fail. David's essay put it perfectly: "You find a door into publishing, and as soon as you get through, the door disappears behind you." I know there are plenty of people who would find this discouraging, but I'm not one of them. It actually made me feel great! What I take from this is that no one should feel bad for deviating from the traditional path to publishing, because there isn't one. You're taking your path. Other writers can give you the tools to find the next part of your path, but you're the only one that can decide which tools are right for you.
Another thing that stuck out to me: publishing a novel with a big five company is not the definition of success. It could be a big flop even if it does happen. Or it could never happen. Maybe you decide to self publish, or find an indie publisher. All of these things are fine and dandy! But you have to define success for yourself. Do you want to publish enough to make a living? Do you want to just do it as side income? Do you want nothing more than to make someone out there feel something because of your story, even if you never get paid? I think all of these are legitimate goals for different people, but you have to make the goal or you're just going to end up floundering and not knowing where to go next.