Archive for the ‘#reviews’ Tag

Refrain from Childish Behavior   15 comments

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

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How Dare You Criticize Me?

No book in literary history has been universally loved, which makes reading reviews scary and sometimes frustrating. I remember getting my first — and so far only — 1-star review. Ouch! It felt like I’d been spit on and the guy had totally gotten me wrong. I wanted to message him and correct his errors.

I’ve also had a good review where it was clear the person reviewing hadn’t read the book. Thanks for being nice, but — why? I wanted to message the reviewer and ask that question.

I didn’t. In either case. I still wanted to address the negative reviewer, but I know responding in social media would backfire on me, as would reaching out directly, and I’m not interested in getting into a battle with someone who is pissed because I gored his sacred cow. In the next book, in the author’s notes, I explained I think the military, absent its chain of command, would “go rogue” in an apocalyptic setting. I’ve got historical evidence on my side. It’s fiction. Maybe using a novel to point out the flaws of top-down command-and-control will prevent those flaws from becoming reality if the apocalypse ever does occur.

So, besides clarifying my position occasionally, how do I cope with reviews I don’t like?

Keep It in Perspective

Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, Susan Collins, and Kate Elliott have more bad reviews than I do. How do I know that? I read their reviews. They’ve got thousands of them and hundreds of them are negative. That doesn’t seem to have stopped them from being best-selling authors.

People are still buying Stephen King’s books despite his bad reviews. People are still reading and buying my books — and reading the next book in the series — despite that bad review. The ultimate review, in my opinion, is coin in my bank account and that’s happening … despite that bad review, despite the pointless review that didn’t make an ounce of sense. If people are still reading my books regularly, then I’ll accept an occasional bad review as the price of doing business.

Balance is Good Thing

If a book has 1,000 5-star reviews without a single negative one, that makes me suspicious that the publisher has somehow rigged the system and flooded the book site with fakes. I think having diverse reviews and ratings shows an author has diverse readers, and yeah, not everyone is going to like my book, my characters, or my writing style.

Don’t Shame Reviewers Online

I see authors sharing their negative reviews. I see them shaming the readers and the person who left that review. What do they think that behavior will achieve?

It doesn’t encourage me to read their book. It puts me off. It makes them come across as childish and unprofessional.

You get what I am saying, right? I know nowadays the authors interact more with readers and fans, but does that mean we should shame them because they happen to have an opinion we don’t like? Even if it is about our book? Even if they are unknown to us? Even if they left us a 1-star review that made us curl in a corner and cry, should an author push back against that?

I have never seen anything good come from an author sharing negative reviews on social media, so I don’t recommend it and I don’t do it.

Learn From The Negatives

I still read my reviews because I use them as a learning tool. If the negative ones have a them — they’re all saying the same thing — then there’s something there I might need to address in my writing, editing, whatever. I’m not going to change my opinion about what the unsupervised military would do in an apocalyptic event, but if someone brings up spelling, grammar, characterizations that are unrealistic, factual errors — every criticism is a learning opportunity, so I’d be a fool not to read them.

What About the Good Ones?

The majorities of my reviews are positive and sometimes I want to reach out and say “Thank you”, but I’m not convinced authors should reply to positive reviews either. Think about that. Stalking your readers – a little creepy, right? I think it might have a chilling effect on reviews. I don’t like the feeling of anyone looking over my shoulder when I’m doing anything. It’s probably something wrong with my sense of self-worth or whatever, but seriously, it bugs me. So why would I do that to someone else?

Honest reviews are hard enough to come by without setting up any barriers to readers leaving a review.

But hey, an occasional THANK YOU is classy, just keep it non-specific to all reviewers rather than addressing them directly.

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Posted October 7, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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