Monday, October 13, 2014

Authors and Reviews - How We REALLY Feel


Naturally, if every bit of it is glowing, we cheer, nod, and say, "This person is brilliant!"

But what about when part of the review isn't all party cakes and rainbows?

Well for me, I'd say I have a LOVE-LEARN relationship with reviewers and reviews.

Some authors I know stopped reading reviews because it makes them sad/angry/vengeful or (fill in the blank). And ain't nobody got time for that, right?

But not me.

I can't wait to read them. I purposely didn't call it a "love-hate" relationship because that's not usually the way I feel when I read reviews about my novels. (Unless of course it seems like the reviewer has a personal vendetta against me from my high school days, or they only read the first two chapters....then I might not be so forgiving.)

And to be perfectly honest,  maybe I do hate it a little when I read negative things. After all, it did take me two years of writing and revising to finish the book, so it's human nature for some comments to sting a little. But overall, I think of it as a learning experience. Maybe because I've been a teacher my whole life...?

So here's the scoop:

I LOVE when reviewers read my books, flattered they spent their precious time choosing my book to read. I LOVE when they LOVE it and share their view of it with the world. that effect, a giant thank you to book reviewers, librarians, and friends who post reviews for my books on Goodreads, Amazon, and/or Barnes & Noble.

What I might not love is when they spot flaws in my characters, world-building, plot, or endings. But there are things I don't love in other books I've read, so why wouldn't others feel the same way about mine? The trick is to try and objectively view the review as if it weren't about my book, and to realize that the different tastes in reading material is what helps keep novels diverse.

Easier said than done.

Here's what I do when I read a review:

1) Look at the final, overall rating to prepare myself whether it will be meh, good, or great.
2) Read it quickly once and react however I'm feeling (but don't share that with anyone).
3) Read it a second time, but this time, I read it as if my editor is giving me advice about things I need to address.
4)  I note the things they liked and/or disliked.
5) If more than one person said the same thing, I'm definitely going to try to make sure that, in the future, those same flaws have been addressed.

If you're a reviewer, do you worry about how you phrase a negative review, or is it more fun to dish it dirty and not think about the author? Is there any sort of etiquette involved?

And if you're an author, do you read your reviews? Why or why not?

Til next time,

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