October 7, 2019
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I’ll tell you a little secret, although it’s not so much of a secret because this is far from the first time I’ve gone on about the topic. I’m not a fan of reviews as a reader. When I open a book, I’m going on an adventure, and I’d prefer to not have that adventure tainted with somebody else’s opinions, good or bad. So largely, I ignore reviews.
But as a writer, I know that reviews can be the breath of life for our books. Reviews, especially for the unknown author, are a doorway that tell readers if it’s safe to step into the house. Will there be a fire to keep warm? Food to energize? A bed or at least a comfy chair to find comfort in?
For now, I read reviews. I even have a review page on my blog so readers can have a convenient way to check out my books, and I post a thank you note on Facebook when I get a review, because I’m thankful that somebody took the time to try my book.
My books, like a lot of other indie books, are created on a dime. I have four kids to feed, and our family struggled a lot during the time I’ve been writing. So, there are always going to be the Snotty Dotties who look down on my work because I cannot afford an editor. And then there will always be the kind of hearts who read my books, see their potential, and support me. They know that I care deeply about my books, and that I personally want them to be the best they can be. They know that supporting an imperfect artist means that they are giving me a chance to continue to grow as a writer and have more resources to do what I need to do to grow my business. And I appreciate them with all my heart.
I’ve gotten down on myself before when I’ve had people look down on me as a writer, but here’s the deal: I’m not going to move forward in my profession by quitting just because somebody else decides I am not worthy. The only way I can get better is by accepting my faults and slowly working on them as I can. Besides, some of the people who have knocked me down for editing issues while celebrating how perfect their books are had other problems in their books.
I don’t think feedback is always a bad thing, but I do think that authors have to be careful. There’s good feedback that will grow you as a writer, and then there’s the type of feedback that’s not going to do anybody any good. I don’t ever mind when somebody gives me feedback that isn’t wrapped between slices of arrogance or ignorance.
I’ve mentioned before that my husband is the first reader of all my books, with the exception of Fervent Desolation. The reason I didn’t have him look it over was because I needed to complete that book on my own. I don’t recommend putting books out there that haven’t been seen by another human being, but it was one of those things I just had to do.
He’s reading it right now after giving me a hard time about having to wait. 😉 And of course, since it was written in pages and had a new publishing process, there are some formatting issues. It was fine on my end, but somewhere in the translation it got muddied up. Ugh. But anyway. Such is life. I’ll have to learn from it and move on.
Now, when my husband gives me feedback, it falls into three categories: 1) edits I was aware of, and that need to be taken care of, 2) edits that I was not aware of and that need to be taken care of; and 3) edits that ain’t going to happen just because a reader doesn’t like the choice I made.
My husband and I have actually had a time or two that we’ve gotten into an argument over something, or that my feelings got hurt. Of course, we can sleep with each other afterwards, so it’s all good. I cannot, however, sleep with all my readers or editors. So I’ve chosen to be positive about reviews instead. I try to learn from my mistakes, and I move on. I take things into consideration, but I don’t lose sight of my vision.
Good writers are not people pleasers. They are not censor buddies, either.
I am a huge cheerleader for other writers because I know how hard it is out there to get your book to readers. I know the struggles of pouring your heart for hundreds of hours into a project that might be faced with silence for years. I know how hard it is to try to publish on your own, learning the profession bit by bit as you can. I know. But you can do it!
To wrap this up, I know a writer who always posts their reviews, whether bad or good. I think that’s brave way to go. You aren’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, and you cannot force somebody to be positive or kind. So, my life advice for most things is: Own It. You are going to have good reviews, maybe some that you don’t always deserve. And you are going to have bad reviews, maybe some that you don’t always deserve. It’s a fact of life for writers.
Reviews are helpful, but passionate readers are the real key to the business. So love on your readers first and foremost. Have courage, dear heart, and write on!
To find out what the other authors this week want to say about reviews, explore the link below!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
P.S. Thanks for the reviews! You are my sunshine!