Reviews—they can have you smiling on cloud nine for an entire week, or cause a dreadful sigh heard around the world.
Often in an author interview, I’m asked, “Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?” And one of my answers is always: “Be prepared. Not everyone is going to like what you create”. I feel a few nods of agreement—I also heard a gasp. Sorry, but it’s true—you will have your critics.
Our biggest fantasy as authors is that once we hit that publish button, the whole world will embrace and applaud our literary genius, and all those 5 star reviews will come pouring in. New York Times Bestseller’s list here I come. Now, get back down here to reality so we can go over the two types of negative reviews, and how we can best handle them:
First, there’s the constructive review. They tend to point out our flaws as an author, and tell us where our weaknesses lie. That’s not bad, but it can still smart a little. Whether you use Beta-readers or go straight to reviewers, we can learn from them. You may have a problem with; sentence structure; using present-tense and past-tense in the same paragraph (my biggest problem); saying the character’s name in just about every sentence; or too many point of views.
Then there’s the nasty review—oh, yes, you will get them. They could be comments about your name, a jab at your book’s title, or simply because the heroine is bi-racial. I remember when I received my first one. Number one, it ruined my day. And two, I wanted to contact the reviewer and ask what in the world does that have to do with the storyline? Bad idea. Do not—I repeat—DO NOT contact reviewers because you didn’t like the sarcastic remarks they made, or any remark you don’t agree with for that matter.
This author reacted to a one-star review..
Here’s some good advice I was given from some fellow Goodreads’ authors:
When you get a negative review, it often tempts others to read your book to see if they agree. Even a negative reference to your book is good exposure. Take such reviews as a badge of honor. You want a variety of honest reviews, because nothing but 5 stars is cause for suspicion. The reviewers just aren’t your type of readers; you want to attract the ones who get you.
Good advice, right? It has sure helped me change my way of looking at reviews and how I react to them. Instead of vowing to never write another book again, and allowing it to ruin my day, I look at it differently. If there’s something I can learn from, I’m thankful; if it’s harsh, I just smile and let it pass (after I give the written review a piece of my constructive opinion, of course — hey, I’m human.).
So, you’re going to get some bad reviews, that’s okay. Just be happy about those who can’t wait for your next book to be released. Remember, even the most perfect book in the world, the Bible, has its critics.