Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Good, The Bad, & the Meh.

It's Quiz Time, friends! Please Choose the Correct Response:

a) You should never read your reviews! (Did I stutter? N-O)
b) You should read all of your reviews! (Even the horrible reviews because crying builds character!)
c) Pay someone else to read your reviews! (There's got to be some schmuck that needs the money, right?)
d) Pretend they don't exist. (While you're at it, pretend you're a UNICORN! Ooh, so sparkly!)

Let's be honest, I have no idea which is the correct answer. However, I'm not coming to writing from I-live-in-my-mother's-basement-and-I-sleep-on-Star-Wars-sheets. I've been out in the big, bad world and plenty of strangers have walked into my classroom and expressed their opinions about what I do well, badly, very badly, or not at all. I'm used to it. I can deal.

That's not the case with every writer. Below are a few examples of actual reviews. How you deal with them will define how you interact with your public:
  • It's not enough like the original.
  • It's too much like the original.
  • I didn't connect with the characters.
  • I didn't like the characters.
  • I HATE love triangles!

How should you respond? Generally, it's best to be as gracious as you can, suck it up when you have to, and leave it alone if it's truly negative or hateful. If the issue is really important, use your blog/website to address it and open a positive dialogue. (Like that last one. It totally needs a rebuttal!) But NO RANTING. We are professionals. Ranting makes you look like a no-good crazy person.  Does anybody want to be that guy? Above all, remember that even if they're bad reviews, they're from people who READ your book! That's a compliment in itself.

That being said, people have primarily been complimentary about my little book. Even those who said some uncomplimentary things wound up saying they couldn't wait to see what I come up with next. I can live with that.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite reviews/excerpts from the Becoming Beauty Blog Tour:
Let it Be and Celebrate! Seriously, the picture KILLS me! And this blogger has a first hand view of life with a writer.
Enchanted by YA The review at the top is lovely! A perfect snippet for readers looking for something new, fun, and different. I adore that!
Lydia Thomas, Author Lydia is a gem!  Not only did her review lift my spirits, but she wasn't even part of my blog tour, she just heard about Becoming Beauty, picked up a copy, and posted her own review. How awesome is that? And Austenesque? I can handle that.
Getting Your Read On I love how she views the theme of transformation! As a writer, I meld my personal philosophies into the story without shoving them down anyone's throat. Happily, no one has responded negatively to that! Phew!
I Love to Read & Review Books One of the first reviews I received! I love the exuberance of the reviewer. That's what I want to elicit in readers.

Here's the takeaway from this kindergarten teacher turned writer: 
Listen to your reviewers, but don't freak out. (Just please don't listen to the crazy ranting ranters. They don't need any more encouragement.) If you notice any trends, that's either something you're awesome at or something you should work on. Acting on it will make you more skilled in your field. That's what happens when you genuinely let people in and allow yourself to grow as a writer. 

And hey, who knows when the AMAZING reviews will turn a crap day into sunshine. It's happened to me, and from complete strangers, no less. There is nothing more fantastic that opening up Amazon or Goodreads to find out you have another fantastic review. It's what we thrive on and good or not, it will keep readers coming our way.

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Thanks for reading! Follow the embedded links above to learn how to deal with the dramas of being a writer or to read the full reviews on the writers' websites. Happy reading!


  1. Haha..what fun! reviews, love em or loathe them..they're there for a purpose. And that is to alert other readers to what is/is not a good read. In your opinion. I have soem CRACKING reviews that make me stop and think: Wow! Do I really write like that! And a very few that make me go *headdesk*. D&D has something like 54 Five/Four star reviews and 2 ONE stars sitting forlornly and daftly at the bottom. Both acquired when the book was (and I stopped it very quickly on a free promo. I so agree that you suck up the bad stuff, though. Far too often I read FB posts where some writer is almost threatening to murder a reviewer for leaving an honest.though clearly WRONG opinion of their precious work. Sistah, once it has left your laptop it is no longer yours. I always console myself with the thought that (pace my 2 one star babes) you may not have enjoyed it, but 1. You bought it. and 2. you read it.

    1. Right, Carol? I do have to remind myself that I would not finish a 1🌟 book and if they did, good heavens, bless their souls. I can't manage it. And if I don't finish it, I won't review it, but that's me. Thanks, Carol dear!