Why I Heart All Reviews
One of the coolest things about being a writer is getting reviews. I didn’t realize just how much I’d love them, but once they started coming in, I read each and every one. Yes, even the negative reviews. Good and bad reviews means that people are reading my book, and that’s the best feeling in the world. This might sound weird, but the more people who read my stories, the more real the characters become to me, and I absolutely love that other people enjoy reading about McKenzie’s life just as much as I do.
I know some authors don’t feel the same way I do about reviews, though. They’re terrified of them. They stay far away from Goodreads and Amazon. Some even have a spouse or friend read reviews first and ask them to only forward the positive ones to them. Maybe I’ll be like that in the future if most of my reviews are really bad, but right now, I don’t need a filter. The bad reviews don’t bother me.
Now, if you know me in real life, you’re probably as surprised as I am by that fact. I have a terribly low self esteem. Always have. I think it’s a little better now that I can admit to that – I realize some of my self criticism is unfounded – but I always thought negative reviews would crush me. I’d curl up into a fetal position and bawl because everyone hated my book. Very soon after The Shadow Reader was published, though, I read one of my all time favorite reviews on Goodreads.
What did the review say? “Eh, not that great.”
I laughed when I read that. Sounds fair enough to me! I think it was a two or three star rating, and one of the first “bad” reviews I’d read. Since that one didn’t hurt, I continued reading them. I think writers can learn from reviews. You can learn what you do well and what needs improvement. For example, some positive reviews point out how they love the vivid and well-developed world I’ve created. Since I think description and world building are my weaknesses, I’m always surprised by this (remember: low self esteem here), so it helps to read this from a complete stranger. It’s kind of like free therapy.
When someone writes a reasonable, critical review, I either agree with the criticism or I understand where the reader is coming from. For example, some people criticize my main character for waiting ten years to be with a certain guy. I’m right there with those reviewers. I want to knock some sense into McKenzie, but then again, I know exactly why she waited. It wasn’t intentional. She never considered it “waiting” and she did attempt to live a normal life separate from him. It’s one of those things that just happened, and ten years later, she finally wakes up and realizes it.
The reviews that criticize McKenzie for this are right, in my opinion. It’s a character flaw. But the reviews also tell me that I haven’t done a good job of showing how this ten year “wait” happened. I know I won’t be able to satisfy every reader, but I do hope to satisfy myself by explaining the “wait” better in future books.
Reviews are one of my favorite things about being a writer, and I’m grateful for every one of them, good, bad, and all shades in between. I will admit that I do still hold my breath every time I read a review, though. Just in case I’ve suddenly become sensitive to them. 🙂
|Sandy graduated from Texas A&M University with a double major in political science and history. She thought about attending law school. Fortunately, before handing over her life’s savings, she realized case studies weren’t nearly as interesting as novels and decided to get an MA in Library Science instead. She worked as a librarian until her husband whisked her off to London on an extended business trip. She’s now back home in Texas, writing full-time, raising newborn twin boys, and squeezing in time to play geeky board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Runebound.|
Sandy is giving away a copy of The Shattered Dark to one lucky winner! To enter simply leave a comment with your e-mail address. Open to US mailing addresses only. Please read my Giveaway Policy before entering. Giveaway ends of November 7th, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck!
About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada