Sunday, January 19, 2014

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

We authors love reviews. Certainly the enthusiastic ones from readers who enjoyed the book are the best, because they make us smile and they make us feel good about the work we've done. But the reviews from people who didn't like the book, either in whole or in part, are a necessary evil. We need those almost as much -- if not more -- than the "I loved it!" reviews.

Why? you ask. Because reading what people think is wrong or unrealistic, while such opinions may be hurtful at first, educates us. Reading negative reviews can only strengthen us as writers, especially if we take those negative words and use them to improve our work. A writer may disagree with a bad review, but that doesn't mean we can't learn and grow from it.

The reason I write this is because one of my author friends has said that she no longer pays any attention to the negative reviews she gets -- as in, she's stopped reading them altogether. She's even going so far as to encourage only the people who've enjoyed her books to post reviews; she doesn't want anyone posting negative reviews. What's the point, after all, if she isn't even going to bother reading them?

I firmly believe that this is a bad outlook for her to take. In my opinion, soliciting only positive reviews makes her seem arrogant and self-centered, as if everything she writes is gold. Having read her work myself, I can and will say that she is very talented, and she will certainly go far as an author. But no one is immune to mistakes. In her most "celebrated" work -- which I have read -- there were numerous editorial errors. Her characters also left quite a bit to be desired, as I honestly found several of them highly unbelievable.

But that's just my opinion. No, I have not posted a review, because again -- what would be the point? Why bother wasting my time writing one if she's not going to bother reading it, because anything other than high praise is wrong and beneath her? I do try very hard not to be judgmental of anyone, but I just think her mindset against unfavorable reviews is wrong. And where else can I share this opinion if not here on the Diary?


  1. I thought that's what reviews were whether they be positive or negative. Sure I know y'all love positive ones, but the negative ones should be beneficial also in some form. But of course opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one. I love your books, and can't wait for the next one! Keep it up!

  2. Why thank you!

    Admittedly, I don't like getting bad reviews. So far I've only had one really bad one, a one-star review of my best-selling book to date, believe it or not. There's also a three-star review of the same book that, while I did not completely agree with the reader's viewpoint, instead of just saying "it sucked and was unrealistic", the young lady pointed out what she did and did not like about the book (she actually gave it a 3.5 out of 5, but Amazon doesn't allow for halves). THAT is the kind of "negative" review that really helps us writers, I believe -- when the readers tell us what didn't work for them. Doesn't necessarily mean we're going to change our style or methods, but the feedback, the interaction, is what is important. I actually rather liked that she engaged me in a discussion of the books good and bad points in her eyes. And hey, she did say she'd be open to reading the next one.

    The person I spoke of in the post above is someone you and I both know. Someone we're both fans of. But to actually say "If you HATED it -- I hope you didn't review it"? So what if a bad review makes you cry. Yeah, it sucks big time, but then you dry those tears, suck up the hurt, and you push on. You write BETTER because you are STRONGER for having been able take the negativity with a grain of salt. But no, she would rather not see a negative review at all rather than use it as an opportunity t0 improve herself.