I have an outlook on reviews but I’m not sure if it’s a weird one, or if it’s a normal one. I personally think it’s a logical one… but sometimes my logic doesn’t seem so logical to others.
So here’s my outlook.
Reviews aren’t for writers. But they can help them. Even the bad ones. Most people will honestly tell you that they don’t overlook a book just because it got an awful review. If they are on the fence, yeah, a bad review may add to the not-going-read-it side. But if a reader is really interested in a book, they aren’t going to make a decision just based on a review. Or at least that’s my take after reading soooooo many different dramas online about reviews.
On the flipside, though, a really, really really awful review can actually bump up sales. I know I’ve certainly bought a book based just on somebody’s review, thinking… Man, can it really be that bad?
Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. But it’s a sale. And chances are somebody is going to buy the book just because of a negative review and find that they loved the book and they’ll go gobbling up the author’s backlist.
So this all amounts to good things for authors.
Unless of course an author responds to a negative review with a diva routine, then that hurts the author. Sales=happy author, the way I see it.
Since this is how I see it, I tend not worry if I see a negative review. If it’s just a bashing review, I worry even less. If it’s well thought-out critical review, sometimes I can pick up on things I need to improve on. Bonus! Sometimes a bad review can actually help a writer improve her craft. This is good stuff, right?
This doesn’t mean I enjoy it when somebody tears my book apart, but basically… a review is one person’s opinion and providing the person isn’t using the review as a personal attack, I’m not going to get upset that they didn’t appreciate my book. And chances are if somebody used a review as a personal attack against me, I’d ignore them anyway.
Reviews are good things. They get people talking. My books may be my ‘creation’ but just because I create something doesn’t mean everybody has to love and adore and coddle said creation. I’ve certainly read my share of books that I’d rather stomp into the mud than ever see it again. I’m entitled to that opinion. I don’t discuss it online when I don’t like a book because that gets to be a trickier road for authors and since I’m too lazy to mess with walking the road right, I don’t bother.
Writing is a talent. But just because I can write a book doesn’t mean everybody must love it. Since I don’t expect everybody to love everything I write, I’m not going to get bent out of shape if somebody doesn’t like it.
I didn’t always see reviews in quite this same way. I use to worry over every last review. But the most upset I’ve gotten over a review was when it had two seriously huge errors and a major plot spoiler in it. I was more bothered by the spoiler and the errors than the fact that the reviewer didn’t like it. I didn’t go into writing thinking I’d please everybody…and maybe that’s why it’s a little easier to shrug when I don’t please somebody and grin like a loon when I manage to please the majority… especially those hard to please ones.
Readers shouldn’t have to worry about hurting an author’s feelings when they discuss or review a book. Well, unless they use it as a platform to attack an author…and those who like to attack generally don’t care if they are hurt somebody’s feelings or not. And those type of reviews stand out.
So there’s my unsolicited two cents of the day… hmmmmm… I think I should change the name of the blog to Unsolicited Two Cents.