Friday, 15 August 2014

To read reviews or not, that is the question...

I’ve seen conflicting advice on this recently, so I thought that I would add my two cents. You see, it’s very easy to read reviews when they’re good. They work as validation for the hard work we put in creating and crafting our books. It’s a real boast to read great comments about something we have put so much heart and soul into.
But what if the review is a bad one? What do we do then?
I know the standard advice is not to read bad reviews – after all, not everyone is going to ‘get’ your book, and reading the comments of someone who just doesn’t get it isn’t going to be productive in any way.
I agree with that, but only up to a point.
Sometimes a book just isn’t the right book for you. It’s not your ‘thing’. And those kinds of reviews wouldn’t be helpful or constructive. It’s best to just pass them by with a sigh.
On the other hand, how are we supposed to grow as writers if we don’t accept the criticism? If we only ever take the good feedback we’ll never be able to see where we are going wrong.
It’s my personal belief that we need the bad reviews, far more than we need the good. After all, if more than one person is seeing the same problem with your writing then the issue must be with you, not them.
So how do you deal with, and read a bad review without it knocking your confidence?
Here are my tips:
·         Don’t take it to heart. Read them, but don’t let them get under your skin. Develop the thick hide a writer needs.
·         Look for the positives you can take from it. Perhaps they don’t like the way the heroine responds to things. Ask yourself how you can make sure your next heroine doesn’t fall into the same traps. If you don’t describe enough, work at on the next book.
·         Work with the rule of three. If one person doesn’t like something it is probably just personal taste. If two people don’t like something take a good look at it yourself before deciding if they just aren’t ‘getting’ it. If three people don’t like something then you know you really need to address it. Once you start getting a lot of reviews you can multiply this – so 10, 20 and 30 for example.
·         Finally, accept that you can’t change the book you’ve already published (unless you want to put out a second edition with major changes), and that there will always be people who don’t like a book – and work doubly hard on making the next book the best it can possibly be.
Have a great weekend and happy writing!

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