How Do You Like Your Reviews: Fried, Poached, Scrambled?

No, this is not a poorly veiled attempt to solicit reviews of my new book. (Although feel free to order copies for everyone you know.)

I’m asking a serious question to all you seasoned authors out there, the ones who have multiple books on shelves everywhere: what do you think of reviews? Do you like them? Love them? Despise them? Ignore them? Want to tear the reviewer a new one? Or give her a big hug and take her on book tour with you, all expenses paid?

My first novel just came out last week, so it’s too early for reviews, but I know they will come. How did you prepare for them? You all faced this inevitability when your first books finally hit the shelves. Share your secrets for how you deal with reviews, both negative and positive.

What about paid reviews from sources like Kirkus? Do you shell out money for reviews? Does paying for it bias the reviewer to say nice things? Isn’t that bribery? (If you don’t like what they say, can you get your money back?)

Tell us your thoughts on reviews. What do you like? Not like? How do you handle bad ones? Post your comments below.

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3 thoughts on “How Do You Like Your Reviews: Fried, Poached, Scrambled?

  1. I try not to let the bad ones get to me 🙂 Easier said than done of course, but it’s something I try. What I NEVER do is comment on any review, good or bad. It’s tempting to want to thank good reviewers and disagree with bad ones but it can only hurt you in the end. People are entitled to their opinions and a reviews is just that: an opinion. Readers will make up their own minds as to what they wish to read. I admit I never read the reviews when I buy a book. I look at the sample and that’s it.

  2. reviews are great, because it can tell you what you’ve done wrong that one person hates and what you’ve done right that someone else loves. As long as a person can handle criticism, and as long as its constructive and not just someone on a hate rant at random, then I think reviews are a wonderful way to grow as a writer. If it weren’t for reviews I wouldn’t know if I was getting repetitive, if I was making mistakes in my facts, or simply if someone loved a book as much as I loved writing it. My last book I was unsure of, I loved writing it, but i wasn’t sure if my usual audience would enjoy it. They loved it so far, and helped me figure out any grammatical errors that they found. Also, in the past reviewers had made it clear to me that I needed to start a character stat page because i had so many characters that people who hadn’t read the entire series were getting confused.

  3. Try to ignore reviews. I have a friend who always says reviews are for the readers, not the authors. I think she is right on the money. I can’t stand the Harry Potter movies, but a lot of people love them. If I were to write a review about them, it would be negative. Do you think JK Rowlings cares one bit what I write in a review? You have to write what is in your heart. If you like what you wrote, others will like what you wrote. And other people will hate it. The trick isn’t in pleasing the ones who hate your work but in finding the ones who will like it.

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