Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ms. Manners Does Reviews :)

Today we're talking book reviews. OK, I'm talking book reviews. As an author, I recognize their importance. As a reader, I appreciate seeing what others thought if I'm on the fence with trying out a new author, or if I'm unsure about a book in general. One thing I've noticed, however, is there are still a lot of authors out there who feel the need to comment on/react to their reviewers. Especially when those reviews are less than flattering. Authors?


Please. It's bush league. Amateur. Makes YOU look like an asshat. If you get a bad review, pull up your big ADULT pants and walk it off. Sure it stings. Someone on Goodreads has made fun of your baby using animated GIF's. Or they tossed a 1-star on Amazon with a big old 'Don't Waste Your Time' in the heading. I get it, really. Sometimes reviews sting, particularly when someone is brutally honest about why they didn't like your book.

Guess what? That's their opinion. It might not be nice, but it doesn't make it any less valid. It doesn't mean the rest of the world will think your book is garbage. In fact, what one person hates another person might love. I'll let you in on a secret: I often read the bad reviews on a book first. Why? Because a brutally honest reviewer is often very specific about why they didn't like something. More often than not, it's a personal preference--i.e., I didn't like the plot, or the character was annoying. It might convince me to take a shot, because maybe I don't mind the things this reviewer talked about. (Unless it's talking about a story riddled with grammar or punctuation errors, in which case, I silently thank the reviewer for saving me from wasting my time. I'm not buying your unedited manuscript, but that's a whole other post)

I'm skeptical of a book that has only 5-star reviews. Even more-so if the author is relatively unknown. Newsflash: even the big, bestselling superstar authors have a mix of good and bad reviews. It's part of the game. You put your work out there, you risk putting into the hands of someone who doesn't like it. That's OK. BUT if you must vent, do it behind closed doors. Don't argue with the reviewer. Don't enlist your friends and family to come to your defense. It's a turn off. Both to the reviewer and other potential readers. If someone sees you being all argumentative an defensive, they're less apt to leave their own review, and you lose. If they're like me, they'll be less apt to buy it.

So my advice in this long-winded post? Be thankful. Thankful someone is reading. If you've sent a review copy, thank them and be done. Ignore that urge to defend your work and recognize not everyone will like it. It's not the end of the world if they don't, I promise. :)