My debut book isn’t published yet (but it’s oh so close, hurry up March 1) and so far I think I’m doing a reasonable job of not stalking Goodreads and Amazon looking for reviews that have come from bloggers who have had access to an advance copy. (Your version of ‘reasonable’ however, may well differ from mine – just saying.)
I’ve always found people love to criticise. In my job in journalism and then communications, I’ve ghost-written more columns over the years than Casper. Usually when I’d ask whoever I was writing the column for to give me some article ideas, I’d get: “Oh, I’ll leave it up to you.”
But the minute you put a proof or a draft in front of someone’s desk, man do they channel the mini-critic. Well, one woman I recall in particular (a lawyer) drove me crazy, put a written word on the page in front of her and all hell broke loose. Thankfully, she was in the minority.
It doesn’t matter if it’s words on a page, or paintings on a gallery wall, or a voice raised in song. Whatever a person does in life, once you put yourself out there, you open yourself to opinion and criticism. You have to suck it up. Take the good with the bad and above all, remember that you can’t please everyone.
I’m part of Susanne Bellamy’s All The World’s A Page blog this weekend and one of the questions Susanne asks is how I react to reviews (good and bad). I’ve only had three thus-far. 4 stars & two 3-star reviews. Only the 4-star reviewer chose to write an actual review and luckily, it was very nice.
“This was a very slow building story but I found myself completely captivated by the characters and plot right till the end. Both Tate and Christina have personal demons they must resolve in order to have any semblance of a loving relationship, watching this development was enthralling. Lily Malone paints an extremely colorful picture making His Brand of Beautiful jump off the pages.”
I will never forget this review!
But what if it sucked? What if she gave me one star and a figurative slap in the face with a wet tuna fish? I know I’d be down in the dumps.
I told Susanne Bellamy in my interview that what I hope to do is take the good with the bad, grow a thick skin. If there’s anything constructive in the bad review, take it on the chin, learn from it. AND MOVE ON!
There’s been a lot of private discussion about reviews in the Yahoo Groups I’m part of, with fellow Escape Artists (all published or soon to be published with Harlequin Escape).
Some of the best advice I’ve heard came from Rhian Cahill, she says:
“Here’s my advice. Ignore reviews. They’re not for you. They’re for readers who all have various tastes. What one reader doesn’t like another does. It’s like dinner time at my house, it doesn’t matter what I cook not everyone (8 of us) at the table will love it or even like it.
The best thing you can do for you, your writing and your career is to write the next book. So forget about the reviews (which are often written by people who are seeking their 15 mins of fame) and get writing!!
Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing has also written on this topic recently, and it all helps put a bad review in perspective. http://www.martinisandmanuscripts.com/bad-reviews/
So, four days from Publication Date and counting down, let’s see how long my peaceful attitude about reviews will last!