Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Instead of Wacky Wednesday It's IWSG Wednesday

Reviews, do you love them or hate them?

I have yet to reach the zen state where a negative review doesn't affect me. That thick skin writers are suppose to grow...I'm afraid I shed mine before it gets any layers to it.
Reviews can be great teaching tools and should be approached as such. (And yes I need to listen to my own advice:) One comment on what you did or didn't do and it can be put down to a reader's opinion or preference. Three or more..maybe you should give serious thought to addressing it in your next manuscript.
Oddly enough, reviews also vary from site to site. Silverhills has been my most extreme. On Amazon it got a negative review and not many reads. Thankfully, down the road it got a few reviews that offset the negative, but its sales are still so-so. On the other hand at Barnes and Noble its had thirty-one unsolicited reviews (which for me is huge),the majority of them fives, and it continues to sell. Weird huh? What makes the difference on these two sites?  Why does a book do well on one site and not another? Do you think the reviews factor into it?
I was bemoaning a less than stellar review to the hh and his response was, 'If they bother you why do you read them?'  I found this question to be both simple and profound. So until my skin thickens--and they say with age it gets thinner--or until I find my zen state, I'm ignoring the negatives and concentrating on the positives. And you dear reader/writer: What's your approach to a less than stellar review?

33 comments:

  1. I have yet to experience the online review but I can appreciate how hard a negative review can be to read. It is probably sensible to not read them all, especially if you are having a day where you feel particularly insecure. Happy writing. I wish you many excellent reviews :)

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne. That's a great wish:)

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  2. Maybe it's the type of clientele the site attracts that makes the difference?
    I try to learn from them and make the next book better. They still bug me though.

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  3. It takes courage to put your art in the public eye. Art is so subjective. The same piece of art (or writing) on one day can elicit a negative response and on another day a positive. As long as you are happy with the work you create, your story, your vision and it's the best you can produce at the time is all that matters.

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  4. Negative reviews, negative feedback from your agent/editor, nasty revision requests from clients--they all hurt in the same way, honestly. The latter two are useful because you can do something about it. Once your book is published, though, you can't do anything about it...it's out there. With the latter two, you can take the criticism, process it, and fix your piece to improve your work. You have to use the "some will, some what, so what?" line of thinking when it comes to bad reviews.

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    1. You're right, Steph. Any kind of negative feedback is painful. Although most of the time, the editors and agents try to put a positive spin on it, which helps. At least, I feel mine do. Regardless, it's our babies that are being waled on and it can hurt. I like the 'some will, some won't, so what'.

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  5. Oh I've got a few hateful ones. But you can't please everyone, even the most popular thing of all time will have some haters. So just keep on going at it.

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    1. You have one of the healthiest attitudes of any writer I know, Pat.

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  6. I do think there are valuable lessons in constructive one star reviews, but you are right, build that thick skin before go down that road. Hopefully if it's a writing issue, you have others in your life who will give you that type of advice you can learn from.

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    1. You have a healthy attitude. I'm glad it works for you.

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  7. Your post made me chuckle. I brace myself for every new review I see for my novel. They do serve as an affirmation of the overall appeal of your novel, but everyone's tastes are different. I read one review for one of my favorite series and the person made it known that she hated it. I looked at her log of books and sure enough, fantasy was not a usual of hers. It bums me out when they can tear a authors book apart like that, knowing it's not their "usual" read. *shrugs* It always balances out, IMO. Glad to hear you got so many unsolicited reviews on B&N!! Woohoo!

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    1. I hear ya, Anna and I'm right there with ya. I got a 1 and I did the same. I went back and looked at the reader's other reviews. She had dissed almost everything she'd read regardless of who'd wrote. It was a head shaker. And yes, it balances out...thank goodness. grin.

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  8. I've often wondered why I chose to be a writer, considering it opened me up to all sorts of debilitating anguish. Good thing we love writing, eh? I don't think writing comes with a thick skin. Actually, I think it's our thin skin that makes us better writers. Great post, Sandra. Happy IWSG.

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    1. Hi Joylene, I wonder the same thing. I highly recommend it for anyone that needs an ego check...grin.
      Thanks for commenting. Have a great evening.

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  9. I would think negative reviews would always hurt because you put so much into what you created that it would feel like they are attacking a part of you. There have been books, films etc...that got negative reviews only to be heralded as classics now. There have been other books that were big sellers in their day and now you can't give them away. It is hard not to read the reviews but i almost think to let someone else read them and then they can tell you to pass or not. They can also tell you any constructive criticism. Glad your book is selling more at Barnes & Noble

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    1. Thanks, Birgit, I appreciate it. Well said.

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  10. It would probably be better if I did ignore my reviews, but I can't help looking. I do make sure I'm not feeling fragile though, just in case it's not a good one.

    I don't think Amazon type reviews have much of an impact on sales. I know I don't pay much attention to them when deciding what to read.

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    1. Good point, Patsy (cause you're right, it's hard to ignore them): Read when not feeling fragile.
      I like it!

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  11. Some writers take reviews as personal attacks. Which is a waste of writing time and energy.

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  12. I don't have any reviews yet--my book's not finished yet--but I can imagine i wouldn't be able to help not looking at the reviews. Mostly I'd want to find out what they did and didn't like.

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    1. When it comes out, Ken, I wish you many, many five's:)

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  13. It's important that authors fully accept the fact that not everyone is going to love their book. Let that be a given. Don't let a negative review ruin your day. What I do is focus on the good reviews. Make a banner quoting a portion of the good review - and identify the author of t hat review. Tweet portions of the good reviews. Put them on your social media so that the word gets out there. Unfortunately, humans tend to gravitate to the negative news items. So do everything possible to make the positive reviews shine, shine, shine. Blessings.

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    1. That's it, too Feather. Not everyone is going to love the work but what's wrong with that?

      Love that you hang quotes. Very cool. I used to do that back in the day.

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    2. Tweeting portions of good reviews is a great idea.

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  14. I can take criticism from editors/betas, but I can't handle it from general readers. I admire published writers so much. It's a courageous thing to put your self out there. Some people are just mean. Congratulations on your positive reviews. You've reached people! And that's what it's about!

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  15. Hi, Lauren. Thanks for your positive words. You're right. It's easier to hear from editors and betas.

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  16. I think the anonymity of the internet can make online reviewers particularly mean sometimes.

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  17. Hold your positive reviews close, like sweet babies.I'm not there yet, but I'm dreading my reviews. In my younger days I used to give scathing reviews. I had a writer on Amazon respond, very upset and yelled at me for my review. Thankfully, my empathy chip wasn't broken, and now I tread much more carefully, but i live in fear of someone giving the kind of reviews I used to give. Karma will be coming my way, I know it.

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  18. I agree- negative reviews are tough. I think it is a good idea to focus on the positive reviews unless lots of the negative reviews say the same thing (just like you said).

    I think it is interesting that on different sites your book is selling differently with different reviews. Definitely something to think about! Thanks for sharing and wishing you the best of luck! :) ~Jess

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