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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Read Your Reviews But Don't Live And Die By Them

I recently got asked by a newly published author what she should think about having her book reviewed. This is what I told her. Read Your Reviews But DON'T Live And Die By Them.

When I first published Her Wolf: The Westervelt Wolves Book 1, I lived and died by each review that came out about the book. This was before I became aware of Goodreads and that was probably, at the time, a good thing for me. Every professional review that appeared either made my day or it ruined it.

I saw that other authors were, and some still do, posting their reviews constantly on Facebook and Twitter as if showing other people what a reviewer thought of their book would somehow make someone else want to buy them or in some ways validated them as a writer. I did the same thing.

But I quickly learned a lesson. Reviews are quite frequently right, most of the time they are and I am enormously grateful for them, but sometimes people have their own agendas. Sometimes people post so-called review sites to promote themselves, their friends, and to trash others that have strong feelings about. It happens. Believe me.

So what to do with your reviews? Take the ones that are the most helpful to you and try to learn from them. They are not always the most positive reviews but they also tend to not be the worst reviews you get either. If someone says something that sounds downright cruel to you, then assume that is what the reviewer meant it to sound like.

Also, if you find that reading reviews stops you from being able to write, to continue to tell your stories, then stop reading them all together. The most effective thing I find to do with reviews is to thank the reviewer--assuming they wrote you a fair and honest review and didn't say "This books sucks. I hate her." The reviewer took a lot of time to read and comment constructively on your book. They deserve to be thanked.

Do not live and die by your reviews. Work on being a better writer, keep telling your stories for the readers. I try to limit my posting of reviews on Social Networking to ones that, for some reason, were really significant in what they said.

I have google alerts set up on my computer. Most of the time, I see what is written about me. The longer I do this, the thicker my skin becomes but I still need to take my own advice. If I get a bad one--a legitimate bad one--then it hurts. Of course it does. But I keep writing. And so should you.


  1. Great advice. I'm finally getting into the world of receiving reviews, at least from readers. The good ones have put a smile on my face. The not so good ones have stung, at least for a moment. But in the end, it doesn't really matter what they think. The fact of the matter is, people are buying my books. More of them each day. They may not all like every single one of them, but no one can please everyone. So, I take what I can from them and get back to writing.

  2. Great advice Rebecca! I too will find myself in that situation shortly.