Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This book is AWESOME! This book SUCKS!

Ahh yes.  I’m at that time in my writing career where I’m sitting back biting my nails and waiting for the first trickle of reviews to come in on debut novel.  There isn’t much that could compare to the terror, other than perhaps going to collect your High School / Secondary School final exams results.  Results that ultimate set you on your path to your future, or swipe it all away from you before you take your first unsure step.
I’ve never really put much thought into reviews before.  I was always a pleasure reader, either I liked a book or I didn’t.  But now that people’s thoughts of my book can make or break my fledgling career, reviews suddenly have a whole new meaning.
The problem with reviews is that every reader is so different.  One person delight is another person’s poison.  The more I read into reviews, and the people that do them, the more I realize that there are very few bad books out there.  There are only books that we think are bad, but in actual fact, thousands of others will love. 
Goodreads is a perfect place to go to see this love/hate dynamic in action.  If you look at the lists for the BEST book ever written, there holding number one spot is Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer.  Now look at the next list, The WORST book ever written, and do my eyes deceive me? What is number one on the list? You’ve guessed it… Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer.
I find this both funny and stomach settling.  The way I see it a bad review isn’t exactly a reflection on my book, it’s a reflection of that reviewer’s taste and just a simple case of my book falling into the wrong hands… actually, not so much wrong, but more like, not the perfect hands.  I think as authors the best we can hope for is that the people destined to love our book get their mitts on it so that the good review can tip the balance in the right direction. 
The other thing to remember is that a good review isn’t always the best thing and a bad review isn’t always the worst thing.  There are some book reviewers out there who’s taste in books I wouldn't be too hot on.  They’ve read, reviewed, and loved books that I’ve read and really disliked, so when they LOVE a book it can in fact turn me off it.  It’s a funny old world this book reviewing business.
People have told me over and over again, DO NOT READ YOUR BAD REVIEWS.  I of course ignore this bit of advice.  As soul crushing as negative words can be about your beloved book, there are pearls of advice in each and every review, something to be learned, even if it’s just to ensure your next book doesn’t get into the reviewer’s claws. *WINK*
Have a good day my friends.



  1. You've got the right idea seeing reviews as an expression of taste. I shall have to remember that! Also, no matter what you do, you can't please everyone and haters gonna hate.

  2. The internet does tend to enforce a kind of polarized approach to opinions. Sometimes it seems that the only ratings people give to something are ROX and SUX.

    I agree that you should read your negative reviews, since only hearing good about yourself leads you to stop growing as a writer. But you have to cultivate a sense of what criticisms to take to heart, which ones to ignore, and which to respect but disregard out of greater artistic goals.

    Lupines and Lunatics

  3. It's such a subjective business, isn't it? And it's all a matter of opinion. Bravo to you.

  4. People on GoodReads can be vicious! I've only received 2 so far, but when I receive a negative one, I plan on just viewing it as a critique, something that will help better my writing in the future. I might cry, too, but we'll see :-)

  5. You can't please all the people all the time. Sad bit true fact. The other thing to remember when you write YA is that the reviewer isn't necessarily part of your target audience.

    BTW CARRIER OF THE MARK will be getting a great review from me. Loved it.

  6. I don't blame you for reading your book reviews! "Don't read your bad reviews" is like saying don't look at yourself naked. You know you'll see something you don't like, but you have to acknowledge the bad parts if you want to make improvements. Or sometimes, you just have to realize you are the way you are and nothing is going to change you, not even lipo, or in this case, a bad review. : )

  7. Yep, people's tastes really do vary - so when you start getting more reviews, I recommend focusing on the positive warm-fuzzy ones :D

  8. I don't think I'll ever have the nerve to read my book reviews when the time comes. Maybe on my deathbed--of course, they might get me so riled up that I then leap out of my (death)bed. That sounds like a good plan.

  9. Great post! If my books ever get published, I'll probably read through all the reviews and privately rant to my best friends about the bad reviews and the good.

    Although I find it very amusing how Twilight got to the top of both lists.