Writing is most often a solitary endeavor, and it can feel isolating to sit at a computer or typewriter, drafting, revising, and proofreading a manuscript that you have no idea whether readers will enjoy. Even more terrifying, perhaps, is the influx of reviews that will (hopefully) come pouring in once that manuscript’s been published, because as we all know, not everyone is going to love our book and herald it as the “best thing they’ve read all year.” In fact, some might call it the worst (I’ve heard that my fair share of times and my book series has won several awards and distinctions since publication). It’s just a fact of the author career—really, any sort of career when you’re creating a product for others to purchase, review, and talk about. And reviews are usually a good thing; they spread the word about your books, can increase your author ranking and visibility on Amazon and other book distributors, and ultimately provide valuable feedback regarding potential strengths and weaknesses you have as an author (although an editor is usually one of the best ways to explore this before publication. Midnight Publishing is an award-winning editing and ghostwriting company in Phoenix, Arizona—contact us for a free editing sample today!).
Having gone through the gauntlet of publication several times, I just wanted to share some of my personal thoughts, tips, and experiences regarding the concept of book reviews in the current publication climate:
1. Goodreads is a Bloodbath
Now, this is a really interesting tidbit I heard recently in author channels—that many authors have received the most harrowing, tear-you-a-new-one reviews ever on the book review website Goodreads. Personally, I’ve also noticed that the harshest criticisms I’ve ever gotten about my books were on this site as well, which is why I try to steer clear of it for the most part. I’m not negating the validity or feelings of the reviewers on this site; I’m merely waving a “proceed with caution” sign in front of every author’s face before they sit down to read the reviews here.
2. Do NOT Engage
This is common knowledge, of course, but I just wanted to reiterate that as an author, you’ve chosen to publish your work (either through self-publishing or a traditional publisher). You’ve chosen to receive criticism and reviews. You’ve chosen to allow complete strangers to analyze every character, plot point, love interest, facet of the world-building, and even your style of writing and author voice. And believe me when I say that there are readers who will nitpick every little thing in a public forum, mincing no words and being blatantly honest about how they felt reading your book. And you must remember, you have no grounds for responding in any manner other than to say “thank you.” Thank them for taking the time to review your book, and move on. If you try and justify your choices, you’re only asking for a larger backlash and instigating an argument that you’ll never win.
3. Find the Silver Lining, and Ignore the Haters
Ultimately when it comes to reading your book reviews, you can choose to see the positive or the negative in the situation. You can choose to examine the reviews and look for similarities that may highlight an area where your writing can improve (and those areas you excel at!). You can choose to grow from them, and be thankful that you’re developing a thick skin that will allow you to keep writing, querying, publishing and pursuing your dreams. Recognize that another’s words and opinions do not define you or your book, and belong only to that one person. Recognize that some individuals are coming from a place of anger, sadness, hurt or just plain trolling, and choose to ignore those reviews as nothing more than a “rant” that’s unfortunately been directed at you.
Midnight Publishing is an editing, ghostwriting and marketing company based out of Arizona, and we’ve dedicated our careers to assisting authors to see their writing dreams reach (well-reviewed) fruition! Contact us today to discuss your project, and how we can help you address every step to a successful publication.