Monday, March 7, 2011

The Bad Review

All right, everyone needs to fess up. How do you feel about a bad review?

Personally, I take whatever the reader has said, mull it over in my mind, decide if there is anything I could have done differently in my book and then move on. Everyone has their opinion and I know in my heart, not everyone will like my book. It's not easy having your baby ripped apart, but all in all, most professional reviewers are good at giving you the good and the bad in their review. Reader reviews are a little more potent. They usally say what is on their mind whether it be nice or not. Honesty. It's not a bad thing. One thing I make sure to do with professional reviewers is thank them. If I get a note from a reader who absolutely hated my book, I usually don't respond. No use getting into a shouting war over something.

I have beta readers I use to give me input on things. The best beta reader is not your mother, your Aunt Sue, your neighbor next door or anyone you specifically are close to. The best beta readers are other authors or editors who will give it to you straight. Mine, hate when I make them read my piece as I'm writing. We have a love/hate relationship like that. :-) Especially when I send them something to read and it stops at a cliff-hanger moment. I usually get yelled at and told I'm a major tease. *insert evil grin here* I appreciate all they do in reading my book for me and giving me pointers on the storyline. I'm currently writing the second part to the Montana Cowboys series and I like having someone tell me, "You know you really need to look at this again. Something doesn't sound right here." Those are the things I may not want to hear, but I need to. I know I can't write a 50k book in one sitting and I'm assuming none of the authors I know can. Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it and under those circumstances, I migh have missed a plot point or went off in a direction that doesn't jive with the rest of the story. I'm a panster to the core so I can't write by outlining. It just doesn't happen for me. So thus, I need a good beta reader who knows my story from reading it and can say, "Wait, you missed this or where are you going with that."

They are invaluable to me and I appreciate each one.

See? I went off on a tangent there I hadn't planned on, but that's okay. The beta reader can help you get those glowing reviews and hopefully keep you from getting one of those bad ones. My thoughts? Shake it off and keep writing.

~ Sandy


Renee Vincent said...

My thoughts? Shake it off and keep writing.

Exactly! You are not going to please everyone all the time and you'll wear yourself out trying. Remember, you could write the next overnight best seller and STILL there would be someone in the world who will rip it up and bash it.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

If I think a reviewer's criticism is warrented, i try to learn from it. If they're just being bitchy or trying to look cool by criticising my work then I try not to internalize their comments. Sometimes it's hard to know the difference.
I agree, Sandy, that Beta readers are the best way to polish up a story, work out the kinks and notch it up.
Very interesting blog.

Rawiya said...

Very good blog Sandy.

I got my first reader comment on my back and a couple more from fellow authors. I have yet to get my first pro review hich is okay. ;)

Betas are so important. I have 3 now, which is awesome. I have a fellow author and two friends who love me to pieces. They are invaluable and I wouldn't trade them for anyone.

Wish I had it when I first started but oh well, we live and learn!

Tina Donahue said...

The only reviews that concern me are the ones where the reviewer gets it wrong - eg: the reviewer calls the hero Tim when his name is Jim. The review says the story takes place in Washington State, when it's actually Washington DC. A plot point that isn't even in the story is discussed and criticized.

These kind of problems haven't happened often, but when they do, I'm just scratching my head wondering if the reviewer actually read my book.

Fiona McGier said...

I had one where the reviewer said that a seduction scene that was pivotal to one book was a rape scene...and that the woman raped the man! With that belief, the rest of the book didn't make any sense at all, even though she grudgingly admitted that the character were well-done and the supporting ones were interesting. That was the most negative review I ever got, and I was floored! I didn't bother trying to correct the person's view...I just told the owner of the site I didn't want any more of my books reviewed there, to avoid a repeat of that.
I agree that you need to read reviews, to see how others view your books...but then you need to realize that you can't please everyone. My husband says in business that one "Aw s**t" negates a hundred "Atta-boys". If you just focus on the bad reviews, you'll never write again, trying to second-guess everything you write. Don't! Keep at it.
Realize the only really important opinions are your publisher and your editor's. If they like your book enough to give you a contract, then hopefully the readers will like it also.

Redameter said...

AHhh...reviews. I've had plenty of both kinds, the very good and the very bad. It is though just one person's opinion, however, to the newbie writer, a bad review can absolutely devastate them (did I spell that right) Oh well.
What I am saying is that a good reviewer knows how to handle a book that needs work, and you can tell just by that review that she knows what she is doing. BUt there are some that are absolutely sarcastic and since it is a profession it is unprofessional of a reviewer to be snide with the remarks. I've had two that were absolutely uncalled for, on books that had already gotten 4's and 5's from reviewers.

THe best thing you can possibly do is ignore these people, either it is professional jealousy, or the person had what is termed "A bad hair day."

Sometimes they can point out things that help you along the way. But rude is rude and there is no excuse for it. BY saying absolutely nothing back to them, you win. They want to make issues let them. SOme readers buy books just to see if a certain book is as bad as they say it is. That's sales. ANd I'll take it. LOL

Love and blesssings

Sandy Sullivan said...

I do agree with everything you ladies have said. I mean, look at Stephanie Meyer at the Twilight series. I've never read any of them, but I've heard they aren't that great yet she's a millionaire.

~ Sandy

Fiona McGier said...

Kismet...may it strike all of us who labor so long and hard over our words. Sheer luck. What makes one series a best-seller, and others that are more interesting/written better/different not sell? Sheer unadulterated luck. I live in constant hope I'll find some someday!