Friday, 6 January 2012

BOOK REVIEWS...the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What to do when you get a review.

 Doesn’t every author LOVE to receive book reviews? The excitement of opening your book list and finding the first review can make one giddy. Eagerly you check it out. If you see one star (that’s the ugly) immediately you want to read, but you are also hesitant. This must be bad, you think. But you soldier on and read it. 

If it’s cutting, you cringe but read on. Once you’re done you have time to assess it. You read again, looking for something more that usually isn’t there. Sometimes you have to agree with some of the criticism but other times you just wonder what the reviewer was actually reading into your story.

I’ve had some good reviews, some bad and I’ve actually had the ugly as well. My first ugly review actually made me angry. Reason being it was not a critique which I can say I have a hard shell for. It was downright mean. Not only did it rip apart my story but it also gave away the climax, the heart of the story. I’m all for criticism good or bad because that is a reviewer’s opinion and I can take that, but mean spiritedness I don’t do well.

The bad critiques are the ones that give you a two or maybe a three in not a good way. They not only didn’t like your story but they didn’t think it was written well either. That’s the part that hurts me. I try very hard to write the best possible story that I can write. I take pains in editing and re editing. Alas many times I end up still with errors. 

These are the times I wish I could afford a really good editor.
To be able to just write a story then pass it on to your editor and let that person make it right, make it look right, sound right and still keep your storyline intact, would be the ultimate to me. Maybe someday.

Then there are the good reviews. Whether a three, four or five star review, if the reviewer liked the story, loved the characters, went away satisfied that they had enjoyed the work, then I am happy. If I receive good criticism I am most anxious to follow through and see if any of it really applies to my work. If I find it does, then I am willing to re write. I am grateful for those reviews, not because they are four or five stars added, but because they have given me good criticism.

 Of course like everyone else I adore receiving a glowing review where the reader loves the story and has only good things to say. But I also appreciate the good reviews that give me the good stuff first then follow up with the nudge of critiques that most often make sense.

Whether we like bad reviews or not, we are stuck with them. When a writer puts forth their work for others to read, they must be prepared for whatever criticism comes along. NEVER, I repeat never comment to the reviewer in a negative light. This only shows the bad qualities of the writer’s personality. Take the bitter with the sweet, isn’t that what your Momma taught you?

I’m happy to get reviews because reviews help to sell books. Remember the saying, any publicity is good publicity. Take the bad, the ugly reviews with a grain of salt, and relish in the good reviews when you get them. Stay positive and keep writing. 

And you readers out there, when you read, think about the writer. If you have an opinion about the book you’ve read and you surely would because everyone has opinions, take a minute or two to express your feelings, your thoughts, your thanks, and even your critiques on to the writer in a review.

Never be nasty, if you hated the book, perhaps the author would be happier if you didn’t review it. If you have ideas that are constructive, pass them along in a nice way. Constructive criticism is always welcome, by me anyway. Happy writing and reading everyone. And welcome to the New Year, may it be filled with good reviews, lots of sales, and many happy writing and reading hours.


  1. I've just been dealing with reviews, and wow, you summed it up perfect. I know what you mean about having enough $ to hire an editor. (Or five and six) like big publishers do. Keep the courage!!1

  2. Hi Lois,
    Yes, we writers need to grow a thick shell around us when it comes to reviews, but aren't the good ones nice to receive?
    Sometimes it's best to bury ones head into new writing and forget the present world. lol