My mother always taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. While I haven’t always followed that advice, I’m certain many authors wish critics would.
I’ve had one or two reviews that scoured my work to the bone, which … let’s be honest here … required a pint of ice cream to get me through. Mint chocolate chip is the greatest comforter in times like these.
But when push comes to shove, negative reviews are always the ones that I learn from. I’m not a world-renowned author, not yet, and I’m still honing my craft. So anything that teaches me how to be better is good.
Sometimes painful, but good.
Positive reviews help sell a book, but not nearly as much as word of mouth. Like it or not, people talking about your book is still the number one way to push those sales up – or so all the professionals tell me.
I’ve sent my books out to reviewers for their honest opinions and come back with some positive results there, but those results never last for very long. To be honest, sometimes the only result of a positive review is my own feeling of accomplishment; somebody read my book and understood what I was trying to say!
Since Sedition was first published eight years ago I’ve held a 4.36 star average on Goodreads and about the same on Amazon, which I suppose is quite good considering there are a lot of things wrong with my early novels. But the only thing this knowledge serves is to push me to become better.
Maybe it sells one book every three months or so, but at the end of the day it still only pushes me to be better. I don’t have time to check reviews every day or even every week. I check them once or twice a month, see if I have anything new, and then I get back to work.
See what some of my fellow authors think about reviews …
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/how-to-get-reviews
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
6 thoughts on “About Reviews – April Round Robin”
I see I am not alone when I am challenged to be a better writer when I read reviews of my own books, both good and bad.
I don’t think it is just reviews that sell books. Some dedicated reviewers will only review established authors. Small press and self-published authors have a tougher road and not as much access to advertisements, which I think do help. It’s also about reaching new readers, and Barnes and Noble doesn’t put my books on an endcap in all their stores. It’s hard.
Question is, how do you get that word of mouth? I think all attempts at drawing attention to your book work together: it’s not one or another. So, reviews can hopefully lead to a buzz.
AJ, definitely not a fan of the reviews that catch you like a punch in the face. But yes, they usually have at least one point that I take to heart and use to make my writing better.
I think sometimes bad reviews are wrong. I’ve seen some where it was obvious the person hadn’t read the book or had mistaken it for another one as they didn’t even get the names of the characters right. Those can be discredited. Then there are others where you know they just didn’t “get” your book. Of course, there are some bad reviews with valid points. The biggest thing I take away from them is that not everyone will like what I write. And that’s okay. 🙂
I enjoyed your post. I agree you learn more from a negative review or one that adds helpful comments. The good ones usually make you feel good, but don’t help you to improve.