Friday, June 29, 2012

The Necessary Evil in Publishing

I'm talking reviews. I check my stats daily because I'm neurotic that way, and cringe every time I go to my "book" section. I have so few reviews, when a new one is posted, I get a cramp in my stomach and my head starts to spin wondering if it will be favorable or not.

Now some authors don't read their reviews. I do. I shouldn't, but I do. I can't help it. It's like watching the nightly news. I have to see what truck has caused a major pile up on the highway.

If it's a good review I smile for days after. If it's a bad review I rail at the computer screen.

Why do we authors feel the need for such validation? I think it comes from somewhere deep down inside -- that mother's love thing. When Mommy said, "Good job" on your homework, or "That's fantastic" when you brought home a good report card.  It goes back to that.

Who wants to be told "you suck" at something you've poured your heart and soul into for months on end?

I write reviews. I post them. I think it's the least I can do for my friends. We've all been in this together for a long time and that's what friends do for each other. Help them along. And you know what else, I give them all 5 stars. Because anything less wouldn't be right. And so what. Sure there are things in the book I didn't like, sure there were typo's and other junk I saw, but I don't mention it in the review. I save that for a personal note. Why should I lambast another in public? It won't give me anything but a bad taste in my mouth. And if you can't say anything nice about someone, then don't say anything at all. And then there is always Karma ready to kick your ass at a moment's notice. What goes around comes back around and when it does... well, let's hope no one gets hurt. I figure if I write good reviews, someone will do the same for me.

I know this post could be so much more, and perhaps I'll write more about it next week, but I keep missing my deadlines due to the dreaded moving debacle. And now the Monster is awake and nattering on about me setting up the pool today. It's supposed to be 100 degrees, so I guess it's time.

Do you post reviews?


Roland D. Yeomans said...

My days are so filled with my duties as a rare blood courier on call it seems for eternity and with writing that I am sadly remiss in writing reviews for my friends' books. Karma as you say reigns there, too, since I have very few reviews of my own books.

To make up for my lack of reviews, I make contests to reward those who review (no mandatory favorable ones -- just reviews)

For END OF DAYS, my best friend, Sandra, struggling with cancer, will draw from the names of the reviewers and those who do posts on my book.

The prizes are an autographed photo of Robert Downey Jr and an autographed art book by Micheal Whelan

The draw date is July 4th. Seven names for Sandra to draw from. Sigh.

Some reviews are better than no reviews I tell myself.

I thought of you when I wrote END OF DAYS since it is told through the eyes of a Victorian girl/ghoul. Looking at modern life through a Victorian perspective was a challenge.

As always a great post, Roland

Anne R. Allen said...

Bad reviews sure do sting. But like bad critiques, sometimes they can be helpful. Not in the way the reviewers think, but they can inform readers. I'm going to do a post on this early in July.

I got one review that says "this plot was so complicated I had no idea who the villain was until the very end." OK, I didn't like getting the one star, but it sure does tell smart readers that this is a mystery that's going to hold their interest.

I got another one that said "I read lots of lesbian romances and this is the worst one I've ever read." OK, this is really helpful to readers looking for lesbian romance. Because my books aren't romances and they're not primarily about lesbians. So anybody looking for hot girl on girl action isn't going to buy my book. Good. They'd be horribly disappointed.

And those one and two stars? They do bring down our ratings, but look at all the big name popular writers: none of them get an overall 5-stars. (If you're really popular, somebody is going to hate you.) So if your overall rating is three and a half stars--you're up there with the big names. Enjoy it!

(Yeah, I know it's not easy to take, but it's always good to look for a silver lining.)

OK, now my post is half done for July. :-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've already decided that if I'm published, I won't be reading the reviews. There's not much you can do once you've published the book. I mean sure you can fix the errors if you self publish, but then you'll have to change the title and the cover (which I know a lot of authors do).

But when you consider that I have panic attacks when I get my comments back from my CP and beta readers, you can see why reading reviews might not be a good thing for me.

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