My book is officially published, and readers are posting reviews. As a new author, I was excited and nervous, and hopefully prepared for reader reviews. All reader reviews–good and bad.
The Good, The Bad, and the So-so
When you are finally published, be ready.
Because if someone loves a book, it’s almost certain that someone else hates it. It’s the nature of art, from literature to paintings to music– what one person hangs in their home, another person will toss in the trash. Take a look at these comments on Stephen King’s Misery:
★★★★★ “I was hooked from the very first page, and Misery is a book that will haunt your days and nights long after you’ve finished.”
★ “Misery is perhaps the worst book I have ever read. From cover to cover, nothing but predictability.”
It’s not about you
Understandably, readers put their own spin on what they read. They interpret according to their own quirks, prejudices, likes and dislikes, and many people will judge a book less on the material itself and more by their life experiences.It also helps to keep in mind that those who love to criticize are often the most vocal, and will often express “I don’t like this book” as “This is a terrible book.” Such people have a hard time separating their emotional responses from facts. For the author, criticism like that shouldn’t be taken personally, even if a reader goes so far as to equate what they view as a “bad” book to a “bad” author. It’s not about you.
Turn the negative into a positive
One of the highlights of the 2014 Romance Writers of America Conference was a session on how to handle bad reviews and/or reader comments. It’s not necessarily a negative if a reader writes “UGH! There was WAY too much SEX in this book!” because a reader who’s trying to decide whether or not to plunk down her hard-earned dollars for that book may think “If there’s lots of sex in this book, I want to read it!” Besides, there’s nothing like controversy to drum up interest. If the ratings swing from five to one stars, there are readers who will say “Wow, some people really hate this book. What’s going on? I need to read it.” After all, vitriolic reviews didn’t hurt the sales of Fifty Shades of Gray.
Let’s face it, if someone takes the time to sit down to write a comment about your book, it must have impressed them in some way. Is that a bad thing? Would you rather hear crickets? I’d rather my readers have a strong reaction rather than no reaction.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of In the Context of Love, adult contemporary fiction about one woman’s needs to tell her story without shame. Angelica Schirrick had always suspected there was something deeply disturbing about her family, but the truth was more than she bargained for.
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
2015 Great Midwest Book Fest Honorable Mention.
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters