When my first book, If Love Were Enough, was published, I was excited to receive reviews from friends and family and looking forward to some from people I didn’t even know. My feeling is and was that any reviews, good or bad, bring attention to a book. I also feel very strongly that there hasn’t been a book written that hasn’t had people criticize it in a negative way. Even best sellers in all genres have their detractors regardless of the literary merit of the book. What one person thinks is a literary epic, someone else will see as nothing more than wasted space and time.
So, when I looked up reviews on each of my books the other day, the first as listed above, ONLY YOU and An Improper Seduction, my second and third books, I was not surprised in the least when I found both positive and negative comments. What also was interesting was that the reviews were four and five stars or two stars. No plain mediocrity here!
Of course I greatly appreciate the four and five star comments. These will help bring new readers. The ones I like the most are those where the reviewer has taken the time to share more detail about what she liked about the book. And how I love it when I read a review and can tell that this reader got it! This person understands exactly what I was trying to say in the story. It is as if I wrote the story especially for her enjoyment.
And I did! I wrote each book in hopes that the readers, each and every one of them, would grasp the message I was trying to get across and the dilemmas and growth the hero and heroine were trying to experience. It makes all the hours of writing and rewriting worth it when someone writes a review that demonstrates the purpose of my efforts was not in vain.
But how about the two star reviews, or even the one star? These, too, are important. These can teach me where I might have lost the thread, been too vague, too wordy, too complex or too simple. I can’t go back and change the published book but I can take these comments to heart in future endeavors.
And what about this reviewer? Isn’t it a compliment that the reader felt so strongly about the book, my book, she took the time to put her thoughts out there for others to read? Even if she didn’t get the point of the story or the trials and tribulations of the hero and heroine as I wrote them, she did invest her money and time in my book. I sincerely thank her for that.
So I feel all reviews, good or bad, can be appreciated. I would like to add, however, that some reviewers who are downright malicious could take a course in constructive criticism. After all, my book was not written to insult or injure any one so why does a reviewer need to write in such a negative way as to make it overly personal and hateful? It’s unnecessary and cruel. This is a review I would not take to heart or learn from. This is a review I would dust off as of no purpose except for the reviewer to be mean and spiteful without even knowing me.
I feel everyone who reads any book can find one or two good things to say about it even if they don’t like the story or the characters. Maybe they like the setting, the era, the book cover, a particular character, whatever. Wouldn’t it be nice to point out at least one positive thing in a book before you lambast the author on all other points? Obviously, the book wasn’t written for you. You bought the book, took a chance in good faith, but the author didn’t quite communicate to you. It happens, maybe a lot. But it’s not like the author, me or any other, set out to waste your time and money. We did our best it just didn’t work out for you this time. Thanks for trying anyway.
So there you have it, my personal comments on reviews. I hope those of you who read my books will take the time to leave reviews. I thank you for them and will take them to heart as I continue my writing career. If you don’t leave a review, that’s all right, too. I thank you sincerely for investing your time and money in my writing and hope that it was a pleasurable experience for you, so much so you’ll look forward to my next efforts and buy that one as well!
There are so many of us struggling authors out there that I hope you will…