I’ve written about why all reviews are good reviews and about how to get reviewers to read your work but with experience comes new information. First off, don’t read them if you can help it. Have a friend read it for you in case there’s anything that can help you improve as a writer if you absolutely have too.
No one wants to think the book they worked so hard on for months or even years would be anything but an amazing read for those who purchase it. However, we know that is not that case.
Today I got my first two star review. I could wallow with a pint of Ben&Jerry’s--I wanted to-- or I could take a few moments and think about review.
First off, if you need to wallow and show your friends and have them tell you how ridiculous it is, go for it. Do what you need to do, to get through the initial bit of awful--I’m a big fan of looking up your favorite book, one you can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t love as much as you did and check out the bad reviews. Then, dust yourself off and look at it objectively.
OK, you should be able to tell pretty quickly if this person is in your target market. The woman who reviewed my book was not. How could I tell? Her objection was to two characters having sex--a rather mild sex scene in my reading experience and definitely tamer than my romance books--which she called, a “Porn Fest”. If that’s a porn fest for you, you shouldn’t be reading my books. Cause it gets dirtier later.
That hurt because I’d agonized over whether these two were going to get together. And I could list all the reasons I made the choice I did but that doesn’t matter. She’s not my target audience.
BUT, if she didn’t understand why the characters did what they did, maybe I need to look at making sure their personalities and more importantly their flaws come across clearer. I might look back at the book and decide it’s fine as is but it’s something to think about as I struggle to improve as an author.
Next, eight people--as of the last time I looked--liked this review. OUCH! My HEART! But wait, there’s a plus side here too. Those three people are also not my target audience. And now they wont be leaving me nasty reviews. That’s a pretty significant positive if you ask me.
And lastly, people who are in my target audience, will see several things they do like, that are on genre, are in my book. Long story short? Don't look at bad reviews if you can help it. If someone didn't like your book--and some people won't. It's not possible to write a book everyone will love--they aren't who you wrote it for. And while it would seem I'm in the minority--based on a poll I did--I often use negative reviews tome purchase decisions. If I see something I like as a negative from another reader, I'll buy the book 99% of the time.
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