This has been a hot button for me the last few weeks and something that I've either almost bitten my tongue off over or had to walk away for a LONG time out. You may agree with what I'm about to rant over or not - and that's ok because that's the beauty of having a personal opinion. This is mine.
Hands up how many times we've read a review and TOTALLY disagreed with it. Usually the reviewer has shared their thoughts over a book we absolutely adored or where we have a personal connection with the author. Reading the review, we can feel our hackles rising and we start to slip into attack mode - ready to defend the book/author to the death. But instead of addressing whatever issues were brought up or simply accepting this is one point of view, there are times it turns into a personal attack.
I've been guilty of this. I see a review and I think "Well the reviewer is an idiot. They're either insane or have no taste" I've seen others resort to name calling - "What a stupid bitch" "What a nut job" "What a freak" For my own part - I humbly apoligise because this is just horrible. Where the reviewer is most times addressing grammar issues, not connecting with story and characters or writing style of the author, the reviewer instead is being degraded and having their character defamed.
Why? Sure you have some reviewers who may start name calling authors and I say - sling mud to your hearts content because they opened themselves to it but what about reviewers like me who desperately have wanted to love the book but just wasn't able to. I recently asked that question - I'd given a 1 star rating so did that mean I was retarded? A freak? The lowest scum of the earth because I didn't jump on the "All Hail The Mighty Author" bandwagon?
If you're a reviewer like me you desperately try. You stick it out, you hope, you put down the book and come back thinking it's YOU so you do what you can to figure it out. When you eventually finish the book - you SWEAT over the review, trying to be thoughtful and constructive. Reviewers don't like shredding authors and books. I know I don't. We're asked to give an honest opinion and we strive to do it.
So, having said all that and after all the negativity that's been thrown around surrounding reviews and meltdowns, I was given a link to an article that gave an amazing perspective... one that I applaud because it shows the author has the right attitude. This is an author that gets it, that's able to see both sides of the BOOK fence and I wanted to share it with you all.
I loved that the author shared that it wasn't because the reviewer is a petty person that they gave the low rating review - they wanted to love the book, they wanted to join the party but they weren't the target audience. It's crazy to expect everyone, everywhere to love your book and find no fault in it. Scratch that - it's not crazy if we lived in a society where everyone is the same and we have no ability to think for ourselves. As an author, there are going to be people for whatever reason, that just won't get it. In the article, Locke says that's ok and I add my agreement to it. I always say - thank the reviewer for trying and move on. Focus on those that gush, those readers that enjoyed your book. If grammar was the stumbling block - fix it. Then keep writing because there are people who are anxiously waiting for the next installment.
Anyway, that's my rant and I feel better for having shared it. Here's the article for you to enjoy!
Bad Review by jpLocke
What’s that? You got a bad review?
Aww… It’s all right. No, really, I understand. Come on over, pull up a chair. Yeah, that’s right. Get comfortable. Are you comfy? Good. Here’s a tissue. Wipe those tears from your eyes. Yeah, that’s better. Take a deep breath. You’re gonna be just fine. Now listen up, ’cause I’m gonna tell you all you need to know about “bad” reviews.
Don’t take bad reviews personally.
Yeah, I know. Easy for me to say, right? After all, I used to knock on doors selling insurance! Not to mention I’ve been married 3 times! –I mean, what can you possibly write in a review that’s gonna hurt my feelings?
Someone made fun of Saving Rachel for having 36 1-star reviews. I can deal with it. It helps that Rachel is the #1 download on Amazon/Kindle and has been for the past week. Of course, this will change, and I can deal with that, too, ’cause it’s the natural order of things.
I never received a bad review until I hit the top 100!
In your book’s infancy, you’re marketing to friends, contacts you’ve made, and their contacts. Your book attracts readers by word of mouth. They like you, recommend you, and your ratings reflect it. As your book goes “viral” and works it’s way into the top 100 it attracts readers who never heard of you. They buy your book for different reasons: they like the cover. It has lots of great reviews. It’s a best seller. And these readers will love it, hate it, or forget it. If they love it, you’ve got another fan. If they hate it, they blame you and the folks who gave you a good rating. Doesn’t mean your book sucks, and it doesn’t mean they’re petty, hateful people.
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