Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insecure about Getting Reviews

I really need to go sign up for Alex's Insecure Writers Support Group. I love reading everyone's posts on this first Wednesday of the month. I need to join the crowd since I'm settled in my new home and blogging more regularly. So yes, I'll finish this post and go sign up.

Today I'm insecure about reviews, knowing this is my blog tour and the reviews are coming in for Afraid of Everything...Fortunately so far I've been extremely happy with them, and today is no exception. Audry Fryer at All Things Audry starts her post today with this statement:

"If I told you I read this fascinating page-turner about a woman who spends the first half of the story in a therapist's office analyzing her anxiety disorder and the second half in a coma, you might think I was in need a therapy session or two. Yet, what lies on the surface of this novel is only the tip of a deeply, gratifying story."

Which gives me a chuckle since I know I tend to begin my novels slowly. Unfortunately, that often leads to bad reviews from people who have no patience with it. But Audry kept reading and has given me a fabulous review, thankfully.

I don't think there's a writer out there who isn't insecure about getting reviews. We want them, we need them, we crave them. And sometimes they're great, like Audry's, and then they can be heart crushingly awful. I've gotten quite a few of those, especially for my first novel Uncut Diamonds.

How do you deal with bad reviews? Have you learned a way that works for you?

27 comments:

  1. Seeking reviews is a scary, scary thing. But a good thing -- even the bad ones can help us become better writers. I can't beleive you weren't in IWSG before. Glad to hear you're settled in. :)

    Congrats on this awesome review for Afraid of Everything. That's quite a feat to have turned a coma into a page-turner!

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    1. Nicki, I used to be on IWSG early on but then so much was happening in my life I stopped posting regularly. The last line of your comment will make a great blurb, hope you don't mind if I use it!

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  2. Yes, definitely sign up for the IWSG! I enjoyed the snippet from Audry's review, and it made me want to read the book!

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  3. Reviews are important for an author, especially on the initial release of a book. And I know that sometimes getting them can be very difficult. I do try to review just about everything I read (as well as movies I watch or albums I listen to), but still I get negligent about it at times.

    Keep reminding people about reviews and hopefully readers will more often become reviewers as well.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Lee, I review every book I read as well, on Goodreads. My Goodreads account also provides an excellent way to organize and see the books I"ve read.

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  4. I assure myself that everyone, even the most famous, successful writers, get bad reviews. As along as the good outnumber them, I can forget them.

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    1. Susan, That's my secret too, and it works! I'm never happy about a bad review but they keep me from pressing forward.

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  5. Congratulations on the good review, Karen. I know how wonderful that feels. As for bad ones. Ouch. But, as we all know, wounds heal. Happy IWSG! I'm #63

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  6. I had one dreadful review - but the writer suggested that no one would be interested in tales of a granny wandering round the world, so I guess he/she is young and thinks anyone over 30 is just waiting to die. So I had a glass of wine, and settled back with my Lonely Planets and wondered where to go next.

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  7. I had my first poor review recently. I took it better than I thought I would. Maybe my years of critique group participation has thickened my skin a bit. I thought, "Well, I guess my book isn't for her." I'm in the middle of seeking reviews for my first book still, so I'm still on tenterhooks for each one.

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  8. Congrats on the review. Yeah, I really dread getting a bad review. But I once read a blog post on how an author also loved getting bad reviews/1 star ratings. It allowed him/her to look into what they don't like about it as a way to improve their writing. As for me, I just try to remember that the bad review isn't against me personally. Maybe they just didn't like it. It wasn't their genre. It could a whole myriad of reasons but at the end of the day I should at least take it as a constructive criticism to hone my craft even more.

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  9. I haven't published anything yet, so I haven't had to deal with bad reviews. But even bad reviews tells you that people liked your book enough to spend the time commenting on it. It's better than getting no reviews at all.

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  10. Hi, Karen!

    SO happy to hear about the GREAT reviews!!!! I can't wait till the day i get my first. LOL.

    Thanks for stopping by today. So nice to see you often. I need to blog more, but as you know my life is in INSANITY mode right now. Hopefully by the end of April, I will be in my new condo working on the remodels... Still no news yet, but I will certainly let everyone know when my offer's been accepted. THEY WILL ACCEPT IT... LOL.

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  11. So pleased that that you are getting good a good review! Bad reviews almost seem to be a verbal attack on your baby.

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  12. I've been too nervous to outright ask anyone to review my books, in case they don't like them and give a negative review. I know negative reviews are inevitable, but it seems to sting more when it's from someone you solicited for a review instead of a stranger.

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  13. You should sign up! I stopped by thinking it was an IWSG post anyway.
    Glad that reviewer kept reading.
    I try to learn from my reviews. Except the really bad ones, as the review is usually one line of lameness.

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  14. I signed up and I am not a writer:) I had just read another post about the same issue. It is hard not to read reviews but i think it might be better to have someone else read them and then let you know if it is positive or negative. If it is negative then find out if the critic is giving some constructive criticism which you may feel you can learn from or if the jerk or jerkess is just being a mean SOB

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  15. I got over negative reviews pretty quick. It's just another part of this 'work' that I have no control over. I did get one scathing review. However, it was so glaringly 'hate' contrived that I eventually ignored it. And after readers read all the other reviews, they will come to the same conclusion. That 'hate' review was by someone who got enjoyment out of being deliberately malicious. I suggest to focus on the good reviews, share them (or portions) on twitter and your other social media OFTEN! Make banners that include the highlights of your reviews. Then go to work and get more, as many reviewers to you find. Blessings.

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  16. Kudos to a great review! Glad to connect with you through IWSG! Love your banner image!

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  17. I didn't think it began slow. I was into long before she went into a coma. That shows that it all depends on the reader.

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  18. I've only been published in short story anthologies, or e-zines, and those do not get reviews. But I do fear having someone review my work - I've had a couple comments on one story where the reader said "didn't get it, wasn't sure I liked it." Something like that. Oh well. I review a lot of books/stories, so I understand the fear of getting a bad review. I've even written a few myself. Its a shame that marketing relies so heavily on reviews to get a book to rise in the ratings game.

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  19. I imagine I might tend to take bad reviews personally, although writing online flash fiction for instant critique had helped take the sting out of it. At this stage I read and review a lot, mainly on goodreads, as I feel it's more useful to an author to have a goodread's review rather than a blog review. Maybe not. But I only review books I can give 4 starts to. Hope you continue to get mainly good reviews for your novel.

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  20. Fabulous feedback for your new book, Karen.
    I have a writer friend who keeps saying she has some awful gosh-darn reviews to her book. But wherever I've looked, I see a whole host of great reviews with nary a smattering of sort-of negative ones. we are too sensitive, ey?
    Here's to many more of all varieties, but especially the helpful and thoughtful good ones.

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  21. Excellent first review. That's awesome.

    How do I handle the bad ones? First, I know everyone gets them- so that makes me feel better. Second, I rarely read reviews that are just hatchet jobs (usually you can tell them by their horrendous grammar). And third, those less than stellar reviews that are well written, that a reader put time and effort into formulating after evaluating the story- well, those are learning experiences. Feedback at its finest.

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  22. Getting any sort of review means people are reading your book, right? :)

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  23. I've just submitted my book for its very first review, and I'm so nervous! I've never been reviewed before.

    But IWSG is an amazing community. Glad you're joining!

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  24. Reviews...yikes! I just got a one-star review from someone who said my book changed her life. Figure that one out! (I ASSUMED it changed her life in a positive way, but maybe not...) I've found there's not much you can do about reviews. I refuse to read a review before reading a book because I want to make my own judgment. I feel the same way about movies. Fiction to me is very subjective and I don't need other people's thoughts in my head while I'm reading/watching.

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