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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reading Reviews--aaurgh!

Welcome to Donna Hosie, author of Searching for Arthur, The Fire of Merlin and her latest of the trilogy, The Spirit of Nimue. Her post today addresses what every writer wonders the second they stumble across a negative review of their work.

Thank you for visiting Coming Down the Mountain today, Donna. Please share with us, what is your take on reader reviews of your books?

I don’t think it matters whether you are publishing with a small press, publishing as an indie, or have a seven figure deal from Random-Penguin-Harper-Thingy! At some point, you are going to get reviews.

So do you read them?

I know there are authors out there who say they don’t read reviews, but I wonder how honest they are being. It must take extraordinary willpower to not read what people are saying about your work. I remember feeling sick with nerves when SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR was first released last year. I was even worse when THE FIRE OF MERLIN came out in November. I honestly didn’t read the reviews for a week.

But eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I relented. And I’m so glad I did, because to see that readers were actually enjoying the books meant the world. Naturally there will always be people who don’t like your novels, or aspects of them. Remember the online mess that occurred last year when author Keira Cass and her agent, Elana Roth, reacted to bad reviews and got into a shit storm of an online backlash? Now I’m pretty fortunate in that I’ve never had a bad review, but the one that does stick in my head is someone who gave me three stars, and then ripped into the editing. I never had a go back - absolutely NEVER have a go back - but I thought the reviewer had a cheek. Firstly, the books are edited and several other reviewers had mentioned how good it was, and secondly, I knew that particular person had borrowed the ebook from a friend and didn’t even pay for the privilege of having a go!

But I stayed calm, and watched Sherlock...and drank some wine...and ate cake!

Seriously though, it is very hard putting yourself out there. I’ve written some harsh reviews in the past, and then gone back and edited or even deleted. My philosophy is that if someone has paid for the book, then they have earned the right to critique - just be constructive.

So with the release of THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE on the 31 May, I will be waiting for the reviews with bated breath. It is my absolute favourite in the trilogy, and I am very proud of it. I just hope others like it as much.

And yes, I will not hide from the reviews...but I will probably watch some Sherlock...and drink wine...and eat a lot of cake while I read!

Sherlock, wine and cake should definitely make reading any review more palatable. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit my blog, Donna. I wish you much success with your trilogy, and especially with the release of The Spirit of Nimue.

 To find out more about Donna Hosie and her books:




  1. Sherlock, wine, and cake--sounds like the perfect response to a bad review to me. I'll remember that next time I get hit with one. :)

  2. Great post Donna- I think it would take a lot of willpower not to read reviews.
    Thanks for hosting her, Karen.

  3. I can't help myself. I read reviews, often wishing I hadn't, but I obsessively read reviews for other books how can I not for my own.

  4. I'm so not looking forward to getting reviewed becasue I tend to focus on the negative and forget that anyone said anything positive. I'll just have to find my amour when the time comes :)

  5. Authors who say they never read reviews baffle me. We *publish* to communicate. So now we don't care what comes back?
    But it is wise not to let the good ones go to your head (no, you're not the next Homer) or the bad ones to your heart(the reader who says it was the worst experience she ever had to endure clearly had never had a wisdom tooth removed, or much wisdom.)

  6. Average and below average reviews happen. I learn from all of my reviews - I know what I need to work on for the next book.

  7. Reviews for the reader help (at times). They pique your interest in buying or borrowing or e-booking the book. But I still make up my own mind. As a reader, I love reading the Wall Street Journal's book reviews, just to read excellent writing and how the reviewer approaches the subject.

  8. I am nervous for reviews one day when I am a published author. Like Donna said, it will take some extreme will power to keep me from glancing at them. I'll have to take her advice and watch some Sherlock during the process. :D

  9. Congrats Donna! It sounds wonderful~ I can only imagine-it is so hard to be brave, but you are!!!
    Yes, Sherlock n' wine would be a combo-cake always helps to calm!
    Nicely done Ladies

  10. I can't remember who said it, but someone said releasing a book is like dropping your pants in front of the world. Not that I have any interest in mooning the world, but there is a naked vulnerability inherent in soooooo wanting people to like your work, but being terrified they don't. I haven't gotten a review yet, but I can't imagine a writer not looking at them. (Kinda like gawking at a car wreck.)

    I don't have a Sherlock, but I can go with the wine and cake.

  11. I think I wouldn't be able to resist reading my own reviews, because I spend a good portion of my time on Amazon anyway. It'd be like living next to a candy store and never going inside (except if the reviews were bad, then it'd be living next to a candy store where all the candy tasted like poison).

  12. Wine and cake sounds like a good way to deal with many other things as well!

  13. Congratulations, Karen! I should dive into it, then.