Friday, March 16, 2012

Turn The Other Cheek


“If you get a bad review, it’s because someone outside your target audience has found your book and gave it a shot. It’s no reflection on them as a reader, and no reflection on you as a writer. If, as an author, you don’t understand this, your writing will suffer, because you’ll be writing not to get bad reviews instead of writing to reward your target audience.”   – John Locke

The current consensus on whether or not authors should reply to a bad review is 'don't.' Some say don't even read them at all. I personally find myself torn between reading my (eventual - thinking positive here) reviews to see if there are repeated comments on certain aspects of my writing that might need improvement and ignoring them entirely to spare my feelings and my motivation.

For a thought-provoking post on the subject, click here. And for a hilarious post on the subject, [click here... Update: Unfortunately, Meljean removed the post, so I had to remove the link. Total bummer, that. It was side-splittingly hilarious.]. (Warning: There's some foul language in this one.) Be sure to read all 5 days worth - the posts are short and it gets better as it goes along.

And, as a bonus, for an interview of Locke on self-publishing, click here.

What do you think?

10 comments:

  1. I don't see anything wrong with reading reviews, positive or negative, but if a writer finds that the act of reading affects their writing (in a detrimental way), then maybe they should stop. I think that's the key. Figuring out when it's helping and when it's not.

    I generally don't think writers should reply to reviews, good or bad, at all though. That conversation's not for them.

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    1. I think I might end up taking this approach, Alessahinlo. You make a very good point. Thanks for visiting. = )

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  2. Well, so far I've only had positive reviews to read (yay!) but I know the day will come when I have to deal with negative reviews. I have to remind myself of the books I've read that I haven't liked. Not all of them were bad. Some I just didn't like because they weren't my thing, regardless of how well they were written, or how many other people praised them. So... the same should apply for my own books :)

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    1. Good point. Thanks for stopping by. = )

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  3. I think there's a big difference between bad reviews and vindictive reviews from readers who have nothing better to do than trash-talk. As someone who reads through reviews on a regular basis if its an author I don't know, so I do rely on the opinions of other readers to help me sort out if the book is the right fit for me. The reviews I appreciate the most are the honest and constructive reviews where a reader points out strengths and weaknesses of the book.

    A bad review doesn't necessarily turn me off, especially when the reviewer explains or backs up the reason for the bad feedback. Then I can decide for myself if the negative is something that will bother me, too! The same goes for good reviews - I want to know why a book is good. Solid examples are what I look for rather than a bunch of sentences that keep repeating it was a good book.

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    1. I agree, CB. When deciding what to buy, I usually place the most stock in the 2- to 4-star reviews -- especially those that express what specific things made the reader score it that way. I can usually tell if the book is for me or not. It's not that 1- or 5-stars can't be valid, but they're both suspect -- the 5-stars often being from friends, family or other influencers, and the 1-stars sometimes being vindictive or opinions in the minority.

      Thanks for taking time to comment. ; )

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  4. I don't really look at reviews. I look at the product or article myself and decide for myself what I like or not.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  5. Love that quote by John Locke...

    I don't think authors should respond to bad reviews... but I also think that (and this goes along with my troll post, lol) some reviewers go too far--where I think the author has every right to step up for themselves and stop the harassing... although, from what I've witnessed, that never ends up well :/

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  6. Bahahaha! I forgot about that Meljean Brook post. Good stuff. :D

    Anyway, I'm glad you touched on this subject. The Locke quote was a great addition. :)

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    1. Yes, that MJB post is a total hoot.
      Thanks for stopping by. ; )

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. = )