Friday, October 7, 2011

How Should I Respond to Good and Bad Reviews?

It’s great to read good reviews after years of working on a book.  It puts me in a better mood as I start to think of news ways of promoting my book.  I find these reviews scattered about.  I have more than a half dozen on Amazon and six more at GoodReads.com.  I have a couple on smashwords.com and Librarything.com.  At times I’m tempted to thank the review and even beg to post it in more spots, but I don’t want to burden a reviewer who has been so nice to suddenly go around the internet posting reviews.

And just like a good review can cheer me up, a bad review can bring me down.  I’m lucky; I’ve only had one so far (I’m sure that will change).  And the reviewer gave me three out of five stars (I know eventually I’ll see one-star reviews, but lucky for me, most have been five stars).  Three stars isn’t bad, but the review wasn’t.  I saw what the reviewer was getting at and felt like shutting it down.  I no longer wanted to promote it and wondered if I was wasting my time.  Then I saw some other authors tweeting about their bad reviews.  I’m not sure what the point was, but it elicited sympathy.  “Oh, that reviewer is terrible and so wrong…”, “I’ve had bad reviews too, don’t worry about it,” etc.  In one case I saw a author responding to a negative review.

I imagined myself contacting the reviewer and explaining myself.  “You’ve missed the point,” I imagined myself writing.  But then wouldn’t I have missed the point of the review?

When I was a kid, I remember teammates crying when they struck out.  I cried about a lot of things, but I don’t remember crying when I struck out.  I also remember teammates jumping up and down and practically peeing in their pants when they got a homerun and teasing the other team as they rounded the bases.  My dad told me, “KJ, act like you’ve been there before.  No need to cry or taunt the other team.”  So when I struck out or hit a homerun, I tried to remain stoic.

And that’s how I try to deal with reviews.  Even though I’m tempted to do otherwise.

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