Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A writing career consists of much more than writing stories. Be prepared. Be educated. Make well-informed decisions. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.
Reviews...the coveted, the uplifting, the ego-killers. They can help produce sales and make books eligible for certain types of paid promotion and advertising.
Every author wants readers to love her stories—it’s human nature. However, reading reviews can lead to writer’s block, fear of failure, and bad behavior for the unprepared. Here are some rules to live by:
Rule #1: Not everyone will like the book. Award winning, best written, bestseller—none of it matters. Each reader will have his/her own opinion, which may or may not be the same as the author’s or another reader’s.
Rule #2: Grow a thick skin. Agent and editor rejections are usually polite, if impersonal at times. Reviews can be scathing and blunt.
Rule #3: Avoid reading reviews. Yes, a great review can boost the ego, but a bad one can affect writing. Writers write. Reviewers review. Keep them separate.
Rule #4: Bad reviews might actually help sales. Curiosity can lead to readers wanting to know why a book was rated low.
Rule #5: Sometimes, authors review books for the sole purpose of giving low ratings. Retaliation is tempting. Following through lowers the author to the author-reviewer’s level. Rise above and maintain professionalism. Do not encourage readers to behave in the same manner as the author-reviewer, either.
Rule #6: Professional reviewers may or may not like authors thanking them for reviews. Tread carefully.
Rule #7: Screen reviewers before sending ARCs and books. Some reviewers pirate free review copies. Talk to other authors and choose wisely.
Rule #8: Ask readers to leave reviews and ratings on retail sites, Goodreads, etc. politely, without pressure, and occasionally rather than frequently. Begging is unbecoming.
Rule #9: Reviews can be personal attacks on the author and may contain inaccurate plot, character, and story references. They may also be poorly written, with bad grammar and horrendous spelling. Let the review speak for itself. Most readers will recognize an unhelpful review when they see one.
Rule #10: Do not respond to negative reviews. Repeat. Do NOT respond to negative reviews. Say it with me. DO NOT RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS. Defending a book can quickly become a lose-lose situation. Close the browser window and step away from the keyboard. Do. Not. Respond.
Reviews are simply another part of a writing career and maintaining a professional demeanor is vital in the publishing world. With today’s instant social media network, an author’s single bout of bad behavior can spread to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. with a single click, resulting in lost readers and potential readers. Agents and editors will think twice about working with an author who makes a public misstep. Be the author those professional colleagues will respect.
Romance...With A Kick!