When I had my first book published in 2011, I was prepared for bad reviews. Books are like anything else, everyone has different tastes. On Goodreads, there are over 21,000 1-star reviews posted for To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my all-time favorites. (I admit to reading some just to make myself feel better.) There are even people out there in the world who don’t like chocolate, so I can’t expect everyone to like my book. I’m fine with that. I have faith that over time the right readers will find me and people who don’t enjoy my work will find authors they do like.
A well-written critical review can give readers as much or more valuable information about a book than a glowing, best-thing-since-sliced-bread review. But there were many things about reviews I didn’t expect. For one, the pleasure and vehemence some people express when trashing a book is one of those things. Another is the fact that people will buy a book without reading the book description and then blame the author when it isn’t exactly what they wanted. I can’t even comment on those that post reviews with so many incorrect details it’s clear they haven’t read it. Lastly, if you feel a book is wasting your time, why would you continue to read it? There are zillions of published books out there, truly something for everyone. Time is valuable. Read something else. Personally, I try to give a book 3 chapters. If it hasn’t hooked me by then, I move on. No harm, no foul.
All of these things perplex me, but the bottom line is that I’m trying to swear off reading bad reviews. Negativity bogs down my creativity and productivity. It’s hard, though. Reviews are like crack for writers. They’re scabs that beg to be picked. We MUST KNOW what every single person on the face of the earth thinks of our work.
The good reviews, the people who truly love what we’ve written, the readers who email us asking when our next book is coming out because they can’t wait to read it, those are the moments that make writers swoon. But how does an author resist reading negative reviews?
Readers, do reviews influence your buying decisions? Writers, do you read the reviews of you books? If not, how do you resist?