Reviews: The good, the bad, and the fugly.

January 27, 2016

Writers/Authors (pick your title) always seem to act like it’s a life and death decision when it comes to how they deal with reviews of their work. Most people choosing to offer advice on the subject would argue that you NEVER engage. Good or bad, just don’t do it. Listen to those people. Those people will keep you out of the spiral of ugliness that can spawn when you try to rationalize or explain the words you put on the page.

Once you hit publish, your chance to say what you meant ends. Now to clarify, in the event a reader asks you a direct question about something in the book, by all means, answer. If they send you a direct comment on your blog, FB page, or other social media page as they gush and fawn over your book and how awesomesauce, glitteriffic it was, by all means, say thank you. Pimp the comment to other readers if you want. However, commenting on a review found elsewhere…NO.

Some would argue, why not respond to the five star reviews? Do you know what it looks like when you have a butt load of reviews (if you’re lucky) and you only respond to the “good” ones? It looks like you can’t tolerate anything less than adoration when it comes to what you’ve penned.

If you are wanting to respond to a blogger/book reviewer, here’s how you can do it without responding on a sales channel. Most reviewers have a blog/website. Comment there. Tell them thank you and that you’re glad they enjoyed it or simply thnak them for reviewing your book. Send them an email, pimp the review link, refer other authors to that reviewer, and share, share, share.

Do not, comment on sales channels.

Trust me, I get it. I want to thank all the people who like what I’ve done. I want to shout from the tallest building–well not the tallest since I’m scared of heights; I’ll shout from my balcony, which isn’t very high, but you get what I mean…Where was I? Oh yeah, shouting.

I want to roll around in the praise of what I managed to get across; to give out digital high-fives to the ones who get it. And there’s the sand paper rub. Every review–good or bad–is a lesson. A five-star review could be a simple circle jerk of how awesome-hearts-stars-and-rainbows-unicorn-glitter-poop you are, which while it feels good, has the potential tell you absolutely nothing as an author. The other end of the spectrum hosts those who either didn’t get it or those who are not your audience.

Believe it or not, your book is not for everyone. Just like everyone won’t like you for whatever reason, people will have that same reaction to your book. Someone may hate all people whose name is Jane and just your luck your heroine’s name is Jane. She kicks ass and doesn’t bother taking names. Just so happens Reviewer Somebody doesn’t give a flying Fig Newton. Her name is Jane and therefore you get a one-star.

Lesson to be taken, that person isn’t your target reader/audience. Think what you will in the privacy of your home, with your friends, but leave those thoughts offline. Responding will only get you in a world of hurt. Verbal fights online are time consuming and frankly a waste of time. You could be writing instead of trying to convince a single reader to change their mind about your book.

Your reaction should be? Nothing. Say and do nothing. The reviews on any retail site or Goodreads are not for you. They are for other readers and potential readers. Your response makes you look douchey.

A douche is a product they sell in stores. We, as people of higher reasoning, shouldn’t be scented water meant to be shoved into lady bits.

If you want to make an impact with potential readers write good books, talk to them about more than your books and how awesome they are, and finally, be a decent human being online. Offline too, but that should go without saying.