Readers, Reviewers, Authors
This past week there was a small flap on GoodReads resulting in some readers and an author deleting their accounts. If I understand correctly, a reader/reviewer had won or been given a copy of the author’s work and after reading the book wrote a review. The author’s friends were displeased by the 3 star review and a thread was started on a forum, questioning whether manners were a thing of the past when it came to reviewing.
Well, I’ve seen some pretty nasty reviews, so I felt some sympathy with the poster, assuming the review she she was unhappy about was one of those nasty ones. No one likes for their book to receive mean, snarky reviews that seem designed to make the author feel like crap. I later read the review in question and found nothing rude about it at all. The reviewer listed what she liked about the book and what she didn’t. She was clear and polite. I re-read the thread and had to shake my head. I have some advice for authors receiving negative reviews: Shut up. No book is going to be loved by every single person who reads it. An author isn’t allowed to tell people how to feel about their books. If you can’t take criticism, don’t read reviews.
My latest book came out on March 18 and I’m bracing myself for some negative reviews. The hero is not like the other heroes in my books. He’s not one of the fiercely protective wolves who’ll chew off his own paw before he’d do anything to hurt or disappoint his mate. Eddie doesn’t slap Lisa around or beat her up, but he is self-centered and careless. I know that’s going to make some readers unhappy. There is nothing wrong with a reviewer saying so. An honest review giving a balanced account of what worked and what didn’t is like gold. Whether a reader loves the book or hates it, my job as an author is to write the next book, not whine about Reader A’s review or Reader B’s snark.
I’ve discussed reviews before and my views haven’t changed. Reviewers, please be polite and honest. Authors, step back and let readers do their thing.