Thursday, January 5, 2012

CRAFT: Gut Check

It seems as if there's been a glut of instances lately where authors are behaving badly in reaction to reviews. I can't speak to the author's motives but I know this business can take a toll on you, personally and professionally. The trick is knowing when to let it affect you. 

Bottom line? Going after a reviewer who gives your books a bad rating is never (times 1000) a good idea. IMO, reviews aren't for authors, they're for readers. Granted an author is a reader, but when it comes to your book, you're not a reader now are you? The best thing you can do it brush off the review and move on. 

Better yet, don't worry about reviews. 

Say what?

You heard me. 

When it comes to moving your career forward is a one star review something you should let drive you or that detailed rejection letter you have sitting in your inbox that offers suggestions on how to fix some issues they noticed? Personally, I know what I'd listen to. A one star review on a book you've already published isn't going to end-all-be-all of your writing career. The key wording there is "book you've already published". 

Yeah, that one star review may sting a bit, but guess what? You've beaten some odds. You published a book. Proof you won part of a battle other people are still fighting. Doesn't this mean that I think you shouldn't worry about what people are going to think about your book and there should be free reign over what you publish? Um, no. I read an article yesterday about dumpster erotica. Yeah, you read that correctly. Dumpster erotica. Even me, who is about as open-minded as they come, cringed a little. But my guess is there's a target audience for it somewhere. And undoubtedly someone will give it rave reviews. And someone else will undoubtedly trash (ha!) it. 

That's just the nature of the business.

See a bad review for one of your books? Gut check yourself. Don't jump immediately, acting out of emotion. Take a step back and give your brain time to kick in so if you do feel as if you need to respond (though my advice is that you don't) that you can offer up a professional response that won't get you splashed (or trashed) around the 'net as someone who is volatile. The Key? Think long term. Ask yourself, if I lash out at this reviewer irrationally, is that going to hurt my career in the long run--remember, the internet is forever? Most of the time the answer is going to be yes. 

That's when you turn around, walk away from the computer and simply keep writing your next book.

1 comment:

D L Jackson said...

Yes, to everything. Good post, Sara. We'd love everyone to like our books, but that's not realistic. Sometime, somewhere, if your a writer, you will get a bad review. And when you do, it's time to put on your big girl panties, or big boy shorts, and get back to work on your next book.