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Reviews: The Scorching Truth

Reviews can be scorching. They can decimate an author's confidence. They can also fill an author's head with so much fluff that before long an author thinks every book she/he writes should be a national bestseller. Then there's reader reaction. Some buy books based on good reviews, where others buy them based on bad reviews. Still others don't much care what a reviewer thinks, but appreciate the blurb accompanying the review.

I decided to write about reviews today because I came across a less than flattering review of one of my stories. I don't necessarily like negative reviews, but I do like a different perspective on my work. This particular person wrote a snarky review about my book. I laughed as I read it, because if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? And everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Some of what she wrote I understood, and some I disagreed with. But I'm not going to slit my wrists because one person didn't like or get my work.

Depending upon how they're written, reviews can help or hinder a writer. What can be scary is how much influence a review can have on a reader. There are so many books available, and with costs going up, I am very choosy about what I read. So when I read a well-written review (not snarky or emotionally charged) about a "bad" book, I tend to steer clear of that particular novel.
Then again, when I'm jonesing for a great romance, it's the author's voice and content, not a review, that drives me to purchase. A happily-ever-after I can sink my teeth into.

Guardian's Redemption earned 5 stars and a Recommended Read from Fallen Angel Reviews. Does that mean I can quit my day job? Heck no. But it was nice to see that someone (besides me) liked my work.

What do you think about reviews? Like 'em or hate 'em? And how much a part do you think they play in making readers purchase books?



Lisabet Sarai said...

I've received a few reviews that sent me into a funk for a day or two. What I really hate, though, is a review that doesn't tell a reader any more about the book than he or she could learn from the blurb. A reviewer should (IMHO) offer his or her own take on a book, always with the proviso that it is a personal opinion.

I write a lot of reviews myself, for several major sites. It's a challenge. I try to remember that reviews are for readers, not for the authors. I'd prefer to give a positive review (I always try to say something positive - if I can't, I think that it's not worth writing the review in the first place), but if the book has some glaring faults, I feel that I need to be honest about them.

Sedonia Guillone said...

I have a love/hate relationship with reviews. My personal difficulty is that I can be a real reward junkie and so tend to put too much stock in reviews. A good one can have me floating for days and a bad one can make me shake and obsess about it, especially the emotionally-charged reader slams I've gotten on blogs.

I do try to take the criticisms into consideration and not just wave them off as if the reviewer is wrong. In some cases, certain comments have helped me improve my writing while in others, it seemed the reviewer missed something. It's all a mixed bag.

I haven't found that reviews generally affect sales, though on Amazon, an unhappy reader review has made sales plummet. I endeavor to take it all with a gigantic grain of salt for my own well-being. I love writing so much and that's the reason I do it. I work to make every book I write as good as it can be and there are readers out there who enjoy them very much. I write to myself, the kind of story I really want to read. That seems to be the best guideline.