REVIEWS: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

What occupation has the highest suicide rate? 

Lawyers?  Dentists?  Forget's gotta be Writers!

How do you handle bad reviews?

Do you curl into a ball for the rest of the day?

Have a pity party with Ben and Jerry?

Revel in fantasies of torturing said reviewer?

Brush it off--you're amazing and the review is a f#c*ing crock of $hit?

On a more serious note, reviews are SOOOO subjective.  I stopped obsessing over them long ago. If I didn't, I'd probably have stopped writing.  Where one person raves, another will rant.  You CAN'T please everyone.  Even books you've disliked or loved are perceived differently by others.  People will even buy a sextreme book and complain about the amount of sex...really?  You have to expect a lot dirty sex in a sextreme novel, or it wouldn't be rated as such.

A good review can validate your hard work.  Honest, constructive reviewers are priceless gems.  When they 'get' your work it feels brilliant and all you want to do is pump out your next book. 

Isn't it great when a reviewer posts a 1 or 2 star with no reason what-so-ever, or even before the book is released?  *sarcasm* I've seen it happen.  The worst part is, as an author, you have to keep your mouth shut or you'll get slammed.  It's best to just KEEP WRITING what you enjoy and turn a blind eye to the ratings. 

Some of my best sellers are my lowest rated, and vice versa.  It's just WEIRD and you'd be crazy to try and understand the nature of the beast.  I do whine to some of my close author friends when I need a boost, and they're always there for me.  Sometimes reviewers bash, not realizing their review is taken personally by authors--real people are writing the books, not machines.  Constructive reviewers can help an author grow and become better. 


How do you handle the bad and the ugly? 

How do you celebrate the good?


Jillian said…
Good post- the funny thing is I'm a writer and a lawyer so I guess I'm totally doomed! LOL! I try to follow the sage advice of the great Ricky Nelson, singer extraordinare, "you know, you can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself."

That said, yes, the bad reviews still make me feel worthless! It's funny how the psyche hones in on the bad, not the good, right?
Sian said…
What's funny is bad reviews, especially the ones that are really horrid actually have prompted me to buy a book.
I've actually stopped looking - other than just a glance. I've almost stopped even sending out copies for review. Frankly, Stacey, it's frustrating and unpleasant, and I generally get very good reviews for my books. I've contacted respected reviewers with high readership to request reviews and been turned down. Apparently they prefer books from big name pubs and authors and I am far beneath their radar.
I've gotten in trouble for expressing my opinion of reviewers who skewer authors/books without giving any valid reason why. I decided it's just better to keep my mouth shut and ignore the entire process.
lastnerve said…
LMAO I loved that post. I am a reviewer! (insert spooky music here) I totally don't think that a reviewer should shred an author to bits. Reviews are so subjective that it's not even funny. I seldom have to give low reviews on books simply because I get to pick and choose the books that I review. From time to time, I go into the situation blind, not knowing the author or their work. I always feel that rating a 1 or 2 without saying why is a waste of everyone's time. Mine, because I didn't hand out any reason to the reader why they should or shouldn't read the book and the author's because if they don't know what to improve on, how will they know? I feel it's the best for the author to take the good and left the bad. Seriously, some reviewers just don't like certain authors. Forget them! For every one that doesn't like you, there are ten more that do that may not even know about review sites. Thanks for the post today, loved it!

Danica Avet said…
That picture...oh my. I have a dog just like that!

Since none of my books have come out yet, I'm still in the undecided category of being on the writer side of reviews. On the reader side, I try to give reviews when I can. I can't get all of them as much as I'd love to. I read way too many books to keep up. The ones I do write reviews for are ones that stand out in my mind, or ones that I've waited so long to read.
Jan Bowles said…
Great post, Stacey

Having recently been slated under another persona, I have to admit it does hurt. I think reviewers forget there is an actual person writing those words that they have just shredded to pieces.

On the other hand, it does get easier. The idea of receiving anything less than a 4 star review, once filled me with horror. Now it's all water off a ducks back. It's just one persons opinion. Nothing more.

Love the dog picture by the way ;-))
Liz Fichera said…
I try to keep reviews in perspective (yeah, easier said than done). And massive amounts of chocolate always helps.
Savanna Kougar said…
Mr. Schnauzer doesn't look happy... lol...

"A good review can validate your hard work. Honest, constructive reviewers are priceless gems. When they 'get' your work it feels brilliant and all you want to do is pump out your next book.:

To be honest, yeah bad reviews have stung mainly because the reviewer DID NOT have a clue. A poor review with constructive advice doesn't bother me.

I do admit to adoring the good reviews I've gotten because the reviewer 'got' my book.

That said, like Julia, I don't bother seeking out reviews anymore for several reasons. All I care about is those readers who do like my books and purchase them. THANK YOU, READERS!!!
Delilah Hunt said…
I completely agree with your post Stacey. I actually found one of my favorite authors because she was being slammed for her book being too racy. I bought the book loved it. You just have to take reviews with a grain of salt. One man's trash another man's treasure...
Laina Kenney said…
Laina Kenney said:
I have purposely bought books where the reviewer complained about the amount of sex in the novel. And I loved it! She's still an author that I follow, so you really can't judge a book by it's review!
Anonymous said…
Wow! Very interesting topic and comments. I've just had an in-depth discussion elsewhere about reviews, prompted by a review for my latest novel that I disagreed with. I didn't mind hearing the reviewers opinion, I just felt the rating didn't match the words. As Stacey said, what is so unfair is that an author can't defend themselves without getting a bad reputation. I have emailed reviewers privately for clarification over a comment they have made (but NEVER to criticise them for making that comment) and so far, they have been gracious about it. All I would say to a reviewer is to remember that what you say could be affecting the livelihood of authors you are discussing. Some sites don't post reviews with low ratings and I much prefer that method of dealing with an unpopular book.