Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG- Short a Few Stars

I'll admit it: I'm jealous... of writers who seem nonplussed by poor reviews. I am anything but. I fret three stars, and am almost thankful that I have not yet earned enough attention to be wary of the random 2 and 1 star review on Amazon!

But others seem to take it in stride. Ms. Jessica Bell recently laughed... LAUGHED... at a one star review, and assured me that three stars is still good.

And thus, we get to the heart of insecurity: what I know in my head and the knots in my stomach are fighting it out for control of my reactions, and my stomach usually wins.

I know that my latest book has an audience. It may be limited, and it may be niche, but those that have read it thus far have liked it. I know that it is well-edited (because I paid to have it edited) and I know that it flows well (because my hired editor told me so, and he was ruthless on other points so I trust him on this one), and I know that I am proud of it.

I also know that reading is subjective, which I have learned by being the one person that seems to not enjoy the latest big thing (I actually really did not like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).

Normally, the first Wednesday of the month is where I write out my insecurities and find some great lesson that carries me through. I promise I am arbitrating the debate happening in my anatomy, but I also really welcome feedback on how YOU handle poor reviews of your work out there for posterity!


  1. In the words of bestselling authors: it's best not to read your reviews. And I agree. And that goes to the ratings too. There's no point stressing over them. It's too late to change the book. And it is all so subjective. :)

  2. Honey, all you can do is laugh. Because it hurts. It hurt me to read that one-star review. I gulped, tears started welling up in my eyes. Then I took a deep breath and I asked myself. "Are you proud of what you've done? Yes. Do you agree with what that review said? Not really. Okay, then, them against me, and I have the power to write and publish what *I* am proud of. And no one can stop me."

    One person's trash is another's treasure right? You SHOULD be proud of your work. One person's opinion is one person's opinion. Just shake it off. Hold your ground. Another person's criticism should just slide of your back if it doesn't resonate with you. If it does resonate with you, then you know how to improve for the next time, right? :-)

  3. Reviews and criticism can be tough. But I'll let you in on a little secret. If you want a cure to the review blues, go on amazon and look up one of your favorite books of all time—or even better yet, your favorite book of this year. Doesn't matter what it is, what genre, etc. Just look up a book that you absolutely love, and would love to have written. Now look at the reviews. Click on the one and two star ratings and read them. Now go laugh your brains out. :)

    Even the best of us can't please all of the readers all of the time.

  4. I agree with the comment above. Check out every favourite author you have on Amazon, and then read the one star reviews they have inevitably collected. It will make you feel better.

  5. Every writer has strengths and weaknesses, different readers' opinions will vary based on how highly they place these skills in importance.
    For instance, in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I thought the prose was quite basic, but thought the characters and the mystery were complex and compelling.
    The main character was transparently an author stand-in. but I enjoyed other thing so much that I actually found it quite cute...

    I think if you can get a few reviewers whose opinion is generally in tune with yours, and accept that others will give you too much stick or too much praise, that's probably the healthiest approach...

  6. Everyone has great advice here. I belong to a book club, and that helps me. Never have we all loved a book or all hated a book. I am always amazed, though, when I think a book is amazing (think 5 stars) and someone else passionately hates it (think 1 star). It happens.

    I know they are hard to read, so I would avoid them as much as possible. Or, better yet, reread all your great ones when you get a poor one. Focus on the glass half full.

    And remind me I said all of this when I don't practice what I preach!