Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG - Wednesday (Relentless Reviews!)

Happy Hump Day! And a very cheery December greetings to my fellow IWSG members! Where did the year go?? November was a complete blur. Mainly because I launched my first book and juggled that with everything else.

If you're here for NA Thursday, it's at the bottom of this post. :)

I admit, I've been stressing a bit more than usual lately. It's a different writer world when our books are really out there for anyone and everyone to judge. As an aspiring author, we struggle with agent/editor requests and rejections, critiques and beta reads, revisions and endless edits. But once we graduate to published author status, the game changes a little.

What I've learned in the five weeks my book has been for sale, is that it's the same as painting a picture, hanging it in grand Central Station, and asking for people to leave their opinions of it. And they will. Everyone has an opinion, and the interwebs allow them to share it with everyone.

What is an insecure writer to do??

First of all, I've learned the best remedy is not to read those opinions at all. Some will love our work, some will not. However, for an indie author like me who is %100 responsible for everything regarding my work, the good reviews do matter. And it's an accurate way to measure whether or not I'm wasting my time writing this type of story or not.

But how to sift through the good and the bad without exposing ourselves to the bad reviews? Hmm... this is debatable. Any thoughts? Love to hear them. Luckily, so far I've only received one two-star review from a reader who didn't care for my story at all--was expecting something completely different than a new adult time travel romance--and was quite cold in her review. I won't lie, when I stumbled onto it, it was a punch in the gut. But after a few days, I got over it completely. It was good to talk about it with other writers who've been there. I think that's important.

And what I learned was, 1. GoodReads is no place for an author; and 2. I need to be prepared for these types of opinions and still love my work. The best response an author can give to a negative review? None at all.

Very important for all of us to remember.

I've since come to the conclusion that if I can make a few people happy with my story--entertain just enough to make it worth writing the sequel, then I'm good. And it doesn't matter what the others think.

How about you? How do you deal with negative reviews? Or if you're not a published author, how do you deal with negative feedback from beta readers/CPs? 

Also, please visit the Insecure Writers Support Group website for a wealth of resources and a contest! Click on the pic below to get there.

NA Thursday is here!

“The Prelude is the part of a song that pulls you in, hypnotizing you with beauty.”

After finishing design school six months ago, Erin Angelo left her tragic past behind in the States and started a new life in Milan, Italy. Burying the grief, silencing her demons, and living a life without any real attachments has worked well for her so far. But when Erin secures her first real job as a budding clothing designer, her controlled world is shaken to its core by the mysteriously sexy director of the local symphony.Alek Dostov is a man who knows what he wants and how to get it. He's successful, hot, the son of a millionaire, and women all over the world flock to see one of his performances. For Alek, Erin represents the ultimate challenge: sexy, smart, and unaffected by his charms...or so she thinks. Just like Erin, Alek avoids attachments that leave him emotionally vulnerable. But unlike Erin, his pursuit of all things pleasurable is ruthless.
Knowing how wary they both are concerning any kind of committed relationship, Alek finds a way to pursue Erin, satisfying the intense attraction between them without sacrificing the freedom they both enjoy. Sometimes the deepest passion brings out the darkest emotions. And Erin finds herself completely unprepared for the forbidden world of the young maestro and his truths and even his secrets, as she struggles to deal with her own.
Music, passion, betrayal and forbidden love spun together in one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Author Bio:
KaSonndra Leigh lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. She lives in an L-shaped house with her two sons (nicknamed the X-men), a yorkiepoo, a cat named Hercules, and a guinea pig called Achilles. She has created a secret library complete with fairies, Venetian plastered walls, a desk made out of clear blue glass, and a garden dedicated to her grandmother.

To enter the giveaway, go to each blog and enter the corresponding code into the Rafflecopter.

This is Blog #16 and the code is KASPK

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Guess what day it is? Yeah, your first line made me think of that commercial.
How do you sift through them? I do read all of them, and I look for specifics as to why something did or didn't work. The people who post one star ratings with one or two meager lines (similar to 'this sucks') I ignore. And often, the ones who didn't like it just weren't your target readers to begin with.

Karen Walker said...

I went thru a similar process when my memoir came out, Pk. I got mostly good reviews, but one person who is a blogger who does reviews, attacked me personally. She attacked the choices I made in my life. It was devastating. But I, too, learned that you can't take those things to heart. As you said, if some readers enjoy our work, that is all we can do. Put our best work out there and let go.

Michelle Wallace said...

I'd imagine that the thick skin has to get even thicker.... until we end up with elephant or rhinoceros hide! LOL
But it's super-sensitive beneath that hide...
Writer In Transit

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I know I shouldn't read reviews, but I do anyway. :-P I guess I'll just have to develop a thick skin. (Or try to reason with my computer screen.) ;)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I think it depends on if the negative review is done in a constructive vein and not in a personal attack/critical way. I usually step back from the initial hurt and try to see the comment or crit as objectively as possible.

Chrys Fey said...

My debut has been out just a little over a week and I am fearing my first bad review. I know they will come because not everyone will like my ebook, and every writer gets them, but I am still bracing myself. I am reading the 5 and 4 star reviews, but if I see a low rating I am telling myself I won't read it at all. And I am hoping curiosity doesn't get the better of me.

It sounds like the 2-star giver didn't look into your book details well enough before she read your book and that's why she was disappointed, and that's not your fault at all.

Excellent advice about what to do when you get a bad review: Nothing!

Emma Adams said...

I completely failed at taking my own advice not to read reviews, but the one two-star review I received really stung and made me doubt myself as a writer. I know it happens to everyone - look at the awful reviews some bestsellers get!

William Kendall said...

It does require a thick skin, and not to dwell on negative reviews.

M. R. Buttars said...

Negativity is so hard to cope with some days. I'm not published yet, but some really harsh reviews of the first novel I sent for critiques has made me gun shy.

Congrats on the new release! That is an awesome accomplishment, no matter what others think. You are published. That should be a pretty good bubble inflater when something tries to pop it. ;) Good luck!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Alex is right. Not every genre is for everyone. Reviews still haunt me, but I'm actually getting stronger. You need to shove off those bad words and realize you've published a book you are proud of.

I agree with you, if a reviewer has nothing nice to say then don't say it.

Barbara Watson said...

Sounds like you have a great perspective, PK!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

This might seem silly, but my favorite way to deal with a gut kick review is to go to Stephen King's page on Amazon or wherever and read the one and two star reviews. And then feel smug and know that it truly does happen to the best of us!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, PK,
I can't the bad reviews don't get me down, but I understand not everybody will like my writing.

By the sound of things, you have it all under control.

S.K. Anthony said...

I don't know how some authors don't read any reviews at all, I can't stop myself lol. I just look at the less than favorable ones as ways to improve my work. If its just not their type of story, then nothing I can do about that. If they think I can improve on certain aspects, then I've learned something about my weaknesses. In the end, we have to write for ourselves and know that we love it, period.

Also, wine helps.


As a reader I read reviews, but don't put a lot of stock in them. I especially hate the ones that write Spoilers in the book review without warning! I think what matters is what you get from the synopsis. If it is intriguing then read it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm okay with ignoring negative reviews. The worse review I got was some one complaining because there was too much romance in my romance novel. LOL. You can't argue with that kind of foolishness.

Julie Flanders said...

I got a few negative reviews and decided it was better for me to ignore all reviews, good or bad, because I don't have enough confidence to handle the bad ones yet. I know I need a tough skin, but I'm still working on it. When I do come upon a good review though it sure is like a little slice of heaven. Such a thrill. :)

Robin said...

I haven't had to deal with negative reviews yet (one of those benefits of not being published, I suppose). I don't know if I'll be able to avoid goodreads, so good for you! And I'm glad you're writing the sequel:)

shelly said...

Yes. Ignore reviews. Especially mean spirited ones. I had a few Goodreads reviews from some unknowns. But I thanked them for their honest reviews whether they liked my book or not. It's always good to be gracious no matter what.

Hugs and chocolate!

Robin said...

Here is what I thought of when you mentioned your bad review (due to getting something other than what the woman that it was)... Do you remember the movie Postcards From The Edge? I was so excited to see it. The trailer was hilarious. I thought it was a comedy. When I saw it at the movies, it turns out that every funny scene in that movie was in the trailer. The movie was a serious drama. I hated it. Why? Because I was expecting a comedy. I wanted to see a comedy. I came to laugh. I did not laugh.

Was the movie bad? Actually, no. But I hated it... because it was not what I was expecting. It sounds to me like this reader had an expectation of something that was not your book. How did this person get that idea? I do not know. Every blurb I have read about your book indicates exactly what it is.

However, maybe she only skimmed the blurb - or didn't read it at all. Maybe she bought from the title and cover. Who knows??? I would only worry about this sort of review if (and only if) you continue to get people saying that they expected one thing and got another. If that happens, I would look for where the misdirection is happening.

I think the other thing we have to accept is that not everyone is going to like our story. Yep. You cannot please everyone. All you can do is make it your best effort. No one can ask for more than that.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny how at each stage of this writing process we get freak out about things and then we work through them and not so freaked out anymore, but I'm with you PK on this one. My thought now is to not read reviews at all unless someone I trust sends my a link to a specific good one. And, Goodreads, I hope everyone is understanding how reviews on their are not completely trustworthy.

Andrew Leon said...

I think an author should read all of his/her reviews. It's good to know what works and what doesn't. Most reviews won't actually give you that, but the ones that do are worth reading even if they're bad. Sometimes the things that aren't working will be things you chose to be that way, so it's only that it's not working for that person; other times, it will be things you missed, and those are important to know.

I think, in the end, that is the best service of having a harsh CP. If you can work through things before you publish with someone who doesn't let you slide by, you're better able to deal with a bad review because, then, it comes down to taste.

What sucks, though, is when you get a low ranking from someone that actually likes the book, but that's a story for another time.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Don't think you need to bother with the rankings, I'm sure people just add the number of stars according to their mood.

David List said...

Argh, I can't wait until I'm a published indie author with 1 and 2 star reviews!!!
I've heard the smart folks say don't respond. I've also heard them say don't read the reviews at all. I wholeheartedly agree. If it's constructive feedback you're after, make sure the public can contact you via email or blog and encourage feedback in that way. That should separate the wheat from the chaff.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Bad reviews are tough. It sounds like you've got a good perspective. And I really liked Alex's approach too.

E. Arroyo said...

I don't read them. Good or bad. I just look at the overall and how many reviews are there. It has helped me move forward. The thing is written, you can't change it anyway. I learned that from Elana Johnson. =)

Mark Murata said...

Save the good reviews and use them when negotiating with your publisher for higher pay for your next work.

Anonymous said...

I read all of my reviews, and although I NEVER respond, I do appreciate even the two-star ones (I don't think I've received a one-star yet). I'm still humbled anyone would read my words, and I want to know what didn't work for them to help me grow as a writer. And hey, how many reviews you have helps you in your Amazon standings, whether they were positive or negative. Win-win :-)

Tammy Theriault said...

well just think of it this way, obviously your book was an amazing idea because it was published and it REALLY was awesome. i'll tell u that all day babe. all day...

Lexa Cain said...

What a good time for me to read this post. It's hard for me to take bad reviews or ratings too seriously when I see books from my favorite authors have 5000 ratings but the average is 3-stars - and on books I'd give 5-stars. We write because we love it, and we think we have something to say. Few succeed right out of the gate, and we get better the more we write. Keep going, PK, no matter what any reviews or ratings say. You're stronger than that. :-)

Kittie Howard said...

Thank you for sharing, PK! I'd thought Goodreads was a waste of time and dumped it last year so wasn't surprised you've moved on. You're wise to ignore negative reviews. Actually, I'm suspicious of oddball negative reviews, even more so after reading several blogs that pinpoint jealousy as the reviewer's motive. It's kinda like those social bots that create both positive and negative attention but are just robots designed to make mischief.

E.J. Wesley said...

That's one steamy NA cover! LOL *blushes* :)

As for the reviews: It took me two published stories before I quit scanning them daily. Now I only look at them when I need a blurb or something.

And mine aren't bad at all! It's just too frustrating for me on multiple levels. 1) When they're flattering I think, "I'm so not that good" or "why can't everyone be like her?!". 2) When they're less-than-flattering I feel like a hack. And again, they don't have to be scathing for me to feel that way. Just a "I didn't really love it."

So my ultimate solution is to not read them. Like pretty much ever. I won't lie, I do pop over to my Amazon product pages from time to time and check the number of reviews I've gotten, but other than that I don't look beyond release week.

You can't connect with everyone, and lots (LOTS) of people put as much thought into their reviews as you put into tying your shoelaces. (The star rating system will be the death of us all…) So why torture ourselves?

Carrie-Anne said...

I tend to read the 1-3-star reviews first when deciding if I want to read a book. An honest negative review can be more helpful than 100 5-star reviews that essentially all start to sound the same after awhile. I personally probably wouldn't want to read my own reviews, though, after being published.

It's admirable when writers say they learnt something from a (constructive) less-than-perfect review, like how they might need to change things in the sequel or focus more on world-building in future books. But then there are people who just didn't connect with the book, in spite of good writing and a good story.

I hate 1-star reviews from students whining about being forced to read a book, or people who didn't realize a book was a romance novel/historical/children's lit/fantasy/etc. Clearly you didn't even read the blurb before you purchased it! My favorite negative review was from a woman who gave a book 1 star because someone stole her Kindle and used her credit card information to purchase the book for his/her child. And that says what about the actual contents...?

Sherry Ellis said...

It's tough when you put so much of yourself into your work, and then you get less than favorable opinions. As a reviewer, I try to keep that in mind and say at least one nice thing, even if I think the story has some serious problems.

LD Masterson said...

Ah, the only up side to being basically unpubbed. No bad reviews.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, PK!!!

I'm back in Florida…. I have SOOOOO much to tell you.

Hopefully I can see you this week. I know it's short notice, but maybe we can work something out. I am free from tomorrow until Wed. and After next Sat.

Don't worry about ONE bad review.I don't have these worries yet. LOL. I'm still in edits!!!!! EEEEEK!!!!

Trisha F said...

I don't have any good advice as I am not "there" yet, in terms of having published anything. But I have seen many of my fellow writers self-publish and then find it very hard to ignore the negative reviews.

I haven't even pubbed yet but I already know that a lot of times, readers just won't "get" your story. Maybe it won't be their preferred genre and so they'll give a low review. Readers seem to give low reviews with no good reason. You can't control a reader's reaction, and sadly a lot of the time it seems their reaction makes no sense and/or isn't fair.

Maybe you could get a friend to trawl through reviews for you & only pick out the good ones? :D

Leslie S. Rose said...

I think the peeps who give 2 star reviews should be required to submit a writing sample of their own to gauge their own literacy. BTW - I just bought the Kindle version of your book CAN'T WAIT TO READ IT.

Lynda R Young said...

The bad reviews don't bother me at all (which came as a surprise). I just figure not everyone will like my stories and for the ones who don't, then they just aren't my audience.

By the way, now that NaNo is finished, I have more time to read. I've finally started reading your story. I'm loving it!

Cally Jackson said...

I read every review I get but I try not to dwell on them too much. I read the review you were talking about (actually before I read this post - I like reading other reviews of books I've just read), and I think the reviewer has an issue with drugs in fiction. Not every book has to be a cautionary tale though. Clearly she's not your ideal reader. :-)