By C. Hope Clark –
Okay, let’s talk about this. I’ve been watching people run rampant across the web, in various writers groups, talking about negative reviews.
Yes, they are devastating to writers.
Yes, they can make you mad and crave to strike back.
You will never please every reader. Someone will eventually think you are absolutely stupid for what you wrote. Your characters were two-dimensional. The plot never made a valid point. The setting was mundane. The red herrings were too obvious. The romance too cheezy . . . predictable, shallow, poorly written, etc.
And yes, these people have a right to leave a review. You chose to present your work to the public. Do you think nobody will have an opinion on it? Of course you want four- and five-star reviews.
Maybe they made a mistake in the review, like saying your setting was New Hampshire instead of Vermont. Maybe they thought it was a mystery when it was a romance. Maybe they prefer literary and got a commercial sci-fi, and are frustrated they wasted their time. They may have confused the title to mean one topic, then the book took off in another direction.
But even if they did not read the entire book, they are entitled to an opinion.
There are horror stories abounding these days, where naysaying groups are banding together to bash bad writing by authors. Others unite to bash bad reviewers. Both sides descend upon the web to search and destroy. Authors get hurt. Reviewers get hurt.
Let’s just stop here and say that we should treat each other with respect. I have a few iffy reviews. No, I did not chastise them, just as I hope nobody would chastise me for any review I left.
Let’s try to be professional. Let’s try not to toss comments out there anonymously. Let’s struggle to post our best work and leave our best reviews. And let’s hold our tongues if we don’t like what someone else has said. It’s so tempting to throw out too-quick remarks on the Web.
Publishing and writing is difficult enough as it is without us fueling the fire of negative commentary.
But . . . we do owe authors the courtesy of a review. No, I’m not pandering for reviews. I’ve been as negligent as anyone in reading a book and moving on. Now, I try to make a point to pick my stars and leave comments at Amazon or Goodreads, if for no other reason than to thank the author for spending so much time and effort to put yet another book out there for the reading public.