November 5th, 2008
My Take on Reviews

Writerly Wednesday

In light of a few posts on reviews and how authors deal with reviews, I decided to outline my own process for reviews of my books. It might be of some interest to newer authors.

I keep a Google Alert for my name and for the title of each book I release and when I get alerts, I go to check them out. I also find out about reviews when I’m emailed them by my publisher or the reviewer.

I read all reviews of my books. I know some authors do not but I really want to know what my readers think. I read each one carefully and look for what the reviewer liked, what they did not like, and useful comments. I also look to see how that review ranks compared to others of the same book so I can see patterns and things more than one reviewer mentions.

I try to figure out what I can improve for future stories. Is there something I can do differently or add/remove to have made this reviewer happier and can I apply that to what I’m working on now?

The next thing I do is to send an email to the reviewer to thank them for the review. I do this for every review, no matter whether it was a positive or negative review. Even if the reviewer didn’t like my book, they still took the time to read it and write up a review. Most reviewers only receive a copy of the book in return for their review. My personal feeling is that this is polite and professional and I know, when I used to be a reviewer, these thank you notes were rare and appreciated.

If I have questions about the review or want to get more information on something the reviewer said, I’ll ask them in an email. Most reviewers are happy to give more information and elaborate on something that may not have fit in the formal review.

Then I’ll mention the review on my blog and that book’s page on my website. Now in this, I admit, I typically use the postitive reviews or ones that have positive blurbs in them. And I provide a link back to wherever the review is located if it’s online.

If I get a recommended read or similar, I’ll post the graphic for it prominently as it is a thing to celebrate. No good reviews should be taken for granted.

But I never, ever, complain or gripe about reviews except maybe to my husband. You can’t change someone’s opinion of your book by complaining about their opinion. It’s a completely losing proposition and only makes you look bad. It’s far better to read it, get whatever you can from it, thank the reviewer for their time and move on.

I think each author has to decide what they can deal with and how when it comes to reviews. It does hurt when you get a bad review and it affects some people more than others. I eat a few pieces of chocolate and get over it but that’s just me.

I think all authors should remember that these are our customers….

One comment to “My Take on Reviews”

  1. I totally agree and wish more authors would take this on board – not everyone will love it all – ask for the differences if you are interested, before dishing the dirt.

    Good one.