Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reviews...It's All Relative

Reviews. This is a subject I've been meaning to cover for awhile. When we love or hate something, we're quick to give a review. As writers (at least for me), we patently wait for reviews to be written, so we can gauge how our books are received. Sometimes we squeal when it's a good one, other times we frown because we feel the reader just didn't 'get it'.

But at the end of the day, they're just that: reviews. We have to remember that reviews and personal taste is all relative. Not so different from movie or music reviews. For example, I love horror movies and am quick to give any slasher flick a rave husband not so much. Today, the hubby and I made reservations 6 months in advance to attend a country music festival (Merle Haggard is the tentative headliner) and I'm sure there are folks reading this thinking, ugh, country. Then, there are NYT bestselling books that I couldn't even get past the first chapter, while others found it scintillating and satisfying.

That being said, I do pay attention to reviews about my books. For those that leave (thoughtful) less-than-positive feedback, I put aside my own feelings and generally take what they have to say into consideration. Others, I take with a grain of salt. I just have to remember that some folks expect a lot when they pick up a book and not every story will live up to their standards. I don't think there is an author out there than can make every reader happy.

Personally, I rarely read reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. I usually purchase books based on the blurb. If it sounds interesting, I'll buy it. I don't want reviews to sway my purchasing options. Perhaps I'm easily entertained and unless there are some major issues with a book, I generally enjoy them. I mean seriously, I'm not expecting Tolstoy when I'm reading a book about teenagers with superpowers. If it's fun, I like!

Now, I don't want this post to sound like I don't think there's any value to reviews, because I do. And I wish more readers would leave them (hint, hint). But as writers, we can't take reviews too seriously (unless you're receiving bad reviews all around...that might be a sign your book needs some work)...just breathe and if you believe in your work, others will too.

For some great posts on the subject, you should check out Kate Copeseeley's posts: Author Etiquette Rule Two and Doing That Indie Thing You Do...

ROW80 Update

I'm moving along in my word count this week. I hoped to get quite a bit of writing done, but I only managed to get over 1,500 words. Nonetheless, I'm happy, considering I've had a lot on my plate this week. I hope to get a full day in on Monday (I love holidays)!

Also, please check back on Monday. A super great giveaway is planned!!


  1. Well said. I've seen quite a few posts and statements on reviews and I think you bring the heart of the matter into perspective well. Not everyone likes everything and no writer can accommodate the billion attitudes and preconceptions of the broad reading audience.

    Here's hoping you get that full day in tomorrow. Have a great week, Claudia :)

  2. Glad you highlighted Kate's posts on the subject. They're great.

    Hope you are having a great week, Claudia. How's the new job going?

  3. Good job on the writing, and I love your attitude on reviews. They're important, especially if you find a theme among them, but it's equally important to remember that opinion are subjective.

  4. Any word count is a good word count especially if you have had a busy week.

    I just posted my first review of a book and I don't think I went into the 'technical' side of the writing enough but I hope I got across how much I enjoyed the book!

    Have a great week!

  5. @Gene - Glad you enjoyed my post. I hope it helps all the new writers out there!

    @Nadja - Kate's posts are the best! I think she takes the topic a bit further, so I wanted to make sure I linked it!

    @Stacey - Thanks! I'm glad you liked my thoughts on the matter.

    @Em - I ended up writing a few hundred more words today, so I feel better about my word count. And I don't think reviews need to get too technical. As long as the author knows why you did or didn't like their book :) I'm horrible at writing reviews...I'm normally like, "read it, it's great!"

  6. I've been thinking about reviews lately, partly because I've been doing a lot of reading (I just got a Kindle over the holidays), and I've noticed that my opinions of books seem to differ quite a bit from the star ratings that I've seen. And you're right - reviews are incredibly relative, and based on personal taste. Over the years I've had to figure out which of my friends share tastes similar to mine, as that will help me decide whether or not to watch a move, read a book, etc.

    On the word count front, I agree with Em -- any word count is a good one! Good luck getting a little more done in the week to come, especially with the holiday!

  7. Claudia,

    I haven't had to deal with reviews yet, but I'm not looking forward to that part. The best advice I've ever heard on a bad review came from Jayne Ann Krentz and that was, "get it out of the house." As in don't look, don't dwell, don't spend time on a crappy review unless it comes privately from your critique partner or someone who knows your writing well. :-)

  8. @Lena - Mine tend to differ from other reader's reviews as well. That's why I don't put a lot of stock into them. If a book sounds interesting, I'll buy it based on my own preferences.

    @Jenny - That's good advice :) I wish I could say that bad reviews don't sting, but they do. But I tend to dwell on them for about a minute then move on!

  9. I love your read 'em and leave 'em attitude about reviews. It seems to the be only way to really maintain your sanity. No one's work is going to please everyone, but that is a GOOD thing. Can you imagine how bland and boring books would be without variety? Or life in general for that matter? Keep up the good work!

  10. Thanks Yolanda! I think for the most part, readers leave thoughtful reviews, but there are a few that I've read for other books and I have to wonder...


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