We love them, we hate them, we need them.
As authors, a big part of our success is having our readers or "clients" leave a review for us. We ask for honesty—some of us really want it, the rest only want honest 5-Star reviews. Most of us (I hope) are in it for the joy of writing and actually appreciate ALL reviews.
Are our feelings capable of being hurt? Sure. We're only human, after all (most of us, anyway). Attack our work, and we feel attacked. Praise our work, we love you. But things aren't always as black and white as it seems. It takes guts for us to put our work out there for all to see and
critique enjoy. But all the guts in the world don't make our novels perfect for everyone. So, we'll all get a variety of ranges in reviews, and that's good. Really. Why? Because we're all different. And so are our readers. It keeps it real.
Personally, I feel a tiny panic attack each time I see I have a new review on Amazon or Goodreads. Then I read it, because I can't not read it, and whether I agree with their thoughts or not, I nod. I can't complain though, so far they've all been great (lower ones included), and until I get a horrible review my next statement stays true: even if we don't like the negatives, we do need them because they help us grow. Part of me wishes they would email us and crush our hearts in private, but frankly that's not the game. The game is: as much as we feel insecure about what our readers have to say, we need them to say what they have to say, the way they need to say it. Of course this doesn't mean they're ALL correct. Some just read the book/eReader upside down or had way too many drinks before they read our books, clearly.
Also, personally, I really love the great reviews. And those in particular, I'd rather they not email me privately. In fact, they have my permission to scream it to the world. Seriously, do it. Go ahead. Even if you haven't read my work, take my word for it. No? Fine. I had to try :P. What are your thoughts, though? Do you read them? Do you take personal offense? Or do you accept that they're a necessary evil?
Before I go, I'll leave you with a fun ranking system an author friend posted a couple weeks ago. He thinks as authors we should be able to rank our reviewers' reviews. For the full post, you can visit Raymond Esposito's Blog.
These are straight up a copy and paste from his blog:
Reader gives 5-Stars: We are best friends because obviously the reader is an intelligent and insightful person worthy of my efforts to maintain a continued relationship.
Reader gives 4-Stars: We are friends and while I believe the reader to be a bit of a perfectionist and at times difficult to please, I do understand that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
Reader gives 3-Stars: No friendship here, but we can maintain a civil although distant acquaintance whereas I say nothing further and the reader agrees to further educate themselves so that his or her future reviews demonstrate a better recognition of my talent.
Reader gives 2-Stars: Obviously this misguided and illiterate soul should not be reading books. I’m certainly not going to subject myself any further to his lunacy as both me and my Mom recognize my talent and obviously don’t require the opinion of this poopie head.
Reader gives 1-Star: You Are Dead To Me – you never existed and you didn’t read my book.