Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group (7)

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Reviews…
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.
Now, I'm not saying I agree with him…but I don't entirely disagree lol. 

57 comments:

  1. I'm not in a position to receive any proper reviews for anything yet, but I'm sure when it comes time I will be equally as nervous.
    I'm hoping this year will be my year for getting something out there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather, this is your year! I can bug you weekly if you want, and then when your work is out there we can freak out together when we get reviews lol

      Delete
  2. I'm the same as Heather, but thanks for sharing that 5-Star rating, wicked but funny :)
    Suzanne @Suzannes Tribe
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read it and couldn't resist sharing, it would be a disservice really…lol

      Delete
  3. It is what it is. I think as writers we are attached to our books so it can hurt, but as business people we have to understand that a bad review may be something we can work on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. I wish our brains were able to think logically when it has to be, and emotionally when it needs to. My business-writer-mind is way too intertwined to separate it BUT I understand the game and I'm ok playing it…just be ready to read a vent if I have to fume :P

      Delete
    2. Always :). I think it gets easier with time.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, time is the key. But also wine helps. (me)

      Delete
  4. Those are hilarious!
    We can learn how to make the next book better from the reviews that aren't stellar.

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOL, those are great! There have been a few reviews that have confused the life out of me, made me wonder if we were talking about the same book even, but for the most part I appreciate the honest reviews. If it looks like you read the book and your comments show a brain was involved in the writing of the review...I'm good.

    I do wonder about the 3 star reviews that have nothing bad to say about the book though. Some of them even say, "I really enjoyed this!" Then why not give it a 4? Eh, that's why I created my own system for reviewing and if I give a 3.5 to a book, I'll usually mark it as a five on Amazon or Goodreads. Here's my system:

    1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
    2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
    3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
    3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
    4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
    4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
    5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I like this system! Thanks for sharing it with me, Charity :D

      Delete
  6. I love that review-rating system, it's great! I haven't yet gotten to a place where I'm getting reviews, but I know that once I am I'll be reading every single one, and probably taking them personally. Like you said, it's a human thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a human thing. When your time comes, try your best to remember that it isn't personal. We just have to learn from them and move on…unless is one of the drunk readers, then ignore it completely. :P

      Delete
  7. Love the review ranking. It gave me a good laugh. As writers, we need to develop thick skin. As you say, negative comments hurt. We can grow from them. Best wishes for a great year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Diane! Best wishes for you as well. If only our thick skin didn't have cracks… lol

      Delete
  8. Great ranking system. I'm copying that and posting it above my computer!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The nicest thing you can do for an author is write them a review. That's a fact.
    Don't read the reviews about your book - that's what I've seen, over and over again. But I'm sure that's easier said than done. I'll find out when I get to that stage... one day...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't even begin to understand how writers stay away from reading reviews! Its so hard, not that I've tried mind you. I really like learning what they think I can work on to better myself. But yes, one day you'll find out and I'll hear all about it ;)

      Delete
  10. LOL! Those are amazing. =) I'm actually quite grateful for all my reviews, good and bad. The bad helps me see where to improve my art, and the good, well, it's all beaches and sunshine. =) I agree with Michelle. Reviews are the lifeblood an author survives on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reviews are our bread and butter…nothing beats it, well, except real bread and butter o_0
      We need them and yes we need the mindset to know we can learn from them ;)

      Delete
  11. That's a great idea, to rate the reviewers! I don't have anything published yet, but I agree that reviews are hard, they're hard to write and hard to read. I review a lot as a reader and I try to be fair in my ratings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fair is all we can ask for! That's what helps us and readers that are looking into our books: fair and honest reviews. Thanks for stopping by, Cindy :)

      Delete
  12. Whenever someone tells me they've read my work, I wait for the inevitable criticism. So far it hasn't happened, but I can't even imagine how nerve-wracking it would be to get public reviews. I've always heard you aren't supposed to read them, because they can be really discouraging.

    I'm glad you've been able to find the positive in them. But should you ever get a horrible review, please remember it's just one person's opinion and has no real bearing on your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I'll force myself to come back to this post if/when I do get a horrible one. We can all find the positives in everything if we are open to it. Criticisms included. Good luck when you do get the public ones, its one heck of a ride ;)

      Delete
  13. Great post and must read Raymond Esposito insight. Only had one review for my first novel (released last month) and have to add that worse than 1* is no reviews. Does that mean book is so bad that nobody wants to buy it? Or that the readers are so stunned that they can't string a few words together? Sadly I'm the worst review writer as don't dare offend the brave author. Oh and after the anxious wait... my first review was 5*.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, NO review is worse. Congratulations on your release and on your 5-Star review ;)

      Delete
  14. Reviews always took me on a roller coaster. Now, I don't read them, not even the glowing ones. I appreciate both good and bad, and I know I can learn from the reviews, but the stress was something I wanted out of my life. Until I can look at a review and not get nervous about what it says, I'll let the readers read the reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you were able to be honest with yourself and stay away from the unnecessary stress. Reviews are for readers after all, for me its just hard not to look…for now, anyway lol

      Delete
  15. This is great! As a reader, I try to give a review no matter what, because I took the time to read the book and it's only a few more minutes of my time to leave a rating & review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And authors appreciate it :D
      Just don't forget NOT to be a poopie head lol

      Delete
    2. Now you're just sucking the fun out of it.

      Delete
    3. Or…or…or helping you grow by challenging you not to disagree with our Moms.

      Delete
  16. hehe, excellent ranking system.

    Every well-written review is a worthy one, no matter what the starrage. I love reading them for my own books - even when it's to see what they didn't like. But when a reviewer slams a book and can't manage to string together a legitimate sentence, I tend to disregard their opinion.Or the opposite - if that kind of reviewer doesn't like a book, I actually think there might be a good chance that I'll like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicki, you hit the nail on the head! That is the difference—a well written review of any rating vs. a rant over something that's hardly legible. I think, and hope, most readers would know to disregard that kind of review.

      Delete
  17. SO funny - I love that!

    I always say I'd be too petrified to read my reviews if ever I got a book published... but I definitely would read some of them, just to see what people were saying. I think you've got the right mindset about it. Negative reviews (the HONEST ones that aren't just there to be mean and snarky) will help us grow and learn what readers are liking/thinking. Hoping you get many more great reviews! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the keyword, Julie, the *honest* reviews are the ones that count. So far, I've been lucky to have just those, but I've come across other reviews on other author's books and have had to scratch my head. Some reviews are truly so off it makes you wonder. Best of luck to you WHEN you do get published :)

      Delete
  18. Loved that rating system - that's exactly how I feel . . .but then I rein myself in and think it over and find myself nodding with the harder critiques as well as squealing with excitement over the nice praises.
    Great post, SK!

    ReplyDelete
  19. A reader review rating system? Love it! :) Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't resist sharing it. Pure genius!

      Delete
  20. Hey babygirl! Yeah, you gotta take the good with the bad, right? helps grow those muscles all over your heart. p.s I tried rating you 6 stars off of sheer author good looks but it kept saying deny. someone in the electronic world must be jealous of you...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, the envy troll always getting in the way…
      Though, in this case I'm pretty sure someone in the electronic review world must know me in persona and laughed there butts off o_0

      Delete
  21. lol love the reader ranking system.

    And yes, the negative help us grow, especially if we don't stay with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Yes. Very important not to stay with the negative ;)

      Delete
  22. Since I'm gearing up to be more regular about reviewing this year, I've already taken much of what you said here into consideration. Now that I'm seeing reviews come for my part of an anthology, I've enjoyed the reading the different perspectives. Good or bad, bring it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeahhhh bring it! We're ready. The only time I ask for a break in reviews is when I run out of wine...

      Delete
  23. Of course we all love good reviews! Yeah, it hurts to get bad ones, but sometimes it can be helpful :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Love the ratings remarks. Hilarious.

    I dread my first review, good or bad. These stories are like our babies and we send them out into world.

    Thanks for the post.

    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are our babies. As much as we want them to be loved by everyone, that will not always be the case. We just have to take the best of this world with the not so great. Thanks for stopping by ;)

      Delete
  25. Like that review rating system. Reviews can and do crush our spirit when they're vicious. I've learned to stop giving too much weight to the bad ones. Read them. Check if they merit. Move on.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You know getting a reblog is as good as getting a 5 star review LOL - Thanks SK!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, thank YOU! That was pure genius!
      You get ten stars :P

      Delete
  27. I totally do the same thing as you... get a joyful feeling of glee to know I've got a new review, nearly dread to read it, then... yes, the ranking system does fit into my after feelings. :)

    ReplyDelete