Friday, January 7, 2011

A Review of Reviews

Corny name, huh? But it describes this post perfectly. Being a new author I've started getting some reviews and the jury is still out on what I think of this. It's scary putting something out there that you aren't quite sure will be received the way you intended it.

There have been several great reviews of Growing Up Gracie. And for those I am so grateful. It makes me feel wonderful to know someone thinks my "baby" was worth their time and money. I'll post links to those great reviews at the bottom of this post.

There have also been a few less than glowing reviews. Nothing mean or horrible, mind you, but just not great. Of course I won't be posting links to those at the bottom of this blog post--I'm not into self-mutilation, after all.

What I wanted to talk about today was how an author--or a budding or a wanna-be author-- can graciously accept negative reviews or critiques of their work. After all, if you want to be in this business, you must develop a thick skin. (And I for one am starting with my feet, they are already like hooves!)

Allow me to first demonstrate how NOT to accept such reviews.
DO NOT scream this while throwing your 1960s typewriter through the third story window: "You dirty, no-good jerk of a reader! How dare you not stroke my ego! I bet you couldn't write your way out of paper bag. In fact I challenge you to write 80,000 words of anything and have it come out perfect!"

This might make you feel better, but only momentarily. Instead I challenge you to look at the review with these two questions in mind:
1. Is it right? Is there any truth I can take from this review that will improve my craft? For instance, one of the less-than-wonderful reviews I mentioned said Growing Up Gracie was very character driven novel and a bit lackluster on the plot. That is a specific thing I've been recently working on improving with my next novel.
2. Tell yourself, I didn't write this book for Bill (or whomever the particular reviewer may be). I wrote my book with only a few people in mind: myself, and my daughters (well, one daughter at the time). Anyone else who happens to read it and love it is just a fantastic bonus! I can't expect everyone to feel good about something that wasn't really meant for them in the first place.

These are my ways to combat the not-so-warm-fuzzies you may get. How do you deal with it?

Nice people who enjoyed Growing Up Gracie:
Fire And Ice Book Reviews
Rachael Renee Anderson, author
Michael Knudsen, author
Bonnie R. Paulson, author

And as always, please become a "follower" by clicking the button over there.


Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Hey Your Follow number is growing! Well done!

I honestly obsess about it, then I start to not care. Cause honestly, some people might not like my blue eyes, but I can't rip them out, right?

Well thought out post! Thanks Maggie!

Rachael Renee Anderson said...

Personally, I think the screaming thing is okay--so long as the reader doesn't hear you. (Because let's face it, it DOES help) :) You can definitely learn something from negative reviews, but the biggest thing I've learned is that NOBODY can please everybody. So when I get that two star review, I search for a favorite author on Goodreads, and see that even they can't please everyone. It works wonders.:) Great post, Maggie!