Suffering the slings and arrows of reviews (one author’s POV)

Many authors have a love/hate relationship with reviewers. We love the ones who rate us high (4 or 5 stars) and hate the ones who don’t. I feel this is a poor approach.

I’ve had a number of good reviews and a few that have smarted a bit. I have found, however, that most bloggers try to be fair. (I am not talking about customer reviews here.) I also try to keep in mind two things before I read any review:

  • I asked them for their opinion (in most cases)
  • They have done me a service by spending their time reading, writing a review, and sharing it with others

That said, I also think that every bad review is a learning opportunity. Here are some things I’ve learned from 3-star reviews:

  • Pacing really makes some reader’s experience. If you know you have a slower-paced book, let the reader know. You’ll get the right readers that way, and the readers will be happier.
  • Not everybody loves description. (I personally like description…but to appeal to some readers, I really need to find a happy medium.)
  • One person’s sex scene is another person’s…premature, er, let down. I tend to write scenes that are not overly graphic. If that’s my choice as a writer, I have to take my lumps from readers who want more!
  • Romance can often be more romantic.

Ultimately, as a writer, reviews teach me most about my readers—their wants, desires, what they like, hate, what makes them laugh, cry, or get angry.

As much as it stings sometimes, as a writer, it’s best to take a hard look at each review—then take a hard look at yourself—and what you can learn.

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