Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Reviews & Authors

Lately there's been a big hubbub about the Author-Reviewer relationship. This got me thinking quite a bit.

If When I'm published will I read reviews of my book?

It's a reasonable question. One that I was sure the answer would be a resounding yes. But things have happened over the year that have caused me to rethink my stance.

1) I started actually reading random book reviews of books I liked on Goodreads. This was an eye opener. While I try and write positive reviews some people out there don't care. While I understand that the author put blood, sweat, and tears into the long painstaking journey of writing a novel, getting an agent, & being published, others don't care. I've seen some pretty nasty reviews up. Ones that instead of simply saying they dislike the book have torn the author's personal character up.

2) Recently there was a virtual fight between an author & a reviewer. From what I read about it I got the impression it wasn't clean argument. I tried to stay oblivious, but my curiosity got the best of me. Thing is, in the end, I see both sides.

3) Several authors I admire have recently been speaking out about NOT reading reviews of your own book on sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, .... They made a good point: It's published, you can't change anything now. And they're right. Once it's published it's out there for the world to love, like, dislike, or hate. There's nothing you can do at that point. You can't control the opinions of others, that's what makes us all unique.

I'm sure I'll want to read the reviews, and probably will read one or two, but I have to remind myself that the reviews aren't there for me, they're someone else's opinion, and not everyone has the same tastes that I do. I've read glowing reviews of books that I didn't care for at all. It wasn't the author's fault I didn't like the book, just my tastes and my own opinion. So with that I'm hoping I can be strong and stay away from reviews of my own book.

Your Turn -> Will you read reviews of your book?


  1. Good post! You have a good point. If I ever published a book, I would like to see what reviews I am getting for it, good or bad, as long as they are professional and do not attack me personally. Critiquing someone's work is fine, but one should not critique the person itself.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Rajiv. I'm still so mixed on whether to read reviews or not. I mean, at this point in my writing I have a lot of writer colleagues already critiquing my work and I know that I can't please everyone. I agree that if the review is done professionally there is value in it, but I've noticed so many people that don't bother being professional. I'm still on the fence on this one.

  2. I'll probably read all the reviews, because I won't be able to help myself. "Ooooh ooh! They mentioned Bellica? What did they say? DO THEY LOVE ME?"

    And then I'll spend every other day curled up in the fetal position, crying, disbelieving the reassurances of my friends and family that I'm really a good writer and that reviewer doesn't know anything. Meanwhile, my partner will remind me that the internet is full of jerks and I need to take a break, and will probably take me to a movie to cheer me up.

    Hey, reading all the reviews is starting to sound like a really good idea. :D