Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What the? Wednesday...So You Got a Bad Review...

We've all had that we don't like. It's a fact of life, there will be people who don't particularly care for your work. Just as there are those who will love it. You can't predict who will be a lover and who will be a hater.

So what do you do? You've written this book you love and think is the beans. Being an author is hard. You have to release your baby to someone else for them to rip apart. Then once you've put it back together, you have to send it to someone else for more ripping - enter the editor. Now, if you've got an editor worth his or her salt, then you should be fine. If you've got a strong story...same thing.

No one author will produce a perfect work. Think about it. The laws of averages are against you and me. So? Now you've sent that work to the editor and he/she's accepted it. There's the next round of edits (as many as four or five if necessary) and the *gasp* release day.

That's when the fun begins. You've worked hard, listened to your editor, kept your writing voice intact...what will the readers think? Will they like? Hate? So-so?

The last thing an author wants to do is produce something that's crap. We don't set out to produce something that's sub-par. Shocking, I know. But what the reader/reviewer has to keep in mind, and the author for that matter, there are occasional blunders. The author tries something that maybe isn't as strong, the author has a plot hole no one saw...stuff like that. It happens.

Now, the book's out and it's being reviewed. You can, hide in a hole, disappear from cyberspace (always a fun one), grin and bear it, or get angry.

Hiding and disappearing isn't bad. Why? You probably know the review is out there and if it's constructive (like my multiple reviews for Tangled Up), you are certainly learning from it. You might even be forming an idea to work with it and strengthen it. If it's not so nice...honestly...grin and bear it. It will more than likely hurt (no one wants to be trashed or have their work trashed), but look at it this way: every author gets their work trashed. From JK Rowling going to umpteen publishers, to Stephen King writing short stories because he couldn't sell the longer work, people won't like everything you write.

For example, I loved Bag Of Bones. Goodness, I had dreams/nightmares about the book. I swore it was real and I'd lived it. Now, I went on Amazon. For the 600 or so 5 star reviews, there was at least 300 that rated it 3 or lower. Are we reading the same book? Yup. But it's that thing...personal opinion.

Stephen King could easily go on a rampage and say everyone should love his book. Or even expect all those poorer reviews/ratings be taken down. He could--he's got clout. Me? Not so much. And if he did get angry, what good does it do? Really? None. Why? Because you end up looking like a diva and people are leery to work with you. It doesn't help you and in many cases it will hurt. Going on a public place, like your blog, to rip the reviewer a new one will get you into more trouble. Your readers see it and it doesn't do you any good.

So honestly, grinning and bearing it is the best idea. As Desiree Holt says, "Don't whine, don't complain, and don't grouse and you'll be fine." She's right.


Marianne Arkins said...

Well said.


Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer said...

Thanks. Hey, when I get good advice, I share. :-)