Thursday, May 19, 2011

Career or hobby

I know not to go searching out reviews. Truly I do. It was a harsh lesson to learn. With my first published release, the response was wonderfully positive. At least those who left comments really seemed to like it. The second, now that was a whole other can of worms, a love it or hate it situation so I learned very quickly not to look.

Well yesterday I made the mistake of doing a name search. I do this periodically, searching for links where my books might be being pirated. It's a necessary evil of the job and something I know has all ready been discussed here by my fellow Muses. Anyway, as I said, I was doing a search and came across a link I shouldn't have followed. Yes, I'm talking about the dreaded review. Now I've had the typical 5 stars "It's the bestest book ever", the 4 stars "It's great", the 3 stars "Blah", the 2 stars "I just don't get it" but this was my first 1 star (Yah me!).

And what did I get for my one star? An "I would have liked it better if it had been longer" (I'm paraphrasing). Yes, I'm going with sarcasm here. Because it's better than crying.

Please don't take this as a bash on reviews or reviewers. It is not my intention or the reason for this post. They are more than welcome to their opinions. Only I don't need to know them.

Positive reviews are great. They help bolster an author's ego. To know someone out there really gets what we are writing is what keeps us doing what we do. Writing. But the negative reviews, those are the ones that stick with us. They swirl around our heads, buzzing in our ear that what we're writing is crap, that we shouldn't even bother. And the more we swat at them, they louder they buzz until it's the only sound we hear. If we let them.

So how do we fight it? Simple. Don't look. Once the seed has been sown, it's damn impossible to stop it from growing. Just like the crab grass I can't seem to get rid of in my front lawn, it will stifle all creativity for days or possibly even months. Because the truth of the matter is we all want to be liked. Even when logically we understand that is not possible. Not everyone is going to like what I write. Just like I don't like everything I read. But emotionally, it can pierce your soul.

I wish I had answers on how to move on from a bad review but I am just now starting to emerge from a writing funk due to a snarky review from almost a year ago. It didn't totally stop the process, only seriously hindered it.

How do you get over a bad review? Leave a comment and let me know.


Sharon said...

One star because they wish it was longer?! wow. Most people would read that review and realize it is not a proper representation of the book. As a reader, if a book has lots of 3,4,5 star reviews and a handful of 1. I dismiss the 1's. 1 star reviews are usually petty. As a reviewer, I would rather decline publicly reviewing a book than give it 1 star. I would ask if the author wanted my opinion privately though.

J.A. Saare said...

I get them too and I've learned to do the only thing I can -- I don't look. I do my best not to find reviews. A great review will drive you to create more work. A bad one will set you back several weeks or more. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but sometimes those opinions can create a chasm authors cannot get past.

As for the length. I wish some people understood anthologies and the "length" an author is given to write a novella. That is out of our hands. We do what we can, with the word count we are given. It is what it is.

Rosalie Stanton said...

What Sharon said struck me as true -- if a book has a huge onslaught of positive reviews, the one or two not-so-fab reviews typically don't do much to warn me away. Point of fact, a number of my favorite books have an average of 3 on GR, and I always figure the reason is people are lame and don't know good literature. ;)

Seriously, though, getting over bad reviews is a bitch. Heck, getting over any negative thing said publicly about your writing is a bitch.

I can't tell you how to get over a bad review; I tend to brush it off (which can be very tricky, I admit), but accept you can't please everyone, and everyone is, in fact, a critic. Some will love you, others won't. If you know you told your story the way you wanted it told, if you're proud to have your name on it, if you consider the review and disagree, then it's just a number.

As I indicated, this is easier said than done. I'm hoping one day the bad reviews will roll off my back.

Cari Quinn said...

Great post, Madelyn. I don't have any tactics for getting over bad reviews. Time is usually what does it for me. On my very first contest one of the judges told me I needed a dictionary and thesaurus. And then after my first EC release, I received my first ever 1-star review. Firsts are scary for me, for good reason, lol.

I took what I could use from what they'd said and tried to move on. Way easier said than done. Even so, I still remember their comments almost word for word years later so I guess that says a lot.

Writing is a tough business. A lot of people say they can handle bad reviews, but I can't imagine anyone not getting laid low for a while by some of them. It often is better not to look.

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