Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Everyone Told Me Not To, But I Did

And you will too.

I'm talking about reading your reviews. Perhaps if you're a a NYT bestseller or something, you don't even have to care about reviews. You know enough people will like your book to go buy it.

But for us newbies, the reviews are huge. It's people you don't necessarily know, who aren't your mom/sis/BFF/hairdresser, reading your words--YOUR WORDS--and then commenting on them.

Of course you want to know what they said!

Now, everyone who knows better will tell you not to do it. RESIST THE URGE, they'll say. Do not read your reviews, especially the bad ones, and for the love of pete, DON'T comment on them. Bad things will happen.

But hot damn was I excited to read my first reviews of Speak Easy. So I did.

If you've got a book coming out soon, you might be wondering what that's like.

Allow me.

First you'll read the 5 star reviews. They praise all the right things, compel readers to go buy your book THIS INSTANT, and you're all OMG could they possibly be talking about my book, holy crap they really really understand me, I think I'm supposed to BE with this person forever. You'll feel like this:

You'll have some 4 star reviews too, and they will also praise your book like crazy and say how AMAZING it is and how much they loved it. In fact, it will seem like they loved it so much that you'll wonder why they didn't just give you the damn fifth star, was it a typo, did they mean to hit 5, what do they want, sexual favors or something (call me), but those will still make you happy. Feels like this:

And then there are three stars.

Now, a lot of readers clearly think giving 3 stars is good. They might even start by saying, "I loved this book!" And you go...

Then they even list some things they really liked in the book. And you're all...

But then they list what they didn't like. Maybe they think your beloved MC behaved badly, made bad decisions, and perhaps was a bit of a slut (these are TOTALLY not from my reviews, no way).

Or maybe they think the book was too short, or they dislike the ending, or they're mad the next book isn't out yet, or they imply your historical research skills aren't perfect. And it's like this:

And it will tear you up and keep you awake at night and haunt you until you think they might be right and you go...

And you remember why you were told not to read them.

If there is a silver lining to a crap review, it is the awesome support your writer friends will give you. Because they understand. Whenever I whine about a review I don't like, my NAturals girls are always there to boost me up. They'll look at the review and say

and say that person is rabid and crazy and probably didn't even read the book. They remind me that a good book will always have people who love it and hate it because it makes people feel something.

So go ahead and read your reviews, but you might want to pour a little drink first.

Or a big one. :)



  1. Your book is a goddamn delight, and anything less than a 5 star is OBVIOUSLY a typo. Because, DELIGHT.

    And yes. Reading reviews is just asking for trouble. But I know I'll be doing it too when the time comes. :D

  2. True story, I know what it feels like

  3. I can't even imagine how tough that has got to be.
    I think this is part of the reason I am nervous about author's reading my reviews - esp if I didn't absolutely love the book.

  4. LOL..I love the gifs. :) Yeah, I should stay away from reviews, but there's always this thing pushing me to go read them. It's like self-torture or something..hehe


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