Sunday, December 29, 2013

To review or not to review?

About six months ago, I took a mini-sabbatical from reviewing non-paranormal books on Reviews by Jessewave. I also cut down the number of reviews I did here. It's not because I wasn't reading M/M books; no, the reason was I needed a mental health break because there were some issues when I posted a negative review on Jessewave. I needed to regroup and figure out what I loved about reading and reviewing again. I think my time off has helped me. Which is why you'll be seeing more reviews on this site.

Writing is hard. Any type of writing, whether its writing a book, writing a column or reviewing romance books. Each author puts their heart and soul into their work and hopes their readers enjoys their efforts.

I'm no different. I love the written word and I like to express my love of books through reviewing. Now my tastes may not be your tastes, and your tastes may not be mine...and that's totally cool. If you read through all of my past reviews whether they be here, on Jessewave or at Dark Divas Reviews, I have a few tropes I truly enjoy: mates, bonding, knotting, police officers, Gay For You, mpreg and many, many others.

My pet peeves are just as varied. I don't care for: heavy BDSM, domestic abuse, rape, poor editing and blatant misogyny. Normally, I don't review books with rape and heavy BDSM, so that takes care of those plots I won't read, but sometimes a book doesn't resonate with me...for whatever reason and I write that in reviews.

Which comes to the point of this post. When reviewers write a less than favorable review, how should an author handle it?

Well, since I'm also an author too, I thought I'd go over how to turn a negative review into something positive.

Yeah, I know that might be difficult, after all, your published book is your baby and you're very protective, but always know that any ethical reviewer is not out to get you or your book. I've rarely seen malicious reviews on professional sites. (Now GoodReads and Amazon? It's like the Alamo there, so can't say anything about those places).

But, here's what you do when you get a 'bad' review. (According to me. *g*)

  1. That review is not a reflection of you as a person. You are not your bad review. For whatever reason, the reviewer did not like/understand your book and that's okay. Believe me, someone else will!
  2. Ignore bad reviews. DO NOT RESPOND to them on any level. (i.e. do not leave on comment on GoodReads!) Take the high ground. I'm not saying don't read them, do. But do not comment on them.
  3. Do not allow your friends, family or fans to respond to any negative reviews. It looks petty and turns off potential new readers. And reviewers on large sites do talk, so if your friends harass another reviewer, the likelihood of you getting a new review on that site again? Nil.
  4. Avoid being put on a Authors Behaving Badly shelf by acting like a professional at all times when you have your author cap on. (e.g. conventions, book signings, etc.)
  5.  Learn from the 'bad' review. If the reviewer states you need a professional editor for your next self-published title, you might want to find one. If they talk about point-of-view, characterizations, lack of positive women characters, realism in your story, etc., then take notes. These are all concrete, constructive things you can improve on. However, "you suck," is not a constructive review. Ignore that. But, "I felt the main character was weak and two-dimensional and as a reader I did not understand their motivations enough to draw me into the plot," is constructive criticism. Use that advise when you write your next book and I'm sure that reviewer will see the effort you made and respond accordingly. 
Lastly, no reviewer wants to leave a less than positive review, but if they do your reaction to it will help determine how readers, reviewers and potential new readers judge you and your future works.

Or, don't let a bad review ruin your next best seller. Work your craft and the rewards will be many!

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