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I’m Reviewing Reviews

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

I just read a blog snippet off of a blog by a guy named The Passive Guy. He writes some of his own articles and captures bits and pieces from other useful blogs around the web each day. I’m not sure how he manages it all, to be honest, but I make no claim to technological blogging supremacy. The point is this piece of blog I read focused on writers reading reviews. It strongly opined that they should not do so.

The thought behind it is that when a writer finishes a project and publishes it, it’s like entering a child in a competition. If the kid fails we’re disappointed. If the kid is picked on by the parent sitting beside us we’re likely to throw a punch. That’s my kid, damn it, how dare you make fun of them?

I admit I followed the reviews on my books religiously for a while. Just like the writer in the blog, some of those reviews sting. I can take the sting if its thought out and makes sense, but some of the zingers are not. In some cases it’s a personal disagreement, which seems pointless to me. If you don’t like ‘X’ because you’re a vegetarian – don’t down rate it and bash the book for it, sheesh. It’s frustrating and infuriating, at time. At others it can be a kick in the pants that makes you challenge your desire to write anything longer than your name.

The things that writers need to remember is that I see a review posted between .1% and 1% of the time. Meaning for every 100 to 1000 copies sold, somebody posts a review. In my experience, both as a writer and as a consumer, people tend to be more motivated when something irks them. Anger is easily converted to energy and motivation, and that means quite often people are more likely to read a negative review then a positive one. Our news media thrives off of negative stories – as a culture we love watching a train wreck (e.g. reality TV shows).

My fellow writers, is your book still selling? Are there good reviews and ratings? Ignore the poorly written bad review that is entirely opinion based. Not everybody is going to like you. We can’t expect people to write a commendation that’s opinion based and not write a defamation as well. The best tactic I’ve found is to more or less ignore the reviews.

I still check from an eagle eye point of view, but I focus more on the ratings and number of reviews rather than the specific content. The emotional lurch that can consume me isn’t worth the hours of stewing and negative impact it has on my schedule. I get emails from people that love what I’ve written and want to know where and when they can get something else. That means the world to me. Those people and those kind words are what keep me going some days. Sales suffer from time to time but a simple kind word makes it seem insignificant. Knowing I affected one person in a positive way makes it all worth it.

As for the bad reviews? Screw ‘em. Don’t write a review focusing on the author of the book, write it for the book and for other readers. Picking on my son or daughter because you don’t like me doesn’t show what a thoughtful, intelligent, and morally superior the reader is.

And no, I didn’t write this because I received a bad review on one of my books! This was prompted entirely by the aforementioned blog post that I heartily agree with.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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