More than anything, I think an author wants reviews. We want to know what the reader thinks, we want to see their praise and love for the stories that mean so much to us. But at the same time, we dread seeing reviews. We dread seeking them out, nervously asking someone if they’d be willing to review it. What if they don’t like it? What if they give it 1 star? What if asking that person for a review turns out to be the biggest mistake ever? It’s a risk that we all have to take for the sake of getting our stories out there, getting them into the hands of people who will like it, who will enjoy it and see the message in it.
I have heard mixed feelings about reviews. Some authors like to read them, even the bad ones. Others won’t look at ANY, not even the five star reviews. I have thought a long time about which author I’m going to be. Will I or will I not look at that first review? Will I overcome my nerves and see what my readers have to say? Or will I do what that favorite author of mine did? Will I avoid them and push on with my writing, refusing to let negative reviews get to me? It’s a difficult decision to make, because some reviews are good ones and you want to see that, you want to see that people enjoyed your book, that they recommended it to others by their kind review.
As my book is being edited for publication, I have had this anxious feeling in my heart. Mostly about getting my book out there to hopefully gain peoples’ interests. But then there is a reluctance in me to see reviews. I want people to review it, but it’s a scary thing. When you spend so much time developing your characters, falling in love with them yourself, it’s hard when people criticize. I’ve always fought for authors who have received bad reviews, because sometimes there are people out there who aren’t nice about it. They’re brutal. I’ve tried to live by the phrase ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,’ but not everyone follows that advice. I’ve stood up to some people, who have been harsh, cruel even, to an author. Especially a new author. But in the end, the question I ask myself is did it do any good? Perhaps if they author saw it, they appreciated it, but the fact is the review doesn’t come down. It stays there and someone comes along and sees it and follows the advice of one person.
Reading reviews was the reason I decided I was going to read books for myself, to draw my own conclusions. I kept seeing people who read bad reviews and at the end said ‘Thanks! I won’t read this now!’ It made me sad to see. I’m a true believer in forming your own opinion, not going off what another person said, especially if that person was intentionally cruel. I probably sound defensive, but hey when you’re a writer you probably can’t help but be. It’s scary, putting yourself out there to the public, but it’s exciting at the same time. I can’t wait for it! Will I read the reviews? Probably not. Will I be curious enough to take a peek at my ratings? I probably will. 😉