February 1, 2012

To Read a Review or Not: That is the Question!

I know corny question but hey, I'm an English teacher now! :D 

Or at least for this semester until I become an official licensed English teacher.

Anyway . . .

There was a debate about if a writer should read or not read a review. At first I thought: Duh! Of course we should read the review because it makes us better writers.

It made such a strong difference in my writing life.

But then I thought about all the times where when I faced my other WIP (works in progress) and how those reviews knocked me off my game.

Not to mention my pride was injured. I work really, really hard on my books to make them the best I can be. Then I get knocked off my tower once and a while from a book blogger who let's me know, "Hey, your book: Yeah, needs a LOT of work! Let me tell you why . . ."

And not just negative reviews. 

The one star and two star thing use to bother me. I fully admit it. I would be like, "Hey, you know what? I worked hard on my book! I should deserve, at least, three stars since I hired an editor, care about my work, and did my research to find your blog."

But everyone is entitled to their opinion. 

And sometimes those opinions help me out in the long run. Especially with Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology.

Some people might think a short story is 15-20 pages long. Well, in technicality, it doesn't have to be that long. And so when a reviewer writes that they thought a paragraph or five pages is too short for them, then a potential buyer might read it and think, "Hmm, her short stories are only 5 pages? Thanks, but I don't want to read a short story that is only 5 pages."

Which is fine by me! I would rather a customer know what they are buying into before giving me a low score and giving me low ratings because I stick to the definition of short story.

And as a reader, let's not fool ourselves: We read the lowest rating on books.


Well, we all know that answer: We want a review with meaning.

Reading: I LOOOOOVVVVEEE this book and this author! Isn't very helpful. At all. Therefore, we read what the other customers have to say about the book like the ending was too fast, for example, and determine if we want to risk our money and time with a book like that.

So on both ends reading a review is informational and helpful.

But lately, I'm starting to think I shouldn't read my reviews. I just think that it messes up with my writing.

When I'm fully into my writing mode, thinking about past reviews and thinking, "Man, who's REALLY going to read this? They hated my past book, what makes THIS so different?!" Is not the right style to go into a writing frenzy.

Sure, the great reviews perk me up and gives me the zeal to want to finish the book I'm currently writing Angel Diaries 2.

But the rough reviews just make me want to stop and wonder if I'm doing the right thing. And deep down, I know I am. But second guessing myself isn't going to help my readers. Second guessing myself isn't going to help me get anywhere.

In order for me to write a decent book (or even a likeable first draft) I need to get into the zone. And I have to say it's hard so with all of these negative influences.

I wish sometimes I could just disconnect from the internet just for like a full month. To just let everything blow over and not even care but the fact is I do care.

So I'm stuck: Either I should develop tough skin that alligators use (here alligator alligator, come to mama!) or I should just ignore reviews all together and write another kickass addition to my trilogy Angel Diaries. 

What do you guys think?


  1. It can be hard to get a tough review - I just had my first negative review a couple weeks ago (shortly after my bday, actually). But the thing is, I'd rather have that information so I can be better in the future, then spend all my time wondering why people aren't buying my books! ;) I linked to this thoughtful post on my blog today: http://authorjess.blogspot.com/2012/02/whats-up-wednesday-trip-around.html

  2. Hey Jessica! Thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment!

    I'm so sorry to hear that you got a bad review shortly after your birthday. That is the worse. I got a mediocre review shortly after my birthday too. But you are absolutely right: I need to read my reviews, but I think I'm going to postpone reading them until after I'm done writing Angel Diaries 2. Or at least when I'm at the editing stage anyway. :)

    Thanks for your opinion and for linking up my post!


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