A long time ago, I was asked to submit an article to be posted with a book review. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised. An article? On a review site? What if the review was a bad one? Would everyone point and laugh at my article as well as my book? Reviews are a dicey thing, after all. Authors love them and dread them. A few even have the backbone to utterly ignore them, but not most of us. I’ll let you in on a little secret here. (wink) A lot of authors are pretty insecure about their work. A bad review can send us scurrying back into our cave, wondering if we should ever write again. A good one has us dancing on air. Most of us find them more than a little scary.
Can a good review help a book sell? Undoubtedly. Can a poor review keep a book from selling? Maybe. Certainly a bunch of bad reviews will make a reader think twice about spending her hard-earned dollars. So reviews can be important. They’re not just there to stroke or crush our fragile egos. Ultimately, they are not the be-all and end-all of a writer’s existence, but they do have an impact.
One of the first things an aspiring author is told is to develop a thick skin. This is not a business for the faint of heart. We all face rejections from editors and agents. We’ll all, sooner or later, get bad reviews. It’s all part of the business of writing. Creative people, though, tend to be very emotional sorts. We put a lot of our own emotions into the product—especially if you’re writing the kind of novels that are about emotions, such as romance. That makes it awfully hard when someone tells you it stinks. Even if they say so in a kind, professional manner.
So what can we do? We all know the answers. We can learn from our mistakes. If one reviewer dislikes a book, it may just be a matter of taste. If two or more say the same thing, it’s a good indication that there may be a problem. It lets us know what we can work on to do better with the next book. Mostly, though, we have to smile, thank the reviewer for taking the time and effort to read our books, and deal with it. Yeah—it hurts. The difference between a professional and an amateur is the ability to cope with the hurt and get over it.
And apparently, sometimes we have to write articles. Even if we’re much more comfortable penning fiction.
On a final, super-important note, reviews have become even more important since I wrote this a few years ago. Especially reviews on sales sites like Amazon, iTunes, B&N, etc. Their algorithms count the number of reviews when determining whether to do things like post your book on reader feeds, as in, "If you liked this book, you might try this one by Cindy Spencer Pape. It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't have to take much effort. "It was okay," works as well for us as a lengthy critique. So if you love your authors, please help us keep doing what we love to do. Whether it's one star or five, just leave that little review!
Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released over fifty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance.
Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband , family and a lot of dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.