The Writers plea
After putting in so many hours and days and years and months of tears and fears, lukewarm lattes, bouts of writers block and the beginning of carpel tunnel....a writer has just pushed publish and released their baby out into the world. No baby steps. No training bra. No safety goggles. Just their heart out there on their sleeve. It doesn't matter how many other good books or even great books they have previously penned. Each time is like the very first time. They have the same anxieties, hopes and fears and agents breathing down their necks about deadlines as any other mortal. Writers are still people too.
We, as readers, throng the mass of online book retailers and hopefully break the internet...to get the newest book out there first. We still frequent bookstores but in far lesser numbers. So we can hopefully tell all our friends that we picked up a copy and talk about the characters we so anxiously awaited. Perhaps we are waiting to see what happened from the previous cliffhanger in the last part of the series. Or see what twists and turns the plot takes. We have to Post the book on Instagram or share it on Facebook or Tumblr, talk about it in our book clubs or make it part of our reading challenge, or stand for 3 hours in line to get it signed. We finally read the book and then..well for most of us...not a whole lot of anything.
While writers are thrilled with the purchase of their books because those numbers really matter at the end of the day to pay bills and fund more writing endeavors. They really need to hear back from you. Here is a case in point:
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee has sold well over 1 million copies so far. 1 million copies (saying this in my GoldFinger voice) which means she made a pretty penny even after all the expenses. But when I checked the popular sites where the books were purchased she had less than 5000 reviews over all. Not that that is horrible, with those big numbers but if a lesser known author had those same relative numbers in ratio, say they only sold 300 books, that same ratio could be potentially devastating to them. How would they be motivated to know if they should forge ahead. There will always be inevitably, some not so great reviews so the more good reviews out there, the better.
that buying a physical copy of the book also means a little more effort to go online and post a review, but honestly you are probably already online anyways......I am posting to Instagram as I write this blog right now and have FB up on my tablet. You probably are looking at porn, I mean shopping anyways....not judging! What I am saying is that a lot of the books today are purchased in e format and we read them on apps. It's not that hard to press a few stars before we digitally close the book. And yes my love, your review does matter!
Don't 'mean review'
just because they already have a few dozen 5 star reviews... unless you really think they deserve it. Then help the author out by positively positioning your comments and reviews to be of helpful critiques not a total book bashing. And don't 'follow the crowd peer pressure 5 star review' if the book is really only 3 or 4 star. 3 stars are still good ... not optimal, but definitely not horrible. Honest reviews are important to writers. Reading is like eating, not everyone likes the same stuff. Remember that your opinion is important but at the end of the day it is your opinion and for better or worse the writer will continue with their passion.
Handling a bad review...
Writers don't stalk your reviewers and don't get caught up in a troll debate or worse. A bad review can be hurtful, yes. Anyone who offers any type of service has gotten at least one or more hurtful reviews be it warranted or not. Pick yourself up, dust off your notepad and pull out your pen or tablet and get right back to doing what you do best. Successful authors get shitty reviews right along with the unicorns and rainbows reviews -
back to Go Set A Watchman- over 20% of Harper Lees' reviews were 1 or 2 star reviews.
so don't beat yourself up too much. In the bad reviews are sometimes clues that can help. Put a piece of chocolate in your mouth, pour yourself a glass of wine, pull down the shades and have a 'Fuck You Party' in the quiet solitude of your office. Scream it as loud as you can at your monitor, shoot the bird from both hands! Not your style? No problem... then hop in the car and go buy yourself something shiny with the proceeds because even your hater spent money with you.
Take a deep breath and then read it for what it is... someone's opinion....that 1 bad review does not define you.
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