Responding to reviews, and other handy points for authors in general…

Since some asshat authors who have been attacking some friends of mine for leaving less than glowing 5-star book reviews on their work, here’s this helpful list on How to Deal with Bad Reviews on Your Book:

1. Take a deep breath.

2. Read the review.

3. Exhale.

4. If there is valid criticism, take heed of it. Think about it and perhaps use it to better your style of writing.

5. If the review is a rant by an apparent lunatic (or loonie, for short), spam for another book, or an attack by a detractor, identify it as such and confine said review to where it belongs: Oblivion. Forget it exists. Insanity breeds insanity, and being a writer, you don’t need more madness than what you’ve already got between your ears.

6. If point #4 is in effect: In certain instances, when a review is touching or right on the mark with you as a writer and a human being, feel free to respond to the review with a simple “thank you” or a “You have made a valid point and I will strive to better my work. Thank you for the insight.”

7. If point #5 is in effect: Do not respond to the review. DO NOT RESPOND TO THE REVIEW. Yes, that was said twice, because it is very important. Trying to reason with the lunatic fringe is like trying to count the number of Jimmy Carl Blacks who can dance on the head of a pin; it’s pointless, impossible and will only feed the madness and ire of the person ranting.

8. As a corollary to Point #7, do not harness your incredible social media powers and get all your friends to respond to said review in your stead. This looks just as bad, is very, very obvious (since no one bothers reading a review after it’s posted unless they are:

1) the author,
2) insane, or
3) are”helping” an author out by trying to make a reviewer look like an asshat). Remember they will look the asshats, NOT the author or even the reviewer.

9. Go have a beer, take a toke, read a book, listen to Freak Out or Megalomania, take a walk, run a marathon, have a pizza or whatever your preferred form of relaxation happens to be at that particular moment in time.

10. When you’re relaxed, start writing again.
11. Repeat #9 and #10 as necessary.

The single most important thing to remember as an author:
Do NOT take yourself too seriously.

Things that an Author should also ALWAYS remember:

You are NOT Raptor Jesus’s gift to the written word.

You are not perfect. Just because your mother or your wife or your dog likes your writing, does not mean it is the best thing every written. Many of you should be digging ditches instead of putting words to paper, given your grasp of the English Language.

Do NOT whine and kvetch over the fact you couldn’t afford to get a proper editor for your work, or that what you are doing is just a hobby-thing – If you publish your work, readers will assume you are a professional writer and have done all those neat little things professional writers do – like editing and proofreading and formatting and that sort of stuff you probably think is useless because you can’t afford it or your ego is so inflated that you don’t think you need it. Guess what? You do.

Do NOT get into online arguments with reviewers. YOU CANNOT WIN THAT WAR! And it is only a war if YOU decide to make it one.

Below is my new scale for rating books on my blog: NewRatings
I expect some, shall we saw, interesting responses to this…

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17 thoughts on “Responding to reviews, and other handy points for authors in general…

  1. Reblogged this on Dale Furse and commented:
    I definitely agree with #4. Please, if you’re going to read the reviews, listen to what the reviewer is trying to tell you and think about it seriously. Don’t just say, ‘Heh, what do they know?’ The might know more than you.
    I think we, writers, need to keep focused on the clear fact that reviews are the reviewers opinions on what they liked and what they didn’t like in a book. It doesn’t matter if the author doesn’t agree, it’s an opinion and everyone has a right to their own opinions.

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