Sorry, I just couldn't resist:) I've been pulling out the autumn and Halloween stuff for the last couple of weeks so...
I've got what I think is a very important, possibly debatable subject, I'd like to discuss today. It's happened to me on two occasions and it actually happened to a good friend quite recently.
The subject is book reviews.
This is a process we must go through and a nailbiting, edge-of-the-seat wait. We never know when that first review will pop up, and we sure as hell don't know how our heart's work will be accepted. So we wait chewing our nails with bellies churning.
Finally, that first review comes out and you've either gotten notification from the review site, which is how I learned of most of my reviews or we finally find a crumb of info after googling our name day after day. Then we sit rigid afraid to actually click the review to see what it says.
Ohmigod! It's wonderful when you click, finally open your eyes, and read it and find it's a positive review. My first one was a 4 from Manic Readers for Curse of the Marhime. I about fell off my seat. My second review came in from LASR and was a 4.5 and Bitten by Books gave it a 4.5 as well. More came in within the same parameters. So it's all good, right? Technically, yes. But...
I'm sure every or at least most authors out there have experienced the nasty hateful reviewer that seems to blatantly and with malice to trash your book and your talent all at once. Fortunately, mine was not the first review I set my eyes on but it hurt just the same. I've had two reviewers write less than complimentary reviews about two different books, that I know of. I won't reveal the review sites, and I will acknowledge that I understand a review is just an opinion. So I am not putting this blog out to antagonize reviewers' opinions. What I do want to do is give authors who have received less than stellar reviews or feel they have been trashed a different point of view in regards to how they react to the bad review.
Two of my peers recently have written to me about some bad reveiws they received and when I read the reveiws I had to admit they could have been handled a bit differently. For one of the authors, it was her first review! I felt terrible for her, but told her that's just one person's opinion. Though I am sure it didn't make her feel any better. In fact, I know it didn't.
Before any reviewers out there that may be reading this blog react, I myself am a freelance reviewer. So I do have a right to voice my opinion on the way a reviewer approaches a review. But I would certainly love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Again, I will reiterate that I understand that everyone has an opinion and not everyone likes the same things. And to be perfectly honest, I never pay much attention to movie reviews or book reviews because if I did I'd probably never go to the movies or read the book, LOL how do I know if their tastes run along my tastes? Very important point here:)
The two reveiwers that gave me low numbers and had a lot of negative things to say about my books obviously did not like the type of books I wrote(and btw one of them admitted she didn't like the type of romance portrayed). So I ask, why would you read it in the first place? One of the reviewers even got the title of the book completely wrong with the cover art hovering right beside her review! That doesn't give her much creedence at least in my humble opinion.
Now, I'd like to discuss how I go forward with a review job.
If I get into a book that I truly don't like or the editing is really horrific, I stop reading it. I contact the liaison at the site and ask for it to be reassigned, which fortunately, is an option with the review site I work with. Some don't allow it and you must muddle through the review and do the best you can to be honest but not insult or hurt the author. Not an easy task. Why? Because I never want to discourage an author from persuing the craft and destroying any confidence said author has built within his or herself. It is a big step when a writer decides to submit a book. That writer is putting her/himself out there in a big, personal, naked sort of way. If you are not a writer you would never understand.
I will never give a book below a 3.5 because I just don't think it fair to the author. My opinion, my way of doing things. Obviously not everyone's cup of tea.
One of my peers was actually given a 0! How can you possibly give a book a 0? There is always something good to say about something. That is just moronic. The person who did that should not be reviewing books.
I'd like to hear what your take is on this subject. Many authors also review books so if you do, please pipe in. I'd like to know why it is necessary to blatantly ruin an author's work. I can't believe a publishing company would put out a book that didn't have something worth publishing between its bindings. Is it just me?