As a prolific reader, I understand the subjective nature of books.
And I might have a problem. Most surfaces in my house are covered in books...
by Camela Thompson
Several communities that revolve around literature have been buzzing from a recent article involving an author with an unhealthy and somewhat unnerving interaction with an online reviewer. Since this article was posted, I have read blog post after blog post exploring every angle. I've seen book bloggers swear off reviews, authors swear off interacting with reviewers, and reviewers recounting their own horror stories. After reading all of these posts, I walked away with a healthy amount of fear. Should I follow advice and ignore reviewers, or thank them for their time?
The minute I made the decision to publish, it was with the realization that my writing would be judged countless times from that moment forward. Agents and editors would have the opportunity to evaluate the premise and decide whether or not they were interested in any more material. Those who decided to read more would have the opportunity to judge those extra pages and determine whether to request more material or pass on my work. Then publishers would review the material - the one I signed a contract with sent my manuscript off to a panel of volunteer readers to help gauge the market appeal of my book. Once it made it past the publishing process (edit, revise, edit, revise, proofread, revise, proofread), it was time for the really scary part. Would the readers like it?
I'm human and I care about what people think. I have also read and reviewed many books and realize that fiction literature is a very subjective thing. I have genre and character preferences that don't always fall in line with popular opinion. I've read books and read other people's reviews and wondered what planet I was on when I read the same book they were talking about because I walked away with a vastly different opinion. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's one of the many things that makes reading so exciting. Each person walks away with something different.
The right response to a review might be to say nothing at all. I personally believe this is true for Goodreads and Amazon reviews. When I review a book on these websites, I don't expect to hear from the author. I'm not as sure about how to interact with book bloggers. They spend a lot of time not only reading the book, but posting about it. It may be okay to post a professional thank you (and by professional I mean never argue with or comment on their assessment - just a thank you for their time).
I have decided to stay silent for the most part, but this doesn't mean I'm not thankful. Each time someone reads my book, they are dedicating time that could be spent elsewhere. When I decided to put my book out in the world, it was with the understanding that it is my responsibility as an author to respect the opinions of others.
When you write a review, what do you prefer? Do you have a blog and feel different about responses to a blog post versus something posted on Amazon or Goodreads?
See what reviewers are saying about All the Pretty Bones.
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.