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Should Authors Stalk Review Sites?

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Review sites are for readers. Let's just get that out there up front. The reviews are NOT intended for authors (for feedback, instruction, critiques, etc.). When a reader posts a review, he or she is doing so to inform and enlighten other readers about the book. Or at least they should be.

But even though reviews are intended for readers, most authors (myself included) check the review sites on occasion to see what readers think, to find out the number of stars, and the rankings. Some may even stalk their reviews daily (or hourly!).

And just why are authors drawn so magnetically to the reviews on their books?

I can think of a number of reasons. First, the reviews bring immediate gratification, and in an industry where everything takes so long, that instant "reward" is hard to resist.

Also we're writing to bring readers pleasure, and so we have a deep need to make sure that we're actually doing what we set out to do. We want reassurance that we're on track, that our stories are resonating.

But is it healthy for a writer's mental well-being to stalk the review sites? Should authors work harder to stay away? Are the review sites really the best place for us to find the reassurance we long for?

A couple of weeks ago, I read Lynn Austin's newest book All Things New, set in the south during the reconstruction era after the Civil War. I found the book just as well-written and meaty as always. So I was somewhat shocked when another reader (who claims that Austin is her favorite author) left her a two star review saying that story bored her and that she felt like it was written by someone else.

I had a much different reading experience. I genuinely enjoyed it and thought it was one of her most interesting books yet. But the other reader said, "I kept hoping the story would finally take off, sadly the book finished and I was glad it was all over!"

Of course, this kind of contradiction has happened to me too. In fact, one day last week I came across a blog review claiming that my first two books were much better and had more depth than my newest book, Unending Devotion. That same day, a reader emailed me to say that Unending Devotion was my "best book yet."

Who's right?

We could go on and on with contradictory reviews. Even the most popular, best-selling books elicit a wide range of reader reactions, usually a large number of both five and one star reviews.

If we're checking Amazon or Goodreads or blog reviews, then we're going to eventually hear a lot of negative stuff.

The trouble is, we tend to take lower ratings very personally, whether we want to or not. We let the negative comments dig in and discourage us. Even if we have thick skin, those comments still seem to worm their way inside. And sometimes they hurt, even fester.

We start to feel unsettled and insecure. We may even begin second-guessing ourselves and our stories, let the reader opinions confuse us, and lose confidence in our voice. Perhaps some of us may wonder if we're really cut out for a writing career after all.

Yes, reading reviews on our books can eventually weigh us down, depress us, and take the joy out of writing.

In the days before the internet, authors couldn't rush off to see what readers thought of every intimate detail of their books. If an author got lucky, they would get a book review in a newspaper or magazine from a coveted critic. Or maybe handwritten letters came in from time to time applauding them. But that was it.

For the most part, authors could write in blissful unawareness, without knowing what readers were thinking about their stories. Sales statistics were the primary way of determining how an author was doing (and actually they still are!).

But now due to the internet, readers have a very strong voice. And it's only growing stronger. There aren't just a couple of coveted critics anymore who are writing reviews about our books. There are hundreds of critics.

Yes, there are many benefits to online reviews. But in this modern age, I'm realizing that we as authors need to protect ourselves from too much criticism (and perhaps even too much praise). When we take the reviews too seriously or look to the reviews for our worth, we start to lose faith in ourselves.

We have to remember that subjectivity plays a huge role in the writing world, that we can't please everybody, nor should we even try. People really do have different tastes in what they like, in what they consider a good story, and what they prefer to read.

Reviews don't define us or our writing. We can't let all the voices out there distract us from listening to our own unique writing voice and following the passionate stories birthed in our hearts.

Writers, do you read the reviews on your books? Why or why not? 

And readers, do you think authors should be reading online reviews? Why or why not?

40 comments:

  1. Positive or negative—I read my reviews. At worst, I'm not to the reader's taste. At best, I get an idea for how to re-target my audience or for what to adjust in future books.

    I'm frankly more bothered when I see a starred review—regardless of the number of stars—without any comment saying what the reader liked or disliked.

    One author I read, Karen Chance, sometimes answers reviews. I actually like that, and I find it quite helpful when she does. But from how many folks mark her comment as "not helpful", I'm guessing a fair number of readers dislike any author response to reviews.

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  2. At this point, I admit I'm pretty much reading every review, and then engaging in a little cognitive-behavioral therapy with myself to deal with my thoughts afterward! This whole process is new to me since my book only came out about two weeks ago, and I imagine I'll eventually habituate and stop looking so often. And while I certainly agree that reviews are for readers, not authors, I've had enough readers/reviewers contact me through Twitter or Goodreads and actually point me to their reviews to know that several want to share their opinion of the book with me.

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  3. I read every review and try to at least thank the reviewer. Strangely, the review I'm fondest of was the lowest review I got (officially a 3, though she considered it a 2.5). She raised some valid points and I've gained a friend out of my conversations with her. She loved my second book and has beta-read my third.

    As a reader, I have to be very cautious when I rate/review a book. I don't want to track multiple accounts, so I rate everything under my pen name, Tory Michaels. This of course leads to problems if I hated a book, esp. if it's a book many others have loved. I don't want the review to seem as if it's sour grapes, so I'll star it, but I won't leave a review as such. There are a few notable exceptions, and those have been because I was so repelled by the book I was compelled to actually explain the one-star I gave it. I think anyone checking out my goodreads ratings/reviews will see I don't just do "drive-by" ratings, as my ratings range all over the map.

    Unfortunately, it's a balancing act.

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  4. I love reading the reviews and I'm completely humbled and grateful a reader would take the time to tell others how much they enjoyed the experience I tried to lay out for them.

    Yesterday, I read a review I didn't even know was out there. I soooo needed the reassurance the review gave me. (Everyday I quit my writing job). It inspired me to keep pressing on. Readers are reading my stuff, readers like my stuff and readers want to read more of it. And thus I have strength to make it through another writing day.

    Not to make writing sound like a chore, but as Michelle mentioned the other day on Rachelle Gardner's blog--writing is a whole lot like mommying--we're kind of stuck with certain things. Writers need encouragement, feedback and some sense of how well we are doing or not (gulp).

    One important thing to remember--and Jody, you touched on this in the post--all reviews are subjective and our writing will simply not be to everyone's taste.

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  5. I'm a reader and hopeful writer, as well as a book blogger. I think authors should read their online reviews, but take them with a grain of salt and read them in moderation - say, twice a month? There are comments that often show up in multiple reviews that can give the author good feedback. However, if an author gets really happy or depressed over something only said in a couple reviews, then perhaps it's best to take a step back from the readers' comments.

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  6. I think this can apply to all areas of life. We will never please everybody all of the time or even some of the time. But if we stay true to God's leading and what He's called us to do...that's better than a million positive reviews. I know I've been inspired and my life enriched by certain books that others I know didn't care for at all. But the story was what 'I' needed at the time. So, as you said, people have different tastes. And different authors' stories resonate with different readers. But I know that as a writer, it's often hard to be objective.
    Great post!
    Blessings,
    Amy O'Quinn

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  7. Good morning, everyone! I'm enjoying reading your thoughts this morning. I appreciate the insights each of your are adding! I'm still working through my own feelings about the issue, so it's helpful to hear your perspectives. Thank you!

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  8. I don't spend a lot of time reading my reviews. Why? It's all about mental health. I've decided not to "hitch my wagon to the stars," so to speak -- and worry about the ratings -- whether I get one stars or five stars.
    The funny thing is, even though I don't go reading reviews, I still stumble across them. People send them to me. Or I take par tin a blog tour and stop by to thank the participants and, of course, glance at the reviews.
    So, the reality is, I limit how much I read reviews.
    I like what Emily says: I can't completely ignore reviews -- but I should be able to get an overall "trend" about my book. And realize not everyone's going to love my writing -- and not everyone's going to hate it either.

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  9. As a reader, and a reviewer, it humbles me, when a writer takes the time to read my review. i realize that when a novel does not 'do' it for me, it's just because it's not my kind of novel, and i try to write that into my review. I loved your novel Jody, and am waiting for the next one.

    www.reviewingnovelsonline.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much for the very sweet words, Marianne! :-)

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  10. Jody, The further I get along this writing road the less I read reviews. I do anxiously await RT's reviews before any of my books comes out, but that's about it. I learned long ago that it's impossible to please everyone, and to try leads to frustration. I check reviews every once in a while to see if there's something I need to consider in future novels, but by and large I try not to read them too often.

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  11. Interesting to read this today, Jody. I got a not-so-nice review this morning. Keeping in mind that this is only my second novel, I feel like I'm still getting my feet wet. I like to read reviews because I really want to know what readers think. If I never looked at a review, I'm not sure I'd truly know I was reaching anybody. You can't always count on a reader to contact the author personally if they enjoyed a book or even if they didn't. So yes, I do read my reviews. And honestly, I don't mind if someone doesn't like what I've written. I have read many books that I haven't enjoyed. That said however, I think a negative review can be handled professionally. There is never an excuse to be nasty on a public forum. Unfortunately that's what I'm dealing with today. But you never know why people do what they do and I'm sorry this reader felt that way about my book. So I am learning to take the good with the bad, keep calm, and carry on. :)

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  12. As a blogger, I believe authors should read online reviews, but not comment on them publicly. If they would like to thank the reviewer, do it in an email. If they comment online, it makes the reviewer (me)look like I have a friendly relationship with the author and those reading the review will then take that review with a grain of salt. ALL reviewers are expected to be completely honest and objective and not influenced in ANY way... and having a friendly relationship between bloggers and authors is blurring that line for me.
    And authors should never ever respond to negative reviews whether it is done online or offline or in outer space.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marie. I haven't heard this perspective before from book bloggers, but it makes a lot of sense! I think when book bloggers DO become friends with authors, it may indeed be more difficult for them to leave an objective review because they don't want to offend the author they've gotten to know. So not only might it affect other readers' opinions about the review, but it also begins to affect the blogger's ability to be completely honest. Just another thought.

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  13. I've only had a small number of reviews for Locked Within so far, and thankfully they've all been positive. But I quickly learned that checking my sales figures on Amazon every couple of days was a quick way to be driven mad!

    Because I'm still at the "new release" stage, I'm looking out for places I can submit my book for review, so I'm a little more tempted than I should be to keep tabs on different sites. I can see how it could easily distract me from writing though, even pausing to check my Goodreads page to see if anyone's written a review yet can take up so much time.

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  14. Have to jump back in to say that I'm surprised by Marie's feeling that authors shouldn't respond publicly to online reviews, since it might make it appear that the author and blogger have a relationship. Heretofore, I've made it a point to enter a comment--something like "Thanks for reviewing (fill in the title)." If the review is bad, I stop there. If it's good, I might thank the blogger for his/her kind words. I'll be interested to see if other reviewers think this is a bad thing.

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    1. My personal view (as a blogger) is that authors shouldn't comment on Amazon, Goodreads etc, but it's ok to add a comment to a blog, or send a personal email (my email address is available via my blog).

      And comments should stick to 'thanks for the review' or similar. I don't think it makes me look like BFF (at least I hope not).

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  15. I had the same response as Richard. While I don't respond to any reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc., I do comment on positive blog reviews (not the negative ones). I've heard other bloggers grumble that the authors don't bother to show up and say anything, and so I thought it was polite to say thank you. Am I wrong? Well, this is confusing, isn't it? :) Darned if you do, darned if you don't.

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    1. Hi Sarah and Richard,

      Yes, it IS very confusing! I know some bloggers DO get offended when an author doesn't offer a thank you. But apparently others prefer the author stay off reviews altogether. Hmmm . . . I'd love for more book bloggers to weigh in on how they feel.

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  16. As a reviewer, I do appreciate it when the author stops by to say thanks for the review, especially if I've written a positive review on their work. And if they RT the link to my good review on Twitter, it can benefit both of us. I get the traffic and they hopefully get another reader/purchaser thanks to that review.

    I understand it can be emotionally hard to comment when someone has been negative about your 'baby' so I never expect a response to anything I've written that is less than positive.

    Do I expect a relationship to form between the writer and me? Of course not. In fact, I'm still at the "Wow, they actually made a comment to lil ol me" stage. Do I expect the writer to remember me three weeks later? Not when there's one writer and many readers/reviewers.

    I think we all rely on external validation to some degree. Regardless of the work, whether it's a book or a review, we like it when people say, "Hey, I like that." The trick is to move on when we receive something negative. We've got to remember that it's just one person's opinion and we've still got that great and unconditional love from our heavenly Father.

    Sally M

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  17. I think another thing to consider is whether the author has requested a review. A lot of blogs have open requests for books to review, and that's their main way of compiling a list of titles to look at. In these cases, regardless of how the review goes, I think it's just good manners for the author to thank the reviewer for their time, in private at the very least.

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  18. As a book blogger, I appreciate when authors stop by to leave a thank you in the comment. I don't wait for it, or wish for it, but I do appreciate it. And when I'm reading other blogs and I see the author has stopped by to say something it does give me positive feelings toward the author. We are bloggers because we love books and appreciate what you do and want to do what we can to help get the word out about books because we understand the difficulties.

    But I'm sure if I was an author, I would take the negative reviews to heart. That's why if I really didn't like a book, I'll include other bloggers positive reviews so that readers can decide if it is for them or not. It's not fair for me to say it was a bad book and steer people away from it because obviously, some people did like the book since it has been published! We can't all like the same books, reading is about personal taste. And I think it's important for both authors and reviewers to remember that.

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  19. I only have a small blog where I review books but a couple of times an author has taken the time to thank me the review. It made me feel good that they had noticed that I had posted one at all. If I don't really care for a particular book and it is because of my personal reading preferences, I will review and then place a personal note for why it didn't appeal to me.

    Most of the books I do review are from my personal purchases or a book I have gotten from the library, not from any publishers or authors with the occasion exception.

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  20. Thanks so much, Jody, for raising this question. I was a bit skeptical when I saw the title, but you and the commenters (sorry if I misspelled 'commenters', it's looking funky to me right now) have really contributed so many interesting points.

    Heretofore, my plan once published has been to follow Harrison Ford's advice: "I don't read the bad reviews; I might believe them. And I don't read the good reviews, because I might believe them!" But the comments from both sides of the proverbial aisle (book bloggers and authors) have made me reconsider that. It really is worth pacing yourself on reviews for the sake of sanity, as many above have said, but I think the idea of thanking the folks who at least took the time to even read my book is really worth it too. It's more in my nature to thank people than not anyway, and I should stay true to that. And... hehe, in honor of that... thank you all for giving me something to think about here!

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  21. As an (unprofessional) book blogger, when I get a comment from an author of a book I've written about I usually, jump up and down, run down the hall and tell my husband and then spend the next few days telling everyone I know! :)

    As you can see, for me it's very exciting to hear from the author. :)

    I share about books I love on my blog, and when an author takes the time to connect with me, I find it so encouraging. I agree with Shan, we bloggers blog because we love books and appreciate you as authors and this blogger loves hearing from you. :)

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  22. I haven't written as many books or been reviewed that often -- but i would usually go and thank the reviewer, or mail them, good review or bad. Because the fact that they took the time to read and review is a big thing. I know the effort it takes.

    As to getting uplifted or depressed by reviews -- well, it is all a part of the writing life, and as long as I don't get too depressed or too happy, I'm fine.

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  23. I'm hoping and praying that I don't pay attention to reviews of my own works when the times come. Not that I don't thank the reviewer for his or her time for doing one, but because I think it would influence my spirit too much. I know we can't have everyone pleased with our work but I just feel if I read the negative reviews it might keep me from writing again. Of course, I don't want to get a bloated head from good reviews either, because that would affect my writing as well. I think I will concentrate on my sales records instead and keep writing the best book I can.

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  24. As far as authors reading online reviews, I guess it depends. Some of the reviews that I've read on Amazon, for example, are really nasty and uncalled for; I think it would be very discouraging for an writer to read those. On the other hand, if there are several bad reviews in a row on one book and they're all saying the same thing (as long as they're not mean about it), then maybe they're on to something. When I'm deciding whether or not to purchase a book, I often read online reviews, because they're very candid. But sometimes what other people like isn't necessarily what I like. I recently bought a book that got a lot of good reviews, but I find myself cringing as I continue reading it.

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  25. Jody, this is such an insightful and important review, from the author's point of view. I applaud your emphasis on the need to realize people come from all sorts of places as reviewers, so writers need to keep thick skin. Let me share a bit from a reviewer's perspective.

    I review a LOT of books. I review mostly for my own learning experience -- reviewing keeps me reading more deeply and learning about writing as I read. I usually comment on some aspect of the writing within each review. I seldom review books I don't like enough to award four stars, and usually five.

    On the rare occasion I do a two-star review, I explain why. So far these books have always been series books by authors who apparently bang out X number of books a year, presumably on contract, and they don't take the time to research the setting or scan for story inconsistencies. I feel insulted as a reader by this cavalier attitude on the part of both author and publisher.

    But knowing how reviews can sting, especially for memoir, if I'm not thrilled with a book, I won't post the review.

    Right now I'm reading a memoir by a comedy writer. The story is well-written, but a bit dense with the one-liners for my taste, and I find the constant humor a distraction. I'm struggling with how to put this in a positive way in a review. Maybe just that way. Had I read this in an earlier review, I may have passed the book by, which is more a reflection on my taste than the author's talent or story.

    I have not yet made the decision as to whether to post the review or not.

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  26. While I can get what you're saying, Sharon, it's just frankly hard for those of us unpublished (For pay) writers to know what it's going to take, and I don't think telling writers to not stress (because you'll get asked to rewrite it again) is the answer, either That still doesn't either excuse not making a strong effort beforehand, nor does it ease any of the pressure to excel at one's craft, period.

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  27. For me, Jody, "Stalk" is the wrong word. I do know what you're getting at, and I can see the dangers of being obsessed with anything involving criticism, and I think the longer it takes to find the right "focus group" of writers who aren't anti-whatever-you-write, the harder feedback will be at first, even if it's not vicious (Though in my case, 90% my early feedback was vicious, they were right about what they cited, but were overly brutal in how they told me).

    It took me eight years to find the VITAL 10% who like, and more importantly, accept what I write, and don't let their preference as readers color their feedback to my writing in unfair ways.

    They more often than not truly give me feedback I can use, eventually...

    While I still struggle to keep my emotions respectable, it's only because the issues brought to my attention are just easier to SAY are there, than they are to actually DO something about, and you KNOW you've got to do something, because what you've got isn't working, or they wouldn't say otherwise.


    On the other hand,, you can't equate everything to "Reading is subjective." Sometimes, the gripes we wish weren't a big deal, really are, even if we've NO IDEA how to fix them.

    To be continued...


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  28. Had to break up my original comment because I went over the character count...

    After this year, I've come to believe that we overhype the "Get a thick skin" credo FAR too much.

    I wouldn't have come to some of my best writing if I held my emotions in a "Pandora's Box." As much as my intense emotions have got me in trouble, and lost writer friends because I don't always handle criticism gracefully, at least no one can say I'm not doing anything besides complaining.

    It's only an issue when your emotions make you come off as a jerk. You can express the negative without being negative, that's why writers critique each other's work in the first place, right?

    I've learned not say "Never" because things can change over time, but as far as my current phase in life, I just don't have this almighty "thick skin." I just know I refuse to give up. That's the only promise I can keep in that regard.

    Above all, I honestly believe it's getting harder and harder for writers to gauge what's "ENOUGH!" because it's not as obvious as a lot of writers and how-to books make it sound.

    While I can get what Sharon Lippincott above said above, it's just frankly hard for those of us unpublished (For pay) writers to know what it's going to take, and I don't think telling writers to not stress (because you'll get asked to rewrite it again) is the answer, either That still doesn't either excuse not making a strong effort beforehand, nor does it ease any of the pressure to excel at one's craft, period.

    As much as people have preached to me those very sentiments, and I know from my experience they mean well, but the closer we are to being "Ready to publish, ASAP!" the less obstacles we might face in the long run. We "Stress" because the fewest reasons we give agents/editors to slap and dash a "Form rejection letter" or the increasingly new normal of the "No response after X time means No" response, the better off we'll be.

    For those of us who just can't afford to self-publish in a quality and smart way, and/or whose audience isn't easily accessible in non-print mediums (Children's books for reader UNDER 13), we're left to wonder what more we can actually do besides push ourselves harder to produce better writing.

    It just sounds stuck up to me. Even though I know it's rarely said with "Subversive Sarcasm."

    What I loathe about some of the multi-published folks is that
    they make things that much harder for those of us who STRUGGLE to write one decent book at a time, and when we have to shelve it for whatever reason, that's often years of work we're walking away from, sometimes starting over ISN'T easy or fun, just necessary.

    That said, let's remember there are many hard working authors who are just blessed to draft and revise their work sooner than some of us, and I include myself here, too. The ones I know personally are anything but "HACKS." They produce and revise FAR faster than me, but they're not soullessly "phoning it in" either.

    Sorry for rambling a bit, Jody, but I had to take a break out of my 2012 NaNoWriMo journey to speak to this.

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    1. Hi Taurean,

      Thank you for the thoughtful comments. I appreciate the insight and depth of your feelings regarding the issues you mentioned. I think it IS very difficult to develop thick skin, as you said. Even though we want to be able to take criticism with grace, it still seems to hurt. And honestly, I'm not sure that it ever gets easy! At least it hasn't for me yet! :-)

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  29. Thanks for replying, Jody.

    I just really appreciate when an author further along the path from me can admit this is a hard transition, even for writers who aren't "new to the process." It's important to do. Just not easy to deal with. Regardless of how professional you need and strive to be.

    I say that not to excuse rude behavior, be it mine or someone else's, just to acknowledge to others who struggle here as I do, it's normal, and you're not a heartless person to feel what you do. If you truly didn't care, it wouldn't hit a nerve, however negative.

    Sometimes, writers can come off unmeaningly arrogant when they're simply trying to be honest and serious about the process. I know this because I've made mistakes regarding this myself. Still, I also know we're not robots, and that we shut our emotions off like a light switch, and I feel some published writers lose sight of that, even if they still face similar issues, how they instruct other writers sometimes can look the opposite of what they feel or intend.

    I agree things like this don't get easy or go away.

    But I think some writers further along the path should be more understanding of those who don't come to terms with this particular frustration as fast as themselves. You don't have to be a newbie to feel torn about the gap of "Your best now" vs. "Your best that has a chance at getting published." Or at very least get non-form or "silent" rejections from agents or editors.

    That gap is hard to see because we're left to figure that out on our own.

    Thank you for being the second published author I know who is willing to admit this aspect of the process is not as straightforward to resolve as it can be to diagnose.

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    1. EDIT: I meant to say-

      "Still, I also know we're not robots, and that we CAN'T shut off our emotions off like a light switch."

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  30. Just wanted to say that I left my first less than four or five star review on Amazon last week and I was almost in tears doing it. Of course, I stated why the book didn't work for me, so hopefully other readers who don't want those sort of scenes in what they read will know to pass the book by. I talk with the author on WANA Tribe and I like her, so I didn't want her to be hurt by what I wrote and that made it difficult.

    I think the WAY the review is written is the important factor. Some reviews are intentionally harsh, as if they want the author to read it and be cut. I think that's wrong.

    I know I'll read the reviews when my I finally publish a novel. As I said to a very young author earlier today, I think my self-esteem is at a point where it won't cause me to throw in the towel (as I did 8 years ago when the novel I sent out got form letter rejections only). Whether my writing is publishable even now, I don't know, but I wouldn't want my name attached to anything I wasn't proud to call my own (and I'm not the easiest reader to please).

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  31. Hey Jody - I'm a little late to the party here but here's a few thoughts. I've been writing reviews on my blog and a couple of other places for over six years now so have had some time to work out my thoughts. It might also be worth noting I'm not a writer nor am I aspiring to be one.

    Reviews should be written for the benefit of readers and that is a good way for writers (and reviewers) to think about them. They are not the target audience for reviews so there is a reason to try not to take the negative ones personally or to immediately believe their book is the best ever written - hehe.

    A review is one person's opinion only. You are bound to find people who love a book and others who couldn't stand it - it's human nature and different things appeal to different people. Even so, I'm still surprised when I read a review of a book I adored that another person didn't like. Reviewers are also not immune to the same thing writers experience - when someone comments negatively on a review they have written the same self doubt can arise - LOL!

    I don't expect writers to comment on the reviews I have written but I don't mind if they do. I do agree with Paul, however, that if a writer has requested a reviewer provide a review it is good manners to thank them. This doesn't have to be done in the public forum, of course.

    As for becoming friends with authors, that is an interesting one. I have built up numerous online connections with authors and publicists over the years, which has been an unexpected but delightful bonus to my book reviewing. Does that make it harder to write a negative review? I'm not convinced it does. While I don't enjoy the experience of writing a strongly negative review, the connection with the writer or publicist (a person I respect) makes me more accountable - there is no way I'm going to deceive someone I've built a relationship with by saying their book or their author's book was amazing when I know it wasn't.

    A thought regarding negative reviews for writers who can't stay away from reviews - bear in mind there are constructive negative reviews and spiteful, over the top, vitriolic reviews. The latter should just be ignored - usually that reviewer has some kind of personal agenda to push that may have little to do with the quality of the writing! The former, if possible, should be considered by writers as something to learn from. Most lay reviewers find it difficult to write a negative review, so if they have pushed past that dislike there may be something for an author to consider in what they have written.

    Have a great day!

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    1. Hi Rel!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this topic! I appreciate your insights. I'm glad that the friendships you've established with authors hasn't pressured you into writing reviews or compliments about books that you didn't like. I have trouble with this myself in writing endorsements or reviews for author friends. I have a difficult time with how to phrase books that aren't necessarily my cup of tea. I try to remind myself that just because the book may not have appealed to me, other readers may really enjoy it, and I need to find the positive. But still it's tough because we also don't want to be dishonest.

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