I have battled with my own internal voice on if I should read or should not read the reviews people post about Praetorian Rising. I feel two sides of this coin…
- I want to read to understand the readers point of view. I like to hear the good of what people liked, just as much as I want to hear the ways I can improve. Reading a “bad” review can be just as helpful and encouraging as a “good” review. In my thought, if someone picked up your book, read it, took the time to review it, AND gave you some critical points for you to address as an author it’s then a “good” review.
- Reading a review less than 4 star’s on Goodreads or Amazon is a bit of a hit to your author’s pride. You want everyone to love and adore your writing. You slaved for MONTHS and sometimes YEARS to get this story perfect and in less than a few sentences someone can tear that all to shreds. Reading a “bad” review can really hurt, and sometimes it’s impossible not to focus on that one bad review even though you have several really incredible reviews.
Every single review is a way for a random reader to tell other soon to be readers whether or not, in their opinion, this book should be picked up and read.
I have fallen into the group of writers who has indeed read every single one of my reviews. And now that I have put myself through it, I find it was VERY beneficial and enjoyable, also heartbreaking and tough. The more I read through them, the more I realized that these reviews are actually not for me at all. Every single review is a way for a random reader to tell other soon to be readers whether or not, in their opinion, this book should be picked up and read. If you think about it that way, then you realize that each review is based upon their own focus of opinion and in truth has very little to do with your writing and more to do with the style of you book and how it effected and touched them as a person.
…like a total nerd, I read through the silmarillion because I couldn’t get enough of this world that J.R.R Tolkien had created.
Confession, the first time I read the Hobbit I hated it. Granted, I was in fifth grade and I honestly feel at that point the mindset and writing of the story was a bit beyond me. The characters felt strange, and the setting was hard to imagine. I didn’t understand the underlining story or the purpose of the adventure. I knew little, and cared about it less. UNTIL I was told to reread it as an adult. When I was seventeen, after the release of the first Lord of the Rings movies, I went back and reread The Hobbit. I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. I didn’t want the world to stop. I quickly read through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and then, like a total nerd, I read through the silmarillion because I couldn’t get enough of this world that J.R.R Tolkien had created. It wasn’t actually his writing or the world that changed my opinion, it was the way I connected with the story and the characters at a time when I needed that story to fill my mind.
I too have read books and thought to myself, “Well that was a waste of my time.” I won’t go into details on ones I hated, but what I will say is that there is DEFINITELY a type of person that likes certain authors and ones who don’t. Just because I hated a book, doesn’t mean someone else will. There is a time and place for all types of writers, and I can’t honestly say with full conviction that an author wrote a crap book. First, because it’s actually REALLY hard to write a book. And second, because every book is it’s own voice. Lord of the Rings is a fantasy book with deeper meaning and a culture of magic and wonder. I can’t put that book up in comparison to 50 Shades of Grey which started as a fanfiction love series. They are different, on MULTIPLE levels, and yet both authors found fame and success because they identified a target audience.
So back to the original question, to read or not to read your own reviews. I feel like I personally have quite thick skin. I am able to take in critiques and listen to them for what they are. Personal input from someone else. Two of the best critques I have received so far…
- Praetorian Rising should have been longer. It needed more depth into the world and a richer sense of the culture and surroundings. It was too damn short.
- Needs a map. I couldn’t agree more to this, and I PROMISE to release a map before Book 2 as well as release several maps WITHIN book 2.
So, will I read my reviews in the future? Most likely yes. Every once in a while when the mood strikes I undoubtedly will. But, I understand that I do this at my own risk. I will make a note however NEVER to read a review that is under 3 stars. There is no reason to for me. If someone hated it enough to give it only 1 or 2 stars, then their critique isn’t worth my time. I believe the 1 to 2 stars would be enough to tell me they hated the style and world I built and I don’t need to know anymore. It’s their opinion, and I accept that.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel reading reviews on your writing is good, bad, helpful, or absolutely a waste of time. Would love to hear your feedback!