Have you ever noticed how polar book reviews can be?
“I loved it!”
“Eh.… it was okay.”
“Bleck! Who writes this stuff!”
Clearly, no book is meant for every reader. But as writers, it is imperative to set our egos aside and determine the valid criticism from the invalid. For me, a few steps have really helped with this process.
1. Write with a target audience in mind. This is important for so many reasons. Readers outside your target audience will probably dislike (or at the very least, not LOVE) your book. Understanding this make it much easier when negative reviews come in.
2. Criticism is your friend. Become an analytical machine and turn off your ego. Once your pride is set aside, this becomes much easier to do. Look at your work the way a literary agent would. They’re critical, tough, totally uninterested in your feelings, but very objective. I admit this is difficult, but it is not impossible. Learning to set your ego aside brings a fresh view. You’ll see things you never saw before. An added bonus will be the ability to spot sourpusses. These are the reviewers with an agenda. Obviously, sourpusses offer little constructive criticism. And if it’s not constructive, what good is it? Toss it out.
3. Be objective, even if it’s painful. If more than one reviewer says the same thing, look at the situation again. Take plenty of time before making a major decision. Think, think, think.
4. The Average Jane (or Joe) are probably the best source for constructive criticism. These are the reviewers that don’t have an agenda. They just decided to write a review. Personally, I think they are AWESOME! (thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to each and every one of them! Whether it was a review written for my books or someone else’s. Reviewers like this are golden! Golden, I say! GOLDEN!)
5. Never allow criticism to put out your fire. Instead, use it. Dissect criticism. Focus through an analytical eye rather than an emotional one. (You’re a writer, so you have an amazing imagination. Put yourself in the publisher’s seat. Think like a publisher. Think like an agent.)
6. Most importantly, ignore the mean people. For some reason there are a few out there chasing indie authors. (Weird.) Ignore them. Period. They’re just not worth your time. At least, they’re not worth my time. I’ve got books to write. Characters to create. Plots to form and scenarios to twist. I’m busy!
7. Keep moving ahead. Learn from your mistakes. Embrace them. They are your teachers. Don’t beat yourself with a stick. There are plenty of people willing do that for you. Instead, keep working.
8. Write, write, write, write, write! You know you want to! Speaking of which, I’ll see ya later. I’ve got more novels in the works. Until next time.
The Forgotten Queen is Annette Mackey’s most recent novel. Available on Amazon.