So, just a quick question. I know that all reviews are supposed to be taken are critiques and when received should be looked over and looked at objectively and critically in order to take something from them and learn. What about when there is very little to take from one and it is more insulting?
This happened to me over the weekend when I saw there was a review for "The Light Rises" on B&N. I'm trying to look at it and learn from it (obviously I need to work on details more and such, apparently, according to that person), but some of what was put down was just insulting. How do you all deal with that?
There are different kinds of reviews... customer reviews on those kinds of sites, I think, are a misc. bag of whatever... people just want to get it off their chest.. so they're probably not always going to point out good things... unless they really liked it.. and they're probably not thinking about 'how do i help the author improve'...
I think if you have a review by an author, you might be more likely to get that constructive aspect to it... but that, again, isn't always the case...
The best way to deal with bad reviews is to realize that a) you can't please all the people all the time and b) a review is someone's opinion, and c) they will happen (see a) Tell yourself this, and apply chocolate or your favorite comfort food (or read and reread the good reviews), until the sting fades. Yeah, they can be unfair and flat out wrong, but you can't control what other people do. All you can control is your response to them. Why give them your emotion and your time? And frankly, if you respond in any way, it will just rebound into something worse. (Do a search on authors behaving badly, if you don't believe me.) The high road might not feel that great, but it is the better road, the professional road. Sorry it happened, but it goes with the publishing territory.
No matter what you write, or how well you write it, if a lot of people read your work you'll get a range of responses. There are always some reviewers who can't resist peppering their comments with sneering and sarcasm. If they have valid criticisms as well, I guess you have to say "yes, they've got a point there," but if they sneer while demonstrating with their review that they were simply too lazy or obtuse to read attentively, then you can write off their review as just another of the self-indulgent diatribes that litter the net.
Thanks a bunch for the replies. It's good to know that the way I'm handling it isn't incorrect. (the only other review I've ever gotten was from my mother, so this is kind of new...and now I feel like a sad person, but whatever) Hopefully there will be better ones in the future, I appreciate the supportive words!
It's tough to have the first not go well. I've been publishing since 1998 and it happens. I've read on loops that some readers won't take seriously a book that only gets good reviews. They are suspicious of all good reviews. So it can work for you. What's hard is that so few readers take the time to post reviews at all. I know I find the reader reviews helpful when I'm deciding whether to buy or not. And, on occasion, it is a less wonderful review that has caught my attention and prompted me to buy, because what they didn't like, I do like.
Thanks for all the kind words. It's strange, sometimes I think I've moved beyond the review, but then I find myself looking for proofreaders and editors, and am convinced I've done something horribly wrong. That'll have to wait though, I super don't have that kind of money. I'm going to continue doing my best, and if people don't like it, that's not really my problem. Thanks again!
nothing wrong with finding proofers/betas... that's always a good thing... sometimes what you think is super clear and obvious doesn't translate to the page... and i think it's a little strong to say 'that's not my problem' perhaps it's better to say.. I'll continue to do my best to improve as a writer rather than shrug and tell the general public to lump it :D everyone can improve... even the best improve or go stagnant...
Oh gosh, you should not have to pay for editing if you can find a good beta (and then have somebody read your work *after* it goes through any beta-suggested changes; somebody different). Trusted writer buddies can hopefully help you with anything you need, from beta-reading to proofreading. I'm always happy to beta and/or proofread, simply because I feel that writers need to stick together. Plus, I feel that the bonus is getting a free story to read and somebody who might be willing to do the same for me.
The manuscript I am currently querying went through 2 alpha readers, who commented as I wrote the first draft, then a beta who mostly gave me feedback on plot on the second draft, and finally 4 gamma readers, who only had to do very light proofreading and made comments here and there about things that might have been overlooked, or didn't make sense.
Miss Raye is definitely right that we all have room for improvement. If it wasn't for my "test readers" (it's too much work to always say alpha, beta and gamma - LOL), then my manuscript would be OK, but not as good as it could be. I lucked out and found an amazing beta via Twitter. If you put it out there ("Looking for a beta-reader for *insert novel genre here*"), you'll certainly find reading and writing buddies.
OH, and of course my caveat at the start there is "trusted". Try to get a feel for a person before letting them read your work. I'm not being paranoid - just cautious. I've had a long email/reader relationship with one writer buddy, and another clearly isn't out to get anything - he's got his own successes to be proud of - so I have two people I trust to give good, honest feedback on a beta level. Hopefully you know some people like that. :)
That's awesome that you've found so many people to help you. I'm always nervous when it comes to beta readers I don't know, but I then run into the problem of I don't have anyone except one person to read. I'll definitely keep what you said in mind ^__^d
It is difficult. Trust me, I understand. I was so concerned about sharing my work. If there's somebody you connect with and can kind of get a feel for through their Twitter, blog, FB, etc. that helps. It's hard, since so much socializing is done online and you can't quite make an empathic connection. It's difficult to judge by words.
I'm wishing you trustworthy writing/beta/proofing buddies for 2012. :D
Thanky! Hopefully I'll get a bit better about that. I know fresh eyes are always good. I'll be sure to keep everyone here in mind too. ^__^d
I would recommend... in locating a beta reader... you need to make sure you're on the same page... i started a fanfic group about ten years ago.. and different people have different ideas on what is 'beta reading'.. some just give a thumbs up and think that's helpful (sigh) some look at character development/maint., setting, timeline, continuity...etc... it's good to know what they plan to help you with before you get them to help... :D
and then... when you find someone you think would be a good match.. to send them a chapter of your work... ask them to beta that... and see if that's what you wanted...
i don't think it helps to have them read 20 chapters if you didn't like/understand/appreciate the comments on the one...
but the main thing with betas and their comments is that you 1) actually want someone to look at it... 2)willing to consider (that doesn't meant you HAVE to change everything they say to... but you should at least consider what they have to say... if you took the time to help someone by reading their work and commenting on it that's a gift they're giving you)