By Tracy Kiely
Oh, there is nothing as enjoyable as reading a thoughtful, well-crafted review.
Of someone else’s work.
When it comes of your own work, it’s a bit like going to the dentist and being told that you need minor surgery and that the Novocain has been “iffy” lately. Whenever I’ve read one for one of my books, I find myself holding my breath and skimming to the end to see what the final verdict was. It’s not unlike being back in school and getting back a term paper. You want to know your grade, but you’re also afraid to look.
I’ve had some great reviews and some pretty awful ones. Of course, the first were written by utter geniuses and the later by mentally unstable trolls. I once got a review that was so venomous and toxic that I wondered if I were somehow responsible for destroying everything this woman had once loved and cherished. As hard as these reviews are to read, you cannot let them get to you. Whenever there is a level of meanness to a review it says more about the reviewer than the item reviewed. And while it can be hard not to respond to them, you must resist that temptation. You will never come out on top if you attack a reviewer. It only ends up as material for more fodder.
(Of course, you can kill off that reviewer in a future book after you change the name, etc.)
The best reviews are the ones that highlight the good as well as the bad. While hearing anything negative about your book is akin to seeing your child being taunted on the playground, if it’s a fair and just criticism, it will only strengthen your future work.
To be a writer you need a thick skin. Luckily, reviews are designed to develop this for you should you have been born without this protective layer.