Thursday, August 27, 2015

La-la-la . . . can't hear you.

How do I react to negative reviews? By Catriona

Okay first, I need to make a distinction between A. a review, by a reviewer, in a publication or on a website where reviews are published and B. a rating, possibly anonymous, by a private individual in the role of a consumer.

I have no beef with B. When I'm operating as a fellow consumer, I look at the yellow bars on Amazon. If the numbers are large enough you can sometimes draw conclusions. (On the other hand, if a book has eight to eleven five-star reviews, all beautifully composed, and nothing else . . . I tend to assume the author is in a writer's group. And brings cupcakes. Call me a cynic.)

But I don't look at my own books on Amazon, so I've never seen any good or bad star-ratings to react to. The upside of this speaks for itself, the downside is that when people write glowing testimony and then I meet them at events, I never say thank you. Ahem. THANK YOU!

And the reason I don't look at my own books to find out what people are saying? They're not talking to me. They're helping readers decide whether to buy a book. Or, if they are talking to me, it's kind of weird, isn't it?

But what about A? The press and trade reviews feel different to me. They're one of the ways our community expresses the fact that it's a community. (Does that make sense? My one year of social anthropology was a long time ago.) So how do I react to negative reviews in newspapers, trade journals and websites? Well, I can tell if the review is good or bad from the subject-line of my publicist's email "ANOTHER KIRKUS STAR!!! YAYYYY!!!!!"  or "Here is the PW review for your files".

So I either click the link, cross-post, share, put a quote on my website and redesign my bookmarks or . . .



Of course, if someone reads that publication or follows that website, they'll hear the thoughts of the reviewer. But they won't hear it from me.

7 comments:

Alan Orloff said...

"Here is the PW review for your files" Perfect!

Sherry Harris said...

You have way more will power than I do -- I read almost every review. I've tried to stop. But my daughter paraphrased someone and said to me: You can have the sweetest, juiciest peach but not everyone likes peaches. So if you ever see me running around chanting, "Not everyone likes peaches, not everyone likes peaches" you'll know why.

Catriona McPherson said...

Sherry, you made me laugh out loud. The problem is people don't say "I don't like peaches" they say "This peach made me physically heave and should be illegal".

Patricia Stoltey said...

I try not to read them. It's like passing a wreck on the highway and wanting to look away, but then just a quick peek.... :D

Sherry Harris said...

Laughing Catriona! Those are the ones the cause not only chanting but tapping -- something Jessie Crockett taught me. But then there's the whole bruising thing. Sigh.

Ritter Ames said...

Going to read your post anytime I even 'think' about reading my reviews. Thanks :)

J.H. Graham said...

Filing this for future reference also! Should I ever be tempted, will retreat back into my happy bubble of Obliviousness.