Book reviews can invigorate authors, but it is not all rainbows and sunshine. Negative reviews may drain and stress writers. In this episode, Lyndell talks about the need for anybody sharing their words to put reviews in their proper perspectives and avoid having them crush creativity.
Today, I’d like to take a moment to talk about Book Reviews Drama. Authors take big risks when they release their work into what can be a cruel world. It takes a lot of guts to take a book and say to everyone out there, “Hey, take a look at this. This is what I wrote. I think they still like it.” and some people will like it, but not everyone will.
And it gets kind of hard to see that most authors have fragile egos and are not ready for the most constructive of criticism. When faced with negative reviews, many could become upset.
And rightfully so. I mean, you put your blood, sweat and tears into something and then someone decides to slice it up. It’s not a happy place to be in.
Reading positive reviews is easy enough, but reading the not so positive and negative ones can be extremely challenging and stressful on an author.
I was not ready; although I have an extensive literary criticism background and review books, having people tear into mine, no matter how few of them it was, was hard. I found it getting into my head and even questioned my abilities as a writer overall; was there something I should be doing?
That’s one of the bad things about negative reviews. It can hinder your creativity; it did for me. I kept reading the same things over and over again and tried to defend my work to people who probably already moved on to the next book while I remained stalled. I didn’t go back to the keyboard for a while. A lot of time wasted.
But then I followed great advice from my editor; step away from their views and get back to writing. Because the reality is reading is subjective and all authors get negative reviews. There will always be at least one reader who doesn’t like something about a book and they’ll express it.
A lot of authors are not ready to hear it, especially new ones. So, it’s important to gauge how it is that negative reviews are affecting you. Can you read a negative review and move on, or does it have you ducking under the covers and crying or waiting for the next bar of chocolate? Can you take a negative review at face value or does it have you doubting your ability to even write?
Take stock on the effect that reading reviews has on you and then decide how you’re going to interact with them, if at all?
Authors may read and hear that’s a good idea to read negative reviews because they may contain information that will help them improve their writing. I don’t hold that contention. I think that reading a good book and getting advice from experienced authors, as well as editors and writing coaches, can go a lot further in an author honing their craft.
Build a team of people who will give you constructive feedback before you even put your work out there. Then you can have the resolve that you’re giving readers the best of yourself.
Negative reviews can include a range of thoughts about a writer’s work and adversely impact creativity of a writer’s on your next work. Reading reviews can damage motivation, making it harder to achieve writing goals.
Many authors will internalize every bad critique; I know I always do. I will focus on the negative ones despite the overwhelming amount of positive ones I’ve received. I can’t help it. Most of us can’t.
The problem is that they’re all so random and going by them may lead to a writer spinning their wheels, trying to satisfy what they probably can’t because reading is so subjective.
Writers may also start fiddling around the craft, but not in a good way. They may start to change their style and voice; the very thing that a lot of readers like.
If that’s happening, it’s time to shut everything down. You don’t want anything that interferes with your creativity.
Don’t get me wrong; reviews are valuable, but not as much as professional development and getting the next story to readers.