Writing and Receiving Reviews as a Writer
by Brad Convissar
I’ll make the first part easy: I don’t write reviews anymore. As a writer, I’ve been burned writing bad reviews or giving bad ratings, honest as they may have been. Writers and fans can be a little unstable. A year ago, a fan of a certain book on Goodreads went through all the 1-star ratings that book received. There were five of them. He went to the profiles of the other four, who weren’t writers, and left nasty, ignorant comments. As for me, he gave all 18 of my books 1-star ratings, which killed my overall rating. Goodreads refused to delete the ratings, even though it was obvious they were bogus; who reads 18 books by an author if he hates the first one or two? So, for the sake of not pissing off other writers or crazy fans, I’ve sworn off reviewing books. It sucks, but it needed to be done.
As for receiving reviews, as an author, you need to have a thick skin. Because some people will hate what you write. And some of their points may even be valid. When it came to Blood, Smoke and Ashes, most of the reviews were positive. But whether you, as a reader, enjoy a book depends on what you are looking for. The positive reviews were really positive: the characters were great, very real; the story was fast paced; the topic was engaging and disturbing; it kept me hooked; I couldn’t stop thinking about it once I was done.
The negative reviews, they tended to the more technical. Yes, the first draft I released had several grammar/spelling errors, and because of the bad receives, I was forced to edit it again. I was embarrassed that so many errors slipped through. So I recently went back and fixed most, if not all, of them. Other complaints? The story was too far-fetched. Too unbelievable. And you know what? It was in some respects. For some, it stretched disbelief too far. And that’s all right. But the majority of readers enjoyed the book, errors aside, because they were more interested in the characters and their interactions and plights than how far I pushed the boundaries of reality.
Some people will write reviews for the worst reasons, and there is nothing you can do but suck it up. It really pisses me off when I give away a book, a horror book in most cases, and someone picks it up, reads it and gives it 1-star. Their review? “I don’t like horror. The book was too gruesome and scary. Gave me nightmares. I wouldn’t recommend it.” Huh? You don’t like horror but you read it anyway? And then you pan it for being exactly what I wanted it to be? Gruesome? Scary? Nightmarish? That’s the freaking point! Some people. I also released a short story called Blink several years ago. It is ten pages or so, a creepy, almost Twilight Zonish story about a dentist and what he discovers in a patient’s mouth one day. Plenty of 1- and 2-star reviews. Why? Not because the readers didn’t like it, but because they felt they were being teased. They wanted more. They felt like it was a prologue to a book, not just a short story, even though the description clearly labels it as a short story. They wanted a whole book. Again, there is nothing you can do about the poor ratings. Just got to suck it up.
You can’t make everyone happy. And when you only charge $.99 or $2.99 for a book, or it’s free, you don’t feel too guilty when someone doesn’t love it. And if they read it all the way through, they got their money’s worth.
As long as the good reviews outnumber the bad reviews, and as long as the good reviews are more engaging than the bad reviews, you’re good to go and you can count yourself a success.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller / Horror
Rating – PG13 bordering on R
(Horror with some violence / Some sex, not overly graphic)