Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why I Am Not Reading Reviews Anymore

A few weeks ago, some authors on one of my lesfic Yahoo groups said they do not read reviews of their own works. I was astonished, not because they did not read the reviews (I can think of many good reasons authors don't), but that in today's age of information at your fingertips and inadvertent slippage, that they were able to avoid this.

Now I think it can be done, and I'm joining their ranks. It was not a decision I made lightly, and my thought process might be of interest to you.

It basically started with my "Miss Lucy Parker" collection. This collection elicited strong, negative feelings in a vocal minority of people. I got a couple of horrid attack emails. Then an anonymous review popped up at BN. It said: "

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

Ii hate this book. Dont make another one."

Now, if people hate my work, that's fine. But good reviews explain why, all that jazz. Readers are discerning enough to know a good review from a bad one, but this so-called review really sent me into a funk. It was the only "MLP" review on BN, too. I reported the review and a few other people did, too. But it's still there. I actually considered pulling some (or all) of my works from BN because of its review policy. My BN sales are a tiny part of my overall sales, so the hit would have been minimal. Anyone anonymous can post reviews, and they don't even need to put text. Reviews can be starred and nothing else. This is an issue I've had with some other BN reviews of my works. Goodreads allows this system too, but at least a name has to be with the review. Amazon also has pennames, but the reviews are linked. BN's system leaves much to be desired. Anyway, in the end, I decided to give readers credit for their own brains and kept my works on BN.

Anyway, then there were a few other review issues with the same work and other works, other sites. I got to the point where  I decided reading my reviews was not worth it. I would get all angsty and depressed when I should be focusing on my WRITING.

So this is my plan of action. I can see sales numbers without having to look at reviews, which is cool. But not sales ranks. If I want to know a book's sales rank on Amazon or BN, I'll ask my wife to look it up for me. I'll uncheck the Smashwords notification option that lets me know my work has been reviewed. If one gets through, I just won't read the review. Now, I WILL ask my wife to make the rounds once a in a while and read reviews. If she finds a good one (including ones that have constructive feedback--I'm not fragile enough that I can't handle constructive feedback) I will ask her to send them my way. I DO want to know what readers think about my work and what might have been a weak spot(s). Along these lines, I still love getting reader emails (other than the attack emails). Some of the emails have pointed out what they thought were weaknesses, and that's fine. As long as it's constructive and justified, ya know?

Anyway, I think I can do it, even in this day and age. :-)

**** I really do appreciate readers who take the time to post thoughtful and constructive reviews. Please keep it up! Chances are I will see these reviews eventually through my wife :)



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