Have you ever been told what NOT to do? Find out what Donna Cummings does when faced with this dilemma!
There is a ton of great advice out there. Some of it I agree with, and I comply without hesitation.
Like not putting your toaster in the bathtub. That makes sense on a whole lot of levels. Nobody wants soggy toast. Or electrocution.
But there’s some good advice I just can’t follow. I’m a contrarian. It’s a well-documented fact. But I usually have good reasons for going against the grain.
The prevailing view is to NOT read the reviews of your book. I understand why this advice is bandied about. When we’re crafting a story, we have to peel back our protective mechanisms, those things that allow humans to make it through each day with their soul intact. But that armor has to be tossed aside in order to get down to the juicy middle parts that allow us to write convincingly about all kinds of emotions. If that protective gear isn’t put back on properly after a writing session, or it’s inadvertently left a tender spot exposed, reading a review that isn’t glowing. . . well, there could be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, not to mention the arrival of the doubt monsters. Which could cause future stories to die before they’re a gleam in the writer’s eye.
So yes, it makes perfect sense to avoid reviews. It’s great advice. Really great.
And yet. . .
I just can’t NOT read the reviews. I want to know what readers have said about my stories. I’ve been writing for a lot of years, and for most of those years, I didn’t have an audience, other than me. I wanted readers. I dreamed about having readers. So now that my books are out there, I want to hear their thoughts. If they love it, I’m thrilled. I also want to know what they loved about the story. Was it the same thing that made me laugh when I wrote it? Or is it the same part that made me despair about my characters when I revised it? Whatever it is, I love to read their descriptions of the time they spent with my book.
If they didn’t love it, I’m curious about that too. Obviously it isn’t something I can change in this book. But maybe it’s something that I can be aware of in future books. Like the overuse of a certain word I’m partial to. Or something that relates to not explaining characters’ motives properly. This can be helpful because often a writer has tons of stuff in their head that might not have made it to the page. Next time we can keep that in mind, er, out of mind. . .you know what I mean.
(I’m actually in awe of people who write reviews. It’s a skill set I would love to develop, but honestly, I think it’s much easier to write books than book reviews. Heck, I think it’s easier to write a book synopsis than a book review.)
I know there will always be readers who won’t like certain things in my books, and that’s understandable, since there are certain things I steer clear of when I’m a reader. For instance, I’m not a fan of love triangle stories. I can’t seem to connect with a heroine who is unable to choose between two perfectly good heroic-type guys, and I always end up feeling sorry for the one that didn’t get picked. It doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good, or well-written, or anything like that. It just means it didn’t provide me with the entertainment I craved, even if it satisfied millions of other readers.
So even though avoiding reviews is good advice for some people, probably even for most people, I know it’s one rule I won’t be adhering to.
I’m good with that toaster one though.
Do you have advice you try to follow, but just can’t? Or am I the only contrarian here? Who else likes to read their reviews?
Join us on Monday for If at First, You Don’t Succeed by Anna Sugden
Bio:I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.
I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.
Back on Track, my contemporary novella set on the Napa Wine Train, released last month from Samhain. Also available is I Do. . . or Die, a romantic comedy/mystery, Summer Lovin’, a free romantic comedy novella, and Lord Midnight, a Regency historical romance. Coming soon is The Curse of True Love series, with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, playing matchmaker in Regency London.
- Tools Not Rules with Donna Cummings
- Weekly Lecture Schedule for March 26 – March 30, 2012
- Weekly Lecture Schedule, December 17-21, 2012
- The Who, What and How of Book Reviews with Tammie King of Night Owl Reviews
- The Good and Bad of Book Reviews