I know! Who knew?
But it’s true, and I’ve the reviews to prove it. However, for every person who dislikes my work for one reason or another, someone else loves it, and they are the reader I am writing for.
If you focus your attention on reviews, good or bad, you risk losing your enjoyment of the craft. Writing is an extremely personal thing, and when a novel is completed we offer it to the public, who then airs their opinion on the quality (or lack thereof) of the fruit of our labors. We are proud of our work when it is well received, and we are proud of it when it is ignored or disparaged.
I rarely look at my reviews because I have to concentrate on what I am currently writing, not on what I’ve already done. Every now and then a friend will post a good review by another reviewer on my personal Facebook page and I appreciate that sort of thoughtfulness.
But honestly, I don’t talk a lot about reviews on my personal page, good or bad. This is because I think my friends and family know what my job is and how selling my product works. I already bore them enough as it is with all my going here and there to hawk my books BS.
The minute we publish, whether through the traditional route or by going indie, we are putting ourselves and the thing we cherished most in the hands of the reading public.
At that point you must walk away from it emotionally.
But while I do like having reviews, I want a variety of them. This shows the potential buyer that more people than just my friends are reading my books. A mix of good and bad reviews is good because even the bad ones go a long way toward establishing credibility in the reading community. The reviews and numbers of stars will level out and in the end, the more reviews you have, the better for your book.
Most readers are smart. I don’t know about other people, but I want to judge a book or product for myself, rather than be told what to think by a reviewer. This is because most reviews on Amazon are not very enlightening, and alternatively, reviews bought in advance by publishers don’t impress me, good or bad.
I make my own mind up when I read the book for myself. I enjoyed The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, even though a kajillion people couldn’t wait to take her down a notch. Read my review of that book here.
You won’t write anything worth reading if you only do it with the intention of getting glorious reviews. Write because you have something to say, and write what YOU want to read. Never publish anything less than your best work and ignore the reviews, good and bad.
Some of the best books ever written have received the worst reviews. Your book could be one of them, so don’t look at bad reviews as a measure of your worth as a writer. Ignore them and just keep on writing. You are writing because you love it and that is what you do.
Everything else is just fluff.