Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Author Confessions: Reviews by @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

Let's Talk About *shudder* Reviews

You may think this post is where an author mentions her best book review ever--or maybe her worst. Both of those guesses are incorrect.

Instead, let's be honest and tell readers how we really feel when we get a nasty review.

This post about what an author would like to say to the reviewer who left a review or a comment that was, well, mean.

We've all seen the movie Mean Girls. Do you think those mean girls grow up to be snarky reviewers? *LOL*

Bare Your Authorial Soul

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. We've all been told that, probably by our parents when we experienced our first "word injury," but the truth is that words do hurt.

Leo Rosten said: "Words sing. They hurt. They teach. They sanctify. They were man's first, immeasurable feat of magic. They liberated us from ignorance and our barbarous past."

Wow. Words do all that! You notice that in that quotation, the second power Mr. Rosten attributes to words is that they hurt. Sometimes, when I read reviews--not just my own so I'm not whining--I'm a little shocked at how some people get off on leaving hurtful comments. I guess they rejoice in exercising the power of anonymity that the internet grants.

The authors who participated in this do not name the book that bears the puzzling/hurtful/unearned review. The covers shown are some of their other books for your consideration.

Joan Reeves

I'll be brave and kick this Author Confessions off instead of going last as I usually do. I have to be honest. The review really didn't hurt my feelings. I guess I've reached the point in life where stuff like that doesn't bother me, but it does puzzle me.

As an author, I always look at reviews from the standpoint of: Will this review make a browsing reader into a buying reader?

Joan's Latest Book
The title of the review wouldn't compel me to buy the book. I probably wouldn't even read the review. I'd just move on to another book.

I had a glowing review on a romantic comedy described as a romp. The reader wrote about how funny it was, how the characters were delightful then gave the review this title: About as deep as a puddle.

Huh? That's like saying, "Oh, what a pretty little girl." Then slapping the child.

To the reviewer, I'd say: "I don't understand why you read a romantic comedy and expected it to be--what? Dramatic and deeply profound rather than the lighthearted, fun, and entertaining break from reality that it seemed to be for you?"

Lynn Crandall

Lynn is the author of Dancing with Detective Danger.

Both broken, can these former lovers trust love again?

My Puzzling Review

Overall, I enjoyed this book. There were a couple of plot points that didn't work for me, but as a whole the book is written in an easy-to-read style. I was particularly intrigued with the story about Sterling's sister and her dead husband's ghost. I liked the romantic side of that, but my more practical side kept arguing the point that it's not a healthy way for her to live. It did add an interesting element to the story though and the overall theme about love.

Sometimes reviewers make me wonder if they read the book. Sometimes I want to ask them why they read the book. Maybe the blurb was good or maybe they didn't actually read the book.

To this reviewer I would say, I'm glad overall you enjoyed the book. But do you understand that most people have dysfunctional beliefs and defensive patterns they have to work through? Do you understand I portrayed loss in an imaginative way because the book is fiction?

This book received another review that was so critical and harsh it really perplexed me how the reviewer managed to read the whole book.

I'd done my research with experts, so I could have gotten quite defensive and all finger-pointy. But I still loved the characters and their story, so I just shrugged and said, Oh well.

Nancy Fraser

I love the April topic!

Nancy is the author of Eye of the Pharaoh.

Will an unexpected trip to 1920's Egypt be their downfall or, will an ancient guardian keep them safe?

What would you say to a reviewer who left a puzzling or hurtful review?

Hmm ... that’s a tough question. I was raised with the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” so I’d likely say nothing.

I’ve learned you can’t please everyone all the time.

I’ve also seen far too many authors respond to snarky reviews and, unfortunately, hurt their career in the process.

If the reviewer’s comments were truly puzzling, I might privately ask for clarification ... and I stress “privately.” As for hurtful, I’d pull up my big-girl panties, pour myself a Bailey’s over ice, and do my best to ignore it.

Bonnie Edwards

Bonnie is the author of Finding Mercy

Bonnie Edwards, Earthy, Irreverent . . . Lovestruck

My Experience With Reviews

Sometimes puzzling reviews do more to sell books! Like: "This book is full of sex." (thanks for mentioning this on my erotic romance title) And "This book is long..." (thank you for saying it's not too short!) So I guess I find the silver lining in most less-than-stellar reviews. At least, I try to.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter: and Facebook: and About Me:

Liz Flaherty

Liz is the author of The Happiness Pact.

Best friends since they were born on the same day Tucker and Libby form a pact: she’ll play matchmaker to help him find the woman of his dreams and he’ll lead her on the adventure she desperately needs. 

I don’t read too many reviews anymore—unless someone messages or emails me and says, “Did you see—” in different tones of aghast, and then I go look. But this one was on my second book.

It was two stars, and the reviewer said, “I didn't really enjoy this book. It seemed rather childish. I don't get the five-star rating others gave it but if you like really dumb stories - go for it!”

Ouch. Oh, ouch, that “dumb stories” thing hurt. Years later, it still hurts. And I guess what I’d say to her is, “I’m sorry you wasted so much time not only reading the book but coming up with something scathing within the constraints of your vocabulary to say about it. I’ll bet it took you weeks.”

So, maybe she was right about the childish part. 😊

Kathleen Lawless

Kathleen is the author of Callie's Honor.

Callie was glad her husband was dead. Except now she has a new man to deal with. 

Puzzling Review

“Lawless develops well-drawn characters and amusing dialogue in a story that sizzles with constant sensuality and passion. A satisfying resolutions completes this superior sexual novel.”

And then I get 3 out of 5 stars which drags down my average. I really wonder what this reviewer is looking for. Or is 3 the new 5?

Bottom Line

Authors really try to learn from reviews. I've seen a lot of glowing reviews lately that have 3 stars. Is Kathleen correct? Is a 3 the new 5 when it comes to reviews? What do you think, Readers?

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All of her books have the same underlying theme: It's never too late to live happily ever after. She lives her HEA with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Visit Joan online: Blog * Amazon * BookBub * Facebook * Twitter. Want a free ebook of one of Joan's popular romance novels? Just click here to sign up for Joan's mailing list.

1 comment:

  1. These confessions were really fun to read! Authors do have a way with words.


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