Book reviews seem to worry a lot of people as they think everyone will decide whether to buy their book or not based on what others say. This might well be true, but luckily, reviews aren't something I worry about. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely when a genuine reader takes the time to come back and leave a review of what they've read for others to see and I am very grateful to them for having done so, but are all reviews on authors' books genuine? Sadly, the answer to that is no, they sometimes aren't.
Genuine reviews can be good bad or in-between. All of the genuine ones are very acceptable. It means someone has taken the time to buy your book, read it and come back to write what they think. If they don't like it, that is fine with me as not everyone has the same tastes or ideas and we can't be liked by everyone and shouldn't expect to be. If they make valid points during a bad review, I use them as a guide to make sure I change what would improve my writing in the next book. The good reviews are something that boosts us and keeps us going knowing some people like what we have to say and act as encouragement. The problem with glowing reviews is they are flattering and can be what we want to hear rather than need to hear. Maybe they are worth that glowing review, but bad ones should be looked at to see if they can actually help us improve in our writing.
Then we have the hate and spite reviews. Now these are a different kettle of fish entirely. These are the ones that make me laugh. I've had quite a few and to be honest, it's funny watching what they come out with. These are usually (in my case) left by people who are under threat of being exposed as fakes by my teachings and guidelines of what to watch out for. Either that or they are people who pretend there is no such thing in life as natural ability in any field, that everyone is born equal and can do all the same things as each other and to the same standard.
Their spite, venom and often personal attacks rather than anything about the book is hilarious. The venom is obvious to everyone who reads what they've written and the ones that do attack are always obvious if they too are done through spite, jealousy or anger. The last ones are usually done by people I've removed from my groups for this very personality trait. They profess to vow never to follow me or have anything to do with me, but give away they already did by throwing personal digs.
Then there are quite a few people who beg and plead with anyone and everyone to give their book a good review hoping to boost sales. The person doing the review has never read the book and might not even have read the blurb, but are happy to do what's asked of them for a good review in return for one on theirs.
This practice is something I don't like and have never held with. It always seems very obvious to me which are genuine and which aren't anyway and I'm sure real readers can spot the difference as well. A fan who buys all ones books and comes to know the author is a different matter. They can be biased if they like the author having come to know them since reading their books, but this other practice is very different.
Whatever the review, as long as it's genuine I am not worried. Good ones are lovely to have, but so are the bad ones as they often help sell more books strangely enough and can help improve us as writers if we recognise truths in their words. The most spiteful ones are those which often help sell the most as they cause intrigue. Most people aren't stupid and this is something people leaving reviews (or asking for them) should remember. Genuine reviews, good or bad, will be seen as such. Fake reviews that are left by friends and colleagues who have never read the book in question can always be seen to be. Spite and hate reviews are also seen for what they are as are personal attacks on the author.
Whatever your review, enjoy and embrace it, because it means you have moved someone enough to come back and leave a comment in the first place. It doesn't matter in what way they've been moved, the fact is, you've hit a nerve somewhere - good or bad. To me the worst thing that could ever happen isn't a bad review, it is no reviews at all. That would mean by reading my books people were left feeling indifferent -what author wants that?
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