Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Constructive Reviews

I'm maybe still a little wound up from deadline (bad one this year), but there's a topic I'd love to discuss with you. Can we talk?

As an author, I read my books approximately 10 times before they are published - and that's AFTER it's technically finished. With that being said, reading one's own work is tricky. We know what it's supposed to say, and often skim over mistakes. For that reason, I hire a professional editor, who not only looks over the work as a whole, but also points out those little "oopsies" that I might have overlooked.  (and then I read it again).

Nobody's perfect. Not my editor, not me, not the several beta readers who help me find all the hidden mistakes. I do copyediting on the day job, and there are mistakes that go through several sets of eyes. It happens. With that being said, if you read one of my books, and you find a goof, I will NOT be offended if you shoot me an email and say, "Hey, I happened to notice ..."  In fact, I would be greatly appreciative. I strive to make your reading experience the best it can be.

I'm reading a book now where the dialog is terrible, but the story is good. So I'm trying to decide. Do I point out the downside to the author? She's not going to rewrite this book, I'm certain, and my review will still be positive based on what I've read so far. She has over 300 reviews already. Do I add my two cents or just keep it to myself?  Well, as an author, I'd want that additional review, whatever it says. As a reader, I'd want to know what other people thought, ugly bumps and all.

How many of you base your book-buying decisions on reviews? I've seen several that disagree with my opinion of books I've read and I've gone to a policy of sticking with what I like and not reading reviews until after I've finished and left my own opinion. Then I can see what I might have missed or where other people might have disagreed with my thoughts. And that's the beauty of reading. It's so subjective! While I might love a book by Mary Balogh, another reader might absolutely hate it, and they hate it for the very reasons I love it!

Diversity - it's what makes life interesting!

So yes, I want to hear what you thought of my book, warts and all. And if there's something I've screwed up -- I can fix it! Please let me know.


  1. As long as a review states WHY the ranking is what it is, I can accept it. And, sadly, there are trolls out there who delight in putting down authors rather than the writing, or complain that because the book was late in arriving, it's only worthy of 1 star. One hopes readers look beyond that "star average" and look at why the reviews say what they do.

  2. Agreed, Terry. I try to consider all facets of a book, and if i really hated it, i won't review it at all. Someone else might appreciate it more than i did, and, as an author, i want to support my colleagues as much as i can, unless i absolutely can't, in which case i defer to other opinions.

  3. I just experienced the same problem - good storyline, bad dialogue. I would never write anything negative in a review because it may be that I just didn't get it. Authors make their websites and emails readily available so I write them. When I finally release my book, I will welcome the same. I read reviews based on it relating what they did /didn't like specifically.

  4. Reviews are tricky, Nancy. It is your recommendation for a book. Do you get nitpicky, because you know the mechanica aren't there? Or do you go with how well you like the story? I always go back to Jane Eyre, which i loved, even though it was difficult to read in spots. But few novels compare woth Jane Eyre.