Wednesday, May 20, 2020
They tell us as authors not to pay too much attention to reviews. Should we solicit them? Yes. Reviews help other people decide whether or not a book is worth their time. Most of the time. Some of the time. There are the odd reviews where a book doesn't connect with people, or they miss the point, or they just plain didn't like it. Hey, not everybody is going to think the same way, and that's okay. Sometimes people write a review that's completely unrelated to the actual product. "One star, the book was supposed to be here Monday and didn't get here until Friday."
I'm reading a book right now that is by a best seller from a major publishing house. It's pretty good overall, but there's a subject that's not sitting well with me. It's sort of a "diamond in the rough" sort of book where the girl is a tomboy, always has been. She resents people telling her to be more girly and trying to make her into something she's not, but then she has to wear a dress for a "girl" function and suddenly she thinks she should be what other people want her to be - girly. I'm not buying it, as much as the author is trying to convince me, that this girl WANTS (suddenly) to be more girly after 27 years, and all those people she resented are now somehow right. Sticking with the book - I expect it will get better, but it is raising my hackles. Does that make it a bad book? No... just not one I'm on board with.
But I digress. The reason for my post today is that despite being told not to check reviews on my books, I do. I don't get my nose out of shape when someone writes something ridiculous about one of my books, someone who misses the point (like I'm missing the point with the tomboy book), but when someone is enjoying my books, I do get the warm fuzzies. Big time. Nice reviews are encouragement to keep going, or guide you in the right direction. I sometimes wonder if I'm connecting with my audience, and hearing back from them confirms that I am (or I'm not). Currently, there is a reader who is making their way through my Epitaph series (shameless plug, the first in series is FREE!). Lots of people have reviewed that first book, and many have gone on to review the second. Then things tend to slow down. When my sister read the series, she told me which books she liked and which she didn't, and when she didn't, she said it wasn't that there was anything wrong, just that she was burned out on the series. I get that. I've burned out on my favorite authors after reading them back to back to back, too. My current reader (who I can identify because they leave their name) has been leaving glowing reviews about how they wonder if the next book will be as good as the last, and so far I haven't let them down. I LOVE reading reviews like that. When I know someone is enjoying the books, I want to give them more, as opposed to those people who say "I just don't get it," who make me want to give up and take up knitting (I can't knit to save my soul, that will NOT be the replacement of choice).
So moral of the story, those books that people have connected with, that they've left me glowing reviews on, those are the ones I gravitate toward writing more of. The ones that people don't bother to review, or that reviews are so-so, I move on from. As I finish the Hillendale series, I'm hoping to see more reviews so I know whether or not people are connecting with my "Practical Magic meets The Good Witch with a Spirit Walker thrown in" series, or if it was a lark on my part. Sometimes I venture into quirky territory just because my brain goes that direction. Hey, let me tell you about the book I wrote about fairies in the desert that is sitting in my desk drawer that one of my friends keeps telling me I should share with the world (I don't think I'm ready to do that, but ya never know!). In the meantime, I'm on the home stretch in Hillendale 3 (tentatively titled THE HIDDEN GRIMOIRE) and after that I expect to move back into my regular romance territory.