Once you publish your book, you suddenly open yourself up to the public, and that means the critics. I was always told that I needed to get reviews for my book, and of course, like any author, I hoped people would love my book, giving it five stars and glowing commentary.
However, is that truly the reality? Everyone is a critic, and human beings can be subjective. Therefore, what is a five star to one person might be a three star to another. I’ve learned not to set my standards so high to become disappointed with the four and three star reviews. In fact, what is more important, in my view, is the actual review itself.
I love to read the comments, how my book makes people feel, and what it perhaps meant to the reader. I also like to stay open to any constructive feedback, it helps me understand the psyche of my readers, and what I could learn for future publications.
However, when I say constructive I mean constructive. As an author, the reality is that there are people out there who can be brutal with their comments, and sometimes even hurtful. When you are in the public eye, this is sadly something that we open ourselves up to. What can we do about it? Nothing really!
When I say we can do nothing, that is exactly what we should do. Ignore it. Don’t respond with the same malice, and just move on. Look at any best seller on the market, and they have a wide range of reviews and commentary. Even the best of books have the worst of critics and the detractors. Stephen King, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell are among some of the best authors, and they have their share of one and two star reviews.
As an author, I would suggest that you listen to the majority of your reviewers to truly understand the quality of your work. Look at the patterns around the reviews, and specifically any comments that may be arising more than once. Unless you are consistently getting lower ratings, or the negative comments are forming a pattern, it is just part of the game, and you should not overthink it. Where you are getting a pattern of feedback, you have a choice too. You can do something about it – fix it in your current publication or in future works, or again just accept and ignore it. Either way, it means someone is reading your book, and it may spark the curiosity of more readers.
Reviews are important, but unless your book is averaging one or two stars, they are not the only thing that will sell your book. You sell your book! You are responsible for getting your book in front of the right readers, and when you do, you should expect and welcome their feedback. If you can’t handle the heat from your readers, then sadly this game may not be for you.