READING REVIEWS REVISITED
This has been something talked about a lot in recent times on Authortube, at least I've heard a lot of the people I follow talking about it, and I thought that I would jump into the mix with a piece about what my thoughts are on it. To be clear, I have been reading my reviews for years, I've always followed the same piece of advice that most newbie authors get: don't engage or reply for any reason, and it's go advice. There's also the thing about how reviews aren't for the authors, but other readers, so you jumping in with your two cents isn't going to help matters, and will just make you look bad. Don't do it, if you ever have the urge, vent to a friend, but don't actually do it.
So why do I read the reviews? I like to hear what people are saying about my books, whether people are liking them, and if not, then why not. I know there's little to be done about changing something reviewers don't like, but at the same time, it helps me know what to avoid in future. I will also say that I am very much a small fish when it comes to the author world. I've been published for coming up to 16 years, but I have never broken out so to speak, and I'm okay with that, so my experiences might not match up to someone who's a hell of a lot more well read by readers and reviewers alike, and that's okay.
I know that some authors will feel like reading reviews will have a knock on effect to their self-esteem, and I'll say that for some people, it can be very difficult to have a bad review especially if it's something where the reviewer attacks the author. That shouldn't be the norm, it happens from time to time, and because of that you can't help but feel like it would weigh you down. I've had my share of bad reviews, and I'll admit that in the beginning I would read them with a friend on hand to talk it through with. I didn't dismiss everything they said, but I was also able to talk it through and see whether that criticism held any weight. If it did, then it was something to work on, if it didn't, I could brush it off and move on.
So what advice do I have for new authors who do want to have a look at their reviews? Who want to, as Alexa Donne put it, check the temperature of their book and how it's been received?
#1 THE BUDDY SYSTEM
My biggest tip has to be that you make sure you have someone you can talk to while, or just after, reading said reviews. Some of them are just going to be about what the reader liked or didn't like about the book. Some are going to be the ones where the reviewer gets personal, it shouldn't be like that, but sadly it happens. So make sure you have someone on hand that can cheer with you, or cheer you up, should the worse happen.
This is actually two tips in one because if you don't want to risk getting worked up by a review, you can have a friend read them for you and forward on the ones that have merit. Either the ones that allow you to cheer yourself up on a low day. (I keep reviews like that in a folder on my computer and tablet) Or they can dig through the ones that might hold something you should keep in mind next time. Either way, the buddy system works really well.
#2 DON'T STRESS OVER EVERY SINGLE ONE
If you're a small author, or even if you're just debuting and there's only ARC reviews, consider that there will come a time when reading every single review is an impossible task. I can manage to do it, but it's already getting to that point with almost 19 books out to be able to spot every single new review. Sometimes I'll come across them at a later date and it's a nice surprise for me. Other times they slip through the net because I don't have all the time in the world to dedicate to just reading my reviews, I need to be writing the next book and all of that.
#3 SET A LIMIT
This is linked to point two, and also something that stands on its own. If you know that reading reviews will have you going down a rabbit hole and losing hours, then set a limit, either a time limit, or a review limit and be strict with yourself. Don't just say oh one more won't be a bad thing, set a timer or have a friend remind you when it's time to stop. The last thing you want to do is lose hours going over things like that when again, there's little if anything, you can change about that particular book.
So those are my three tips when it comes to reading reviews. If it's something you want to do, go into it knowing the knock on effect it might have, and be sure to prepare yourself for the outcome. I highly recommend the buddy system!
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments down below!