If you have been writing for any notable amount of time, then you may have decided to ignore reviews of your books altogether, and for good reason. Even the best novelists make an effort to avoid book reviews. Why? Because some reviews are discouraging. The sad truth is, authors read not just opinions, but also insults. Even when you write a stellar piece of literature and even if you attract a flood of positive opinions and reviews about your work, you are bound to stumble upon a negative critic so discouraging that it might debilitate your ability to work in the long run. Book reviews are powerful weapons. Wielded by the public, sometimes these opinions can raise the esteem of authors while other times they can bring them down to the lowest depths.
WHY AUTHORS SHOULD READ BOOK REVIEWS
As an author, you are encouraged to read book reviews. While it might go against every instinct in your body, there is actually value in finding and reading book reviews. ChatEbooks lists down some reasons that might drive you to face your fear of reading reviews, even if they are negative:
Book reviews are a great source of encouragement for authors. If you’ve never published a book, then you probably can’t relate to the amount of pride a writer experiences every time they come across a reader singing the praises of their work. It’s this type of positive feedback that drives authors to keep writing. However, even when you stumble upon a negative review of your book you shouldn’t get to discouraged. Any review, positive or negative, is solid proof that someone not only read your book, but they were moved enough by its content to take out the time to write about it.
Book reviews are powerful learning tools. No two people ever read the same book. As such, book reviews provide authors insight into the unique perspectives of their readers. A book review gives an author the chance to scrutinize his novel from new and different angles – this is especially true for positive reviews. It is not unheard of for authors to receive considerable praise from fans for messages and ideas presented in their books that the authors themselves neither saw nor intended to present when they were writing it.
The average reader is the ultimate critic, providing authors the priceless opportunity to understand how their writing style and approach is perceived by others. They also provide authors opportunities to improve upon their craft.
Book reviews provide authors one of the most intimate opportunities they will ever get to engage with their readers. Many reviews may be written by dedicated readers who have come to care about your material regardless of the nature of their review. In this setting, as an author, you would be remiss not to utilize this opportunity to engage with them about a topic that both of you are passionate about. More importantly, responding to book reviews shows your audience that you actually care about their opinion – an endearing attribute.
Believe it or not, there is a lot of inspiration hiding in book reviews, especially for creative writers. Book reviews are generally written by avid readers who have a thirst for literature and considerable knowledge about specific genres. These reviewers not only tell authors their shortcomings but they make comparisons with other works. Feedback often includes suggestions about possible story plots and character developments as a means of expressing their unfulfilled expectations. One might be surprised by the number of gems hiding in book reviews. They can be a collection of ideas just waiting to be utilized by authors looking for new direction and unexpected concepts.
Book reviews are the perfect training tool to prepare authors for the harsh world awaiting them once they finally achieve fame. The simple fact is this: a lot of authors hide from book reviews because they are unwilling to contend with the criticisms leveled against projects they injected so much effort into writing. However, this is the same criticism they will have to encounter as their careers progress. This is not only true with social media, but also at press conferences, writing events and the like. Book reviews prepare authors to deal with the negativity that fame attracts. They provide writers the perfect chance to practice maneuvering unwanted opinions and less than appealing perspectives.
As a whole, it takes a strong stomach to read reviews of one’s own books. A word of caution – while there is value in reading book reviews, authors are only encouraged to do so if they believe they have the mental strength to deal with the negative perspectives they are bound to encounter.