I know I said I was going to blog for 30 days straight and I know I've missed a few days but let me be real with you for just a brief moment... Sis ain't got time for 30 days straight. LOL. I run a business, have a family, and just recently had a pipe burst and toss almost 5 gallons of water under my sink. A MESS! But I've decided that I would blog at least once a week until I've gotten back in a groove.
When this topic came up I was hesitant to share my thoughts on negative reviews or reviews in general simply because my opinion is probably unpopular. However, I'm all about transparency and the entire point of this blog is to share who I am beyond the books.
When I released my first book I was completely oblivious to how important reviews were. I was an avid reader, I mean staying up late at night like I didn't have a job to read, but it was never a requirement to leave a review. I didn't understand the importance. That changed when I myself became an author.
Let me first say that reviews are important for authors for reasons such as algorithms on Amazon. I know Amazon has rules that are beyond me on leaving reviews. But they are important to us because Amazon will include it in a series of emails. So when you see authors begging for reviews, this is why. 50 or more reviews, Amazon will add the author's books to emails and a promotion sequence. We need that type of eyes on our books. Simply because our reach can be limited with social media.
Now to my unpopular opinion: Reviews are not for the authors to read but for the next consumer.
Again this is my own opinion, not some written law or rule. I love reading my reviews simply because I want to know what my readers think and how they feel about my work but I don't read them and allow them to change how I feel about my work. Hence the reason I believe they aren't for me.
You see some reviewers aren't even sure how to leave a proper review. I have one person that reads all my books and dislikes them. I purposely feel that this particular reviewer is a secret fan. But I digress.
I push for reviews from my readers for my new readers, not to stroke my own ego. That is why my opinion is what it is. Those reviews aren't for me, they are for the next person deciding on given me and my work a chance. I think about big companies and I doubt there's someone sitting behind a screen biting their nails waiting on reviews. Don't get it twisted I care about what my readers think but I don't allow negative reviews to bring me down.
Now, do I take into consideration what my reviews say if they are constructive? Absolutely. The difference between me starting and the now is that my reviews don't bring my spirits down. They used to, I used to want to say screw it, I'm never writing again. But that was also at a point where I thought I wanted everyone to be my reader. I learned that everyone wasn't my reader. I learned how to get down to who I wanted reading my books. The people that read from me understand my vision. I don't have to twist, bend, or break who I am to get my readers to understand me. They just get me and those that don't, just aren't my readers at the moment. Every day authors evolve, with each release authors evolve. So while I didn't catch you this time I might on the next.
That's why the reviews are for others. I'm not naive to the fact that I can't reach everyone. I'm not naive to the fact that people will see my cover and read my synopsis and think yea this is the one and not like it. I get that. I get it all and if my readers get me, their reviews will show my vision and maybe those on the fence will understand and hit the link, or maybe they won't. It's always a toss-up.
Now how I react to bad reviews, I step aside from my emotions and allow people to have the one thing we all are entitled to.... an opinion. I chew on and wonder if I could've done something different. Then I move on and regroup if needed. I don't respond, I don't bash, I don't go sulk, I may complain for a brief second to my other author friends but the one thing I don't do is let it make me stop!
And trust me I've had some mean, nasty, and personal reviews that would make even the nicest person be ready for a little confrontation. Baby, take it on the chin and keep it pushing. So while I'm giving my unpopular opinion I'm also going to give a tip to those that are thinking about becoming an author.
Clarity is so important when it comes to being an author. Before you release a book you should take the time to figure out your why, your who, and the how. Figure and document why you want to do this and why this step means something to you. Your why will be your constant reminder of why you must keep pushing. You need a vision.
You should also know your who. Your target audience is important. Get down to the nitty-gritty of who you want reading your work. Demographics and Psychographics. You do not want everyone reading your work because it's not meant for everyone. Everyone won't understand your vision. That's on PERIOD!
The how is the understanding of what impact you want to make on your readers. Your genre, your flavor. Are you going to write about smooth book baes, are you going to write about self love? are you going to write about women overcoming abuse? That's your how, babe.
“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” – Frank A. Clark