Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Author Mistake #1

I discovered a new blog review of Finding Angel today. It was written in honesty, with both positives and negatives. The reviewer backed up their opinion with specifics, so whether things were personal opinion/taste or not, they were not arbitrary.


Upon first read, the only words that stuck out were the not-so-positives. The logical side of me truly appreciated that. I don't give glowing reviews generally and don't expect them in return. But the new-author-with-great-hopes in me felt a little kick, and inadvertently kicked back. I left a comment on the reviewer's blog thanking them--sincerely--but when I reread my comment (after submitting it, of course, because I am a total dork sometimes) I realized there was an edge of snark in one sentence that was not intended.

I've seen authors completely blow their stack over a negative review. I hope I never go to that extreme. This review, while not glowing, was not negative. It was more "not the best book ever but pretty good"-ish. And there was a lot of positive in it that on first read sank into the shadows because we new authors tend to get our hopes up. We put so much of ourselves into our novels, and if something comes across as even remotely close to "meh" in a review it can feel like a whip sting.

Skin needs a little time to toughen. Next time, I will remember that fact. And will likely move on to New Author Mistake #2.


Keven Newsome said...

Yup. It's hard to do. As a reviewer post being published, I look back and twinge a little and how harsh I was to a few books. I could have stated my opinion without trying to tear them apart.

A couple months ago I found this "review" of Winter by a teen girl called "50 pages or bust," a thing she did for new books. She didn't even give me 10 pages before putting it down and declaring it dull and boring. I hope I was gracious in my comment, but I just told her that if she had given me the full 50 pages I'd probably won her over. I don't think she ever resonded.

Caprice Hokstad said...

Mistake number two is arguing with the reviewer when it really *IS* a bad review. I haven't seen it written anywhere, but my advise for that is to ignore it. It's not worth it to even say "thanks for an honest opinion". No matter *how* you word it, it will come off snarky and sarcastic, so you may as well just let it stand there without any rebuttal. Remember, the big authors don't go around looking up every discussion or review of their books so they can hop in and say thanks or whatever. You're under no obligation to do that either.

Step back. Take a breath. Go read all the GREAT reviews you already have and forget the one you didn't totally bombast with wowness. Everyone has different taste. It doesn't mean you're not a good writer. It means you can't please everyone.


Kat Heckenbach said...

Thanks, ya'll. I appreciate it. I know I don't have to go make comments on every review. There were several reasons, though, that I chose to do so, including the fact that I'm not a "big" author and the simple gesture of a review at all--good, bad, or somewhere in between--at this stage is something I value.

Anyway, I've made the comparison between publishing a book and having a baby in many ways. I can now add another one. Before we have kids, we watch other parents doing things that we tell ourselves we will never do, or do differently. And then we have a kid and before we know it, we *are* that parent. Same thing with being published...