One of the Facebook fiction writers groups that I'm a member of, posed the question, "Those of you who check frequently for new reviews wherever they may be posted, what is the reward in it? What's in it for you? If it causes anxiety or grief, or if it makes you soar with delight, feel giddy even, is the time invested fretting or delighting over reviews truly worth time spent away from more writing?"
That really got me thinking. Really. Thinking.
Because at the time this question was posted (I'm going to be painfully honest here) I was probably checking Amazon for reviews on my new release at the rate of several dozen times per day. Yes, per day. And thirty times (at least) sounds about right.
Sick. Wrong. Obsessive.
Yeah, all of those.
But the question, "What's in it for you?" stopped me in my tracks. Why am I doing this to myself? What exactly IS in it for me? I couldn't answer either of those questions with a decent enough response to make it justified. The only thing I could come up with is that I must like torturing myself. Because, really? What other reason could there be?
I took a gamble with this new book and knew before my publisher hit the PUBLISH button, that I was taking a risk. But I did it, hoping that more people would like the "twist" more than those who did not.
So, yeah. I waited for the reviews to come in and held my breath each time one did.
Were there good reviews? Yes. Were there bad reviews? Yep, there sure were.
I know the review process is not for me. I get that. As soon as the book leaves my hands, I'm done. My part is over. It's now in the readers hands, so then why in the world would I voluntarily choose to go looking numerous times a day for reviews? Why would I do that to myself? Again, I have no good answer to give.
My husband even asked me, "If you could go back to the book and rewrite it, would you?"
My answer is no. I wouldn't. It ended exactly the way I thought it should.
So then I go back to that original question that was posed in the fiction writer's group, "Why do you look at your reviews? What's the reward? What's in it for you?"
I realized, there really isn't all that much reward at all. I need a certain number of reviews to promote and market with certain companies, but beyond that, I'm not sure what is in it for me. I mean, a good review is always fantastic and it's great to feel validated, but it that really enough to keep me coming back? Should I be spending THAT much time on the hunt? Heck no!
And then, what about the bad reviews? What are those doing for me? I can tell you, they aren't doing anything FOR me and much as what they are doing TO me, and it ain't pretty.
As hard as it has been, after reading that post in the Facebook group, I decided to stop.
Yep, I've stopped.
I know of at least three reviews that have come in since deciding not to read them, and I haven't. I haven't read a word. I swear.
I can't change the reviews or anyone's minds, for that matter, so for my sanity and so that I can keep on track with my writing goals for this year, I HAD to stop.
And BOY does it feel good! I feel lighter.
Besides, I should be concentrating on writing my next book (which the deadline is quickly approaching). That is where my efforts should be focused.
And THAT was the point the above question was asking: "Is the time invested in looking at reviews worth taking time away from writing?"
No. That is one question I can answer with clarity.
No, it most definitely is not.
As writers, how often do you look at your reviews? Do you EVEN look? If so, what is the reward? Is there a reward that I'm somehow missing? How do you process your reviews?
Readers, when you leave a review, do you expect the author to read it? How much do you think an author should internalize the reviews? Do you think I'm being unfair by choosing not read them?
Leave a comment, I would really love to know your opinion. Thanks :)
1/15/2015 04:39:14 am
Nope. I don't expect the author to read them. Generally if I want an authors attention I find them on social media. I will say this though...this is why I hate reviewing books. I love authors and I want them to keep writing but its not fair to them or others reading the review if I am not totally honest in how I felt. So when I can't give a book a 5 star review I feel bad. And apparently the author feels bad and the whole thing just leaves everybody feeling crappy. BUT I don't think they should be internalized at all. Everyone is going to see something different in a book and the thing one person hates about it may be the thing another person loves. Like anything else in life you have to do it because you love it and then be happy that there were people out there who loved it as much as you do.
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