|"The White Queen"|
As I continue with social network with other writers, the topic of negative reviews recurs, obviously because no writer likes a bad review. I won’t repeat myself with what I’ve written in past articles about the cyber-conflict between writers and reviewers, other than mutual respect should take precedence from either side.
But going back to negative reviews, why are they negative? I do like to download books sometimes that have been slammed on amazon to see if they are really so bad I cannot get past the third page. Usually what I find is the topic, or presentation of the topic, does not interest the reader. Controversial successful author John Locke made an excellent point in his “how-to” book for sales: "You are probably not a good writer, but you need to be an entertaining writer." (paraphrased)
A great example of negative reviews is the naughty book of today “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James, reportedly now the wealthiest writer in the world. I found the reviews more entertaining than the books. Some go on and on about how horrible the writing is, then give it five stars. “Entertainment” is what it’s all about. Others blasted it with one and two stars for reasons I agreed with, and I admit, romance/erotica is not my main interest in books. Therefore, I am not part of Ms. James’ audience (not that it made much difference, good for her).
Another example of a non-audience review is one of my first reviews of “Act of Redemption,” sent to a fundamental religious group as children’s reading by a publicist. (Yes, I paid for this publicist and was not happy). See review: http://www.shevata-cccole.blogspot.com/2011/08/one-of-my-first-reviews.html
To be fair, the review did not personally attack me, he did read the book, and clearly was a non-audience reviewer.
As new authors, how do we avoid non-audience or as above, potentially offended readers? Answer: We can’t avoid them all. The reviewers are right when they say (write) that we writers are opening up for a slamming when we put our work out there for the world to see. I’ve seen more than one broken hearted author dealing with a cluster of negative reviews following giveaway programs. But it’s not all bad; many writers have found great exposure and success through a giveaway route.
New authors keep writing awesome stories. Let the readers decide. Don’t let non-audience readers/reviewers shut you down. We’re not meant to be the same.