You can’t make everyone happy
I think one of the difficult parts of publishing is having these bits and pieces of your soul hung out for the capricious elements of opinion to batter or to be a balm.
An opinion is a highly subjective thing. When it comes to an opinion being attached to your works, it can be elevating or aggravating. I’ve been fortunate to receive decent to great reviews on my writing. I don’t check everyday, but I regularly tour the sites where I sell my stories just to see what readers are saying.
I was somewhat taken aback with a 2-star review that appeared – it was a shock to my system. After reading it, I realized that the review had nothing to do with my story. They actually liked the story, they were annoyed with the price.
Google has 5 tips for writing reviews (the original text was for reviewing businesses and shopping experiences, I have modified it to reflect book reviews):
- Be informative and insightful: Be specific and relevant to the published work you are reviewing. Highlight what makes the story special and be specific. Try to avoid spoilers.
- Keep it real: Be authentic. Review your own experience, and explain why you liked or disliked the place. Try to be as accurate as possible, and include both the positive and negative aspects of your reading experience.
- Be respectful: Not every reading experience is going to be perfect. Sometimes you’ll want to share negative feedback. Even if you’re frustrated, make sure your criticism is constructive.
- Reviews not General Commentary: A book review is not the place to vent about publishers, prices, or a personal issues with the author or another reviewer. Reviews are not meant for social or political commentary, there are forums specifically meant for those conversations. Write about your firsthand with the specific book.
- Write with style: People will pay attention when you write thoughtful reviews. Keep them readable and avoid excessive capitalization or punctuation. Use good grammar, check your spelling, and avoid profanity. Choose the right length – a paragraph is great. Be creative and have fun!
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing blog post The Rights of Feedback made several valid points:
- You (the author) have to understand that feedback is invaluable.
- Reviews are for the readers.
- Do your (the author’s) job – WRITE MORE.
I can’t please all of the people all of the time and that is okay. Just keep on writing.