Writers love reviews. We need them, and depend on them for our sales as well as for our mental health. I imagine that there are very few of us out there who don’t give a crap about the material that we are putting out. For the majority of us, our work is personal, and although it may be our career, the fact that people are actually enjoying our work means far more to us than is easily imagined.
Finishing my novel was deeply important to me. The accomplishment did a great deal for my sense of self worth and accomplishment. It took me three years of my life while in the midst of parenting a kindergartener and two first graders, and then later homeschooling the kiddos while I continued to put down as many words as I could each day. I didn’t exactly put blood and sweat and tears into that novel, but I did put in a hell of a lot.
I work really hard to leave reviews myself. I don’t put as much importance into reviewing novels that have an extensive readership, however, I have noticed certain books getting vastly inappropriate reviews from readers in the past, and made a point sharing a good long review and pointing out my confusion at the reaction of the other readers.
Unfortunately, the raw truth is that there are some seriously hard reviewers out there. It is a phenomenon that I do not completely understand, and it honestly makes me a little sad. These reviewers that I am referring to are obviously not writers, because if they had actually taken the time and effort to write an entire book, I cannot conceive of how they could possibly write the mean and angry words that they do.
I got my first really crappy review yesterday. Of course, I was expecting that this would happen eventually, but it hit me harder than I expected. The worst part was the fact that the reviewer had obviously not read much more than the first four chapters of the novel. If they had, then the fatal flaw that they so adamantly pointed out would have been answered. There was also the fact that this review came in two days after my novel started getting massive downloads. Now I have, on occasion, finished a four hundred-page novel in less than two days, but not very many times in my life, and certainly not any novels that I would give one measly star to in an online review. I mean come on, if you are going to review a book, don’t you at least owe it to the author to read the whole darn thing?
Bear with me, but I also have to go into the grammar call out here. Said terrible review also pointed out two typos (we are assuming in the supposed first four chapters here), of my novel. One, I have actually caught myself and agree with, the other, I have not noticed. I simply have to point out that I can find typos in any book, bestseller down to privately published. We all have them, we all abhor them, we do our very best to find and correct each and every damn one. I, quite frankly, find comfort when I happen to notice them because they remind me that all of us authors are human, and we make mistakes, even when we have publishers employing professional editors to go over our work. Us self-published writers, we do all of our editing on our own, and we beg help from our friends and family too. So yeah, the typo call out hurt.
This holiday season, or any time of the year, the greatest gift that you can give an author is a decent and honest review. It really helps if you actually read the book, and we truly don’t get much out of having grammatical errors pointed out to us. What we love, what we thrive on, is hearing how our work makes our readers feel, the emotions that our books evoke in our people, and if we actually happened to help add some joy or excitement to their lives for a few little moments. This is the stuff that we thrive on, and we are greatly appreciative for the readers who take the time to let us know.