The Agony of Reviews!


The literary reviews I’ve written previously have been requested of me, and that, my friends, is quite different than writing an unsolicited review of someone else’s hard work on my own.
An author myself, I look for new reviews regularly. I beg for them. I chew on my nails in anticipation of getting one… And when I do, I analyze every word. Even a positive one can send me into fits, but a negative one can send me spinning. But, surely Nora Roberts wouldn’t lose any sleep over what I thought. Seriously? Who am I?
I can see it now. I publish a lackluster review online, and Nora Roberts promptly signs into her social media accounts, crying on the virtual shoulders of her author support group. “She just didn’t get what I was trying to impart. Should I respond? Should I explain that what she thinks was missing the editor had me remove? Does she even read that genre? How could she be so mean?”
And Nora’s friends sympathize, [nod], they’ve been there. “That BITCH!” “You’re a better writer than that.” “Don’t engage, Nora.” “You’re officially an author now!” “I loved your book, honey.”
Please realize that Nora Roberts FB author group consists of similarly talented and successful authors like Tami Hoag, Maya Banks, Julie Garwood, Debbie Macomber, Jasinda Wilder, and Linda Lael Miller.
Then Nora would get angry. “Yeah, screw Becky Flade!” [I would die a thousand deaths if Nora Roberts ever thought those words. Of course, being on her radar would be the ultimate feather in my cap.] She’d start calling me Princess Pinhead… and then the entire group would start calling me Princess Pinhead.
They’d avoid me on social media, not sending me their awesome books to read. It would get abbreviated to PP – which sounds way too much like going #1, which some smart-ass, probably from Philly, would run with, I’m sure. They’d reassure each other every time someone got a crap-ass review by posting funny/clever pictures online ridiculing Princess Pinhead.
It’s not worth it. I can’t take that kind of rejection over a silly, unsolicited personal review. Don’t hate me, Nora. I’m not a Pinhead. I love your books.
Clearly, I was having a bit of fun above, but it raises some legitimate concerns regarding reviews. First things first.
Books are like Hawaiian pizza: Not everyone is going to love it.
But, that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Art is subjective, and therefore, so are reviews. A negative review is not an attack on the book, its author, or its fans. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Read the entire article in the June 2023 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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