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Sculpting David
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The Craft > Happy and confused on what to do next, your opinion?

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message 1: by Chadi (new) - added it

Chadi Nassar | 29 comments Hey there fellow authors!

So, I've gotten a pretty low review (2 stars) which I am very ok with. As much as I want everyone to love my book, some people just won't. Though, I have to say, I LOVED THE REVIEW!

I really liked it since the reader/reviewer actually felt something reading Sculpting David which was the main effect I wanted the story to have on readers. It had everything in it that I wanted a reader to feel about the book. She LOVED parts of it, she absolutely hated other parts and disagreed about how the characters handled certain situations. In brief, she felt something deep and the book really affected her. Some points were missed, or maybe I myself did not portray them well enough (although other readers got it) but in all, I want to thank the reviewer. Should I?

The reviewer goes on to say that although the rating was really low, she would still want to read more of my work.

Disclaimer: the book is not your everyday read. I understand that it is different especially as a reader. I know it is difficult to read at times, even for me the author. I don't want to go into spoiler, but the difficult parts were left in there for a reason (as most authors know)

If you may read the review on the goodreads book page and let me know your thoughts please? I really want to thank her for it and want to explain a few things but I know that replying to any "negative" reviews is not a good idea. Although she did give a 2 star review, I want to be clear that to me, it was far from a negative review. The book brought her emotions to the forefront. To me, that is everything!

Thank you in advance for any advice :)

Regards,
Chadi


message 2: by Steven (last edited Jan 31, 2017 06:14AM) (new)

Steven (goodreadscomstevenkerry) | 138 comments I assume you are sincere, but also be aware your inquiry may be misinterpreted as surreptitious or a literary version of "humble speak". It is possible some writers may think you are just trying to promote your book by getting them to read your review.

You are speaking about a single review here. I know it is hard to detach from reviews, especially if you are a new or relatively new writer. We all have that inner "Sally Fields at the Oscars" within us that wants to happily blurt out, "You like me! You really like me!". But the reality is, not all readers will connect with our books, and some may even be bluntly nasty in their critique, especially in this age in which everything from modern operas and books to can openers and nose hair trimmers are rated and reviewed. It goes with the turf if you are in it for the long run.

Reviewers don't expect or need authors to thank them or respond to their reviews. They write reviews for as many reasons as people read books or watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy. This puts you in the position of defending your book, or at the least, explaining it and trying to convince the reviewer she missed the point.

We may (or may not) learn something from reviews, but I would not give them undue power. Maybe she got a bad haircut the day she wrote the review, or her Starbucks latte spilled on her pantsuit.. Or maybe...
she writes reviews all the time because she will never write a book and knows that, so there is just a wee bit of the green "J" word at work.

We all love getting a good or great review, but we must reject the temptation to give reviews and reviewers more power than they have. There are many skills that go into writing books, but one that is overlooked or viewed with ambivalence is the skill of detachment, the ability to read a review and process it and learn from it ( if there is something to be learned, which frankly is not always the case). Then detach from undue emotional reactions and move on or your emotional vulnerability and need for approval could keep you from ever writing another book in your life. Be open and willing to learn what you can from them, but reviews are not the only source nor necessarily the best source to learn from.

My last bit of advice involves a bit of sneaky table-turning: review the reviewer's review (but I advise not investing a lot of time doing so). Was the review well thought out? Was it well written? Or was it someone coming to your book with a pre-existing expectation of what your book SHOULD be rather than what you wrote. We are writers, not monkeys with organ grinders on the street.

I asked my first publisher, who is also a writer, how to deal with a lousy review and here is what she said: "I write for myself. I don't even read my reviews most of the time." (She's lying, lol, but I get the drift.)

Our goal as writers should be to express ourselves as adeptly and powerfully as possible and give the reader as great a reading experience as we can, not nipping and tucking, driving ourselves mad and torturing ourselves as to how we can appeal to their every whim as if we are manufacturing products on an assembly line.

Ironically, it may be only when one detaches enough to say "Skrew reviews" (pardon the blunt language) that one is likely to get the best reviews of one's writing career, or, to quote the words of a recently ubiquitous Disney movie them:e:
Let it go


message 3: by Chadi (new) - added it

Chadi Nassar | 29 comments Thanks for the advice! I truly did like her review, she makes a point that she believes. I also like it because she did have feelings towards the characters!! That to me is the biggest win. 1 or 5 stars is all the same to me as long as the reader felt something which she did!
No, I'm not self promoting since I am a little confused but I agree with you that in the long run it is best to just not comment. Que Disney "Let it go"!
No publicity is bad publicity at the end of the day, right?


message 4: by Jan (new)

Jan Notzon | 215 comments Steven wrote: "I assume you are sincere, but also be aware your inquiry may be misinterpreted as surreptitious or a literary version of "humble speak". It is possible some writers may think you are just trying to..."

Wise words, Steven.


message 5: by P.G. (new)

P.G. Lengsfelder | 27 comments Chadi wrote: "Hey there fellow authors!

So, I've gotten a pretty low review (2 stars) which I am very ok with. As much as I want everyone to love my book, some people just won't. Though, I have to say, I LOVED ..."


Although I've been very lucky with reviews, I had one very bad review but--like you--I honor everyone's taste and appreciated her honest (and thoughtful) review. Not everyone is going to like our books, nor would I expect them to.

Every review, good or bad, will offer you insights into what works and what doesn't for a specific reader. Take BOTH the negatives and positives with a grain of salt and just love YOUR process.


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