There's the perfect recipe for a love hate situation if I've ever seen one.
Once authors have cracked the publishing egg, we long for them in the same breath that we dread them. Show me any story, and I'll show you good reviews, so-so ones, and yes, sometimes even bad ones. And the bad ones sting. There's no way around that.
But for the sake of your career, don't shoot the messenger. Set your emotions aside and exercise the common sense to lick your wounds in private--and never in a public forum.
Truth is, reviewers know other reviewers. They also forge relationships with the editors we submit our work to. After all, a good reviewer makes her reputation on being the first to review an upcoming novel. In order to do that, she needs to be on the editor's lists for advance review copies (ARCs). Reviewers and editors talk. A lot. Don't believe me? Keep your eyes open at the next big book conference you attend.
I received a so-so review on Wicked Temptation last week from a respected review site. On the same day, I recieved the coveted five star rating on the same story. Even reviewers have opinions. And if you pay close attention to the reviews, you might just find a way to improve your cradft.
And yes, reviewer opinions vary as wildly as their opinions on their mother's meat loaf.
I saw an author react badly to a poor review over the weekend. It completely changed my opinion of her as a human being. Will I buy her work in the future? No. Why support bad behavior? Contracts are hard to come by. I like to think they are issued to authors who conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.
No matter how talented an author is, some people aren't going to like her work. Some are going to hate it. But everyone who reads an author's public negative reaction to a bad review is going to remember her name--and not in a good way. Sure, your buddies will crowd around you, and tell you how wonderful you and your work are.
But those who don't know you, or your work? They won't.
Read my lips (keyboard?). They. Won't.
If you want your work reviewed in the future, don't shoot the messenger. Resist the urge to lash out at fellow authors you know are colleagues of your reviewer. It's a small publishing world out there. As a result, many writer blogs have authors AND reviewers on board. I know mine does. No, I don't control what our resident reviewer posts. Nor would I ever attempt to.
If you an author who is new to the review process, remind yourself before reading any review that the publishing world is smaller than most newcomers would believe. But also realize that the reviewer you piss off today may just be the one who makes enough buzz about your next book to push it onto the best seller list tomorrow. She may also be tight with the editor you just submitted your next project to.
Now there's a scary thought. And I'm pretty sure that all of us can agree that hearing our names attached to words like temperamental, vindictive and difficult is something we all want to avoid. So count to ten before spouting off in a public forum.
It may just save your career!
Monday, January 11, 2010