Sunday, August 31, 2014

Negative Reviews? Bring 'Em On!

Although I’ve learned many new things about writing since Mariachi Murder and Island Casualty have come out, one of the most interesting is the power of reviews—all reviews. Last spring I had a chance to hear Sara Wendell speak about blogging. She runs the blog http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/. She reviews steamy romance books most of the time, but she also gives talks to help writers. When she spoke to the Romance Writers, she explained something that hadn’t occurred to me. She impressed upon us that ANY REVIEW is useful. Sure, we like positive reviews. We want people to say that our material is wonderful and that they loved every word we wrote. But a whole bunch of tremendously good reviews doesn’t help readers. They need the nitty-gritty. They want to know the controversy. They want to know what’s wrong.


Sarah Wendell with books!


Sara went on to explain that people rely on reviews all the time. Why? Our lives are too complex. Need a new computer? Get on Tiger Direct and read about the ten you thought you were the most interested in. It’s the same for all products. We don’t have time to check everything out for ourselves. We need help. We need shortcuts. Reviews provide that. But if the only people who are reviewing your book say how wonderful it is without saying why, you won’t attract much attention.

What really sells books, Sara impressed upon us, are funny, negative reviews. In other words, let’s say someone reviews your mystery and claims, “Good story, but too much sex.” That’s a great review--especially if the next reader gets on there and says, “Hey, great story, not enough sex!” Readers love to see controversy—both in your novel and on the review page. If someone hates your book, they’re as likely to think, “Well, I might like it” as they are to think “Oh, goodness, I will never buy this book.”


Courtesy of Graur Codin Free Digital Photos . net




Reviews are tools, but people like to measure their own reactions against those tools. They’re not content to sit back and rely on the reviews necessarily. They want to find the source of the differences. They want to have their own chance to react either positively or negatively.


Above all, Sara says, you must learn to celebrate. If someone says something about you on the Internet, that’s GOOD. Even if it’s bad. And so, take heart, fellow writers. If someone complained about your book in a review, so be it. Publicity is publicity. Now, just so you all know, Island Casualty definitely has tooooo much sex…….. 




New novel has too much sex? You decide!

9 comments:

Billie Johnson said...

Very smart comments D.R!

Nancy LiPetri said...

Great, entertaining, encouraging post :) But too much sanity in it ;)

Helen Macie Osterman said...

I have heard that any review is good, even a negative one. Give the reader a chance to say, "I think I'll read that and see if I agree."

Joseph Chiba said...

D.R., those are some great things to keep in mind. As long as they're talking about us, it's good!

Carolyn Niethammer said...

In a book I wrote years ago on Native American women - their economic role, how they raised they children, how they mourned, role in warfare -- someone recently commented on Amazon, "she should be ashamed of herself." I've been struggling to figure out what this referred to and all I can think is that I mentioned that in some tribes transgendered persons were accepted.

Robert Richter said...

Interesting perspective on negative reviews. The author is always far more traumatized by a negative review than the average reader.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

We can also learn from negative comments and reviews. I know I have. Beryl

Sharon Ervin said...

Lots of blogs on here are worth reading. I learn something from every one, inspiring me to read more and to recommend them to friends. Thanks.

Sharon Arthur Moore said...

What a healthy perspective on reviews! Thanks for sharing, D.R. (And as an author of erotic romance under Angelica French) you can be sure I'm headed to Amazon for Island Casualty!