The ARC of my book will soon be in the hands of the reviewers and I’ve had what you might call an emotional week.  Beyond the initial manic laughter when I found out the ARC was ready, followed closely by a flood of happy tears when I saw the PDF file, I’ve cringed in self-doubt, cowered in fear, suffered more than one paralyzing panic attack, been overcome with hope that readers will like my book, and on the flip-side of that, dread that they’ll hate it.

As you can see, reviews have pretty much taken over my life at this point.  Added to that, I’m still following a couple of threads on Amazon about the DAM review debacle. and all this has me wondering how I’m going to handle it when I get that first negative review.  And believe me, I don’t kid myself that it won’t come, because I know it’s bound to…at some point. 

Heck, it even occurred to me that DAM and her vicious posse might come after me when my book is released and write scathing reviews wherever they find it.  Paranoid much?  Yep, I admit it, I told you it’s been an emotional week, and I willingly concede the fact that I am (a wee bit) paranoid when it comes to my writing.  I think it’s a direct result of being a baseball fan.  Paranoia and superstition are both delusions and walk hand-in-hand in my book.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself!

Anyway, a couple of days ago, when my emotions were on the down-swing and I was immersed in feelings of self-doubt, DW posted the following on the “Help!  My negative reviews are being deleted.” Amazon thread:

Authors really shouldn’t be afraid of the one-star ratings. Here is an excerpt from an Amazon review study:

“But the most telling variable is the one star rating. Professor Gronas found that books high on what he called the “controversiality index” are given almost as many one-star as five-star ratings, creating a horseshoe-shaped curve. As it turns out, these books also tend to have high sales.”

I have to tell you, the point of DW’s post sailed right over the top of my head like a high fastball hurled by a major league pitcher.  Perhaps, if I’d taken the time to think about it, I would’ve gotten it, but…well, self-absorption doesn’t lend itself to rational thought,  Then, yesterday afternoon, another post, this one by Tams, made me sit up and take notice and shook me right out of my self-pity mode:

Finally, the review is not for the author it is for the fellow reader! If an author deletes a review, no matter what the rating, they may have just lost a customer, because that review just may have been the one to convince someone else to give that book a try! — Tams

And everything finally clicked.  I’m telling you, it was one of those moments where I could almost see the light bulb hanging over my head, flickering weakly at first then exploding into brilliant, blinding light–or maybe that high fastball connected with my head this time, instead of passing harmlessly over it!

As a result, I realized bad reviews, no matter how much an author hates them, can be a good thing!  And maybe, just maybe, those are the ones an author should really listen to.  If someone doesn’t like your writing and offers a valid reason why they don’t, it’s just possible if you listen to them, you may learn something and become a better writer.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get bad reviews, but now, I think I’ll be able to deal with them in a rational, adult manner.  I will do my best to remember the words of wisdom from Tams and DW when that one-star review pops up on Amazon, and look at it in a positive light.  Most important, I’ll try to resist the lure of getting the review taken down, or if I learn how to do it, deleting it myself, because as Tams points out, that review could very well result in future sales.

And on Amazon, if I’m not mistaken, you have to purchase the book in order to review it.  So, bad review on Amazon means at least one sale…and the possibility of more in the future.  That equals hope to me!

 

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Bad reviews are better than no reviews, and that’s a fact. Good luck!

Thanks, kallioppe, (love your name!) for commenting and for the well-wishes!

Caitlyn

++ And on Amazon, if I’m not mistaken, you have to purchase the book in order to review it. ++

The rule is that you have to purchase SOMETHING from Amazon to be allowed to review. Once having made a purchase, you can then review anythibg you like.

Jeez, so much for that little fantasy! Oh well…here’s hoping kallioppe and all those people who say “even bad publicity is good publicity” are right!

Nice to *see* you on here, Peter, and thanks for the comment!

Caitlyn

I don’t know what you or your publisher are doing, but my advice is to look up similar books on Amazon, see who has reviewed those books and select reviewers who you think are likely to enjoy your book and give it a good review (though of course there are no guarantees). Offer any available review copies to those reviewers, if they are accessible. Click on their name. If there’s a “Send e-mail to this person” near the top right, use that. If not, they may mention their e-mail address in their profile details in the left margin, or they may have a web page link that you can follow.

Thanks, Peter! We’ve sent out copies of the ARC and PDF files to several romance reviewers and review sites who asked for them. As the release date gets nearer, I’m going to keep a closer eye on Amazon and may send out more–especially now that you’ve told me how to get in touch with them!

Caitlyn


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