My friends recently posted a piece on their site that got me thinking about the issue of whether to address bad reviews again. I use to work for a major industry publication that requires anonymous book reviews. But now that I do reviews where my name is attached, I have been thinking about this issue more. Awhile back, an article created waves in the book industry. There were subsequent articles written about this issue. Please read the response by the blog that Hale mentions and then a handy article with a breakdown of the Goodreads comments. These articles will give you a good background for today’s posting. I’ll wait.
I did read No One Else Can Have You before all this happened. Did it deserve a 1-star rating? In my opinion, not really. But it certainly did not break past a 3 star rating. But here is the thing: it is my opinion.
Do you remember your mother telling you not everyone is going to like you? It applies to books, too. Not every reader is going to love every book. But here is another thing: it is NOT personal.
As a professional reviewer and now as a blogger, I am not judging the author as a person. For all I know, that person could be as awesome as Ellen DeGeneres , but that does not mean your book is going to make me love it. I understand authors spend so long with their books and may have a hard time disconnecting that personal bond, but when you put something out, it stops being yours alone. A reader will have their own interpretations.
But you have put this book out there to be read and that means that those readers are going to build their own personal bonds with the story. And if they don’t like it, that is their right. And whether that review is written by leading industry professionals, or the girl down the street, everyone has the right to their opinions.
One of the reasons the publication I worked for wanted the reviewers to remain anonymous is because they do not want reviewers to be hassled. If I give your book a bad review, then I should not have to worry you will call my work place up and bother me. The flip side is that I should not be rewarded for a glowing review.
So should you contact a reviewer? My rule of thumb is no. I know there are articles saying you should under the right circumstances. But believe me now, it is a murky area to tread, so just don’t do it.
And for heaven’s sake, please don’t stalk any reviewers.
There are 6 billion people in the world; not everyone is going to like your book. But the odds are that there is someone out there who will and by stalking the reviewers who don’t like your book, you risk losing the ones that do.