The Ups and Downs of Reviews

Recently my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, has been getting some reviews on popular book review site Goodreads.com. Some good reviews. And some not-so-good reviews.

There must be a certain routine to what an author goes through when they get a positive review:

Yeah, I’m totally awesome! This book is flawless! I should be writing another one right now! People love the book and by association, me!

And a middle-type review:

OK, so the book isn’t perfect, maybe there were some areas I could have tweaked but I didn’t know they were a problem until they were pointed out to me. But still, the person liked this book so yeah! I might write a few more novels in my time yet.

And negative reviews:

Oh my god. What a waste of paper. What a waste of time and what a waste of brain space. I should stick to short stories. Why did I ever want to make a living out of doing this? It’s complete rubbish. I’m never writing again.

Reviews are subjective. Every person has different tastes and expectations. There are so many parts to a book you can review: writing technique, themes, characters, dialogue, plot, beginning, middle, ending, and everything in between. Even books from the same author or the same series might not float your boat. For example, I absolutely loved Shiver by Maggie Steifvater, but I didn’t very much like its sequel, Linger.

Now, even though my reviews aren’t OMG FANGIRL type reviews (in fact, some they weren’t even five star reviews, which I respect a lot more than a five star reviewer who can’t explain why it’s worth 5 stars) they all reported an inability to put the book down (except for the negative reviewer).

My book has that unputdownable quality that all authors should strive for. And when I think about what other people have said in their reviews, I always come back to the same question: are there things I would change in this book?

The answer is always no.

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