The Ups and Downs of Reviews

Recently my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, has been getting some reviews on popular book review site 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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