Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fessing up, part 2

Since no one is scheduled for today, I'll butt in and get this off my chest. A while ago I think I blogged here about reviews. As I remember, I was sort of cocky, saying how I read my reviews and sometimes learn from them.

Well, I've changed. I've now adopted JoAnn's policy of not reading reviews unless they come up and bite me in, you get the idea.

Why am I not reading reviews? Because suddenly they make me crazy. Not crazy mad. I fully understand that everyone is entitled to her opinion and that some people will not like my books. And I do think people are also free to share their opinion with the world. But I've also decided there's no requirement that I know that opinion. That, in this case, ignorance is bliss.

I mean, a book really isn't like a child. If one of my boys was tipping cows or drinking sarsaparilla out behind the pool hall, I'd want to know so I could do something about it. If the book's misbehaving...well...I guess it's more like my adult children. I've done my best. If they're going to cause trouble, there's not much I can do about it now.

Yes, this means I miss the good reviews, but so be it. If I need those quotes a few months from now, I'll go googling. By then I'll be well into writing the current story (I'd better be!) and hopefully more detached from the one already out in the world. But for now, I've sworn off the google function and I haven't visited that Amazon page in forever. It's really rather liberating.

Now excuse me while I liberate myself from the Internet entirely to get back to work on that work-in-progress.


Laura Drewry said...

(applauding wildly)

Good for you, Sally!

JoAnn Ross said...

Yay, Sally! Also, you know, you'll still see the good reviews because reviewers themselves tend to send them to you. As do agents and editors (especially if you tell them you don't read reviews.) And friends.

What I found the hardest thing about negative reviews was when someone was obviously reading too fast, and totally missed something, or posted something wrong about the plot, as some certain reviewers tend to do a lot. It's SO hard to sit on my hands and not type in a blazing response, "Like excuse me? Did you not notice the dozen times I mentioned. . . " Or I'll want to say, "You're wrong, you idiot! I researched this for months, and what, you watch CSI one time, which all of a sudden makes you a #&^*% expert?"

Not exactly a way to make friends with readers. LOL So, it's best just to stay out of the fray.

Adult children. What a great way to think of it! Good luck with that WIP!!!

Sally MacKenzie said...

LOL, Laura. What is amazing is that I've kept to my resolve for almost two months now. I don't deserve a big gold star, though--I subscribed to Publishers Marketplace. I track my books, so I get to see the Amazon and the numbers. But I track some other books, too, so it feels a little more like a science project and less like paranoia. Maybe.

Thanks, JoAnn--just following your advice. And really in this case, it was more it's not them, it's me. I just couldn't deal with even rational, understandable comments. Made me get all anxious and whiny--I was driving my agent crazy, I'm sure.

I also noticed a new feature of Amazon. You can now comment on people's reviews and get a dialogue started. So you COULD very easily point out a reviewer's mistakes. As you say, this seems like a Really Bad Idea to me. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my friends and one of them went over and posted a comment to a less than complimentary review. A very sane post, but still--I never want people to think I'm sending over reinforcements. And then I checked an Amazon page for a different author's book and she WAS indeed getting into via the comment section with a reviewer. Argh! And there seem to be some folks who are targeting a particular reviewer and commenting on her reviews, attacking the reviewer. Oy!!

No, no--too many snakes writhing on that floor for this old girl to dance around.

Samantha Hunter said...

Yep, this is the way to go. Actually, I have friends who read reviews send me positive ones, and you know, the longer you don't read them the easier it gets to forget about them altogether. Seriously. I only send out one or two books at most any more for reviews, and I'm wondering about doing even that. Really, if someone wants to review my book, I think they should either buy it or get it from the pub (since we don't get arcs in category).

Taking yourself out of it is generally the best policy, I think, too.