Book Reviews – An Author's Best Friend (Even when not-so-positive)

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Susan Violante Managing Editor
Susan Violante
Managing Editor

All authors worst nightmares are bad reviews. But should we really fear them? Granted, the best scenario would be for all writers to receive all five stars reviews, even for their first book. But realistically most of us need a few books under the belt to begin a profitable career, and still most of the money earned will likely come from speaking engagements and other types of events. Also, in the real world, not all our reading audience will love our book, and will let us know through their reviews, which they will probably post on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and social media outlets. I think I am breaking out in stress hives just by typing this! But before we all despair, we need to pause and think how we can take these awful reviews and make them work for us. Below are some ways book reviews can be used as tools to become better productive writers:

·         Listen to the Audience – Criticism is the best way to realize our weaknesses. Reviews many times can be considered just an opinion. But when a considerable percentage is having the same opinion, it becomes legit feedback. Ignoring it is not the wise thing to do if we want to succeed as authors. Instead, we need to use the feedback to find our weaknesses and correct them. We can then produce a better product, whether we decide to relaunch the current title or move on to the next one.

·         Listen to the Audience…yes, again! – The audience can tell us not just what is wrong with our writing, but also what they liked about our writing and our book. We should take these points not just to feed our ego, but to make notes and give readers more of what they like with the next book.

·         You guessed it. Listen to the Audience! Our audience’s feedback is not just about the book they are talking about. They can also tell the writer what the current trends are. This information can serve us well if we listen when planning our next book.

Finally, we should take book reviews as our own focus group that can give useful information for planning ahead, correcting weaknesses, and keep us connected with the market.

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