Should Authors Read Their Own Reviews?
I was reading the blog of an author who had decided to never, ever look at reader reviews of her own books. She gave good reasons for her choice, and I admired her resolve. I also wondered how realistic it would be to never read your own reviews. It’s an issue each writer has to face.
How do we make the decision about whether to read our reviews or not? Maybe we should ask what we are looking for when we read our reviews. Validation? Constructive criticism? A simple acknowledgment that someone read our book?
Let’s face it, writers work alone and get precious little feedback on the results of their labor. Of course we want to see what people think of what we wrote! But we have to be ready to encounter opinions we don’t necessarily like.
Worse, we may end up facing not just opinions but unbelievable cruelty. These days, the Internet has become a place where people can lob the harshest insults in the most disgusting language and never have to face any consequences for their bullying. The trolls and the mean people have made it difficult for authors to feel safe reading their online reviews at sites like Amazon and Goodreads.
Another thing bothers me about reading reader reviews, and it’s basic human nature. People will tend to read their positive reviews and take them in stride, but one negative (or cruel) review can ruin the whole day or the whole week — even if there are 50 good reviews for every bad one! So if we are not going to allow ourselves to fully enjoy the positive things people say about our work, and we’re going to obsess about the negative things, does it make sense to read our reviews at all?
You tell me:
What are the pros and cons of reading your online reader reviews?
If you’re a published author, what is your experience and what is your policy on reading reviews?
People take positive reviews in stride, but a negative review can ruin the week. Click to Tweet.
If we read our reviews, we may face not just opinions but unbelievable cruelty. Click to Tweet.
What do you think — should authors read their own reader reviews? Click to Tweet.