I think that even if all my writing dreams come true, and I make enough money to live on, and can spend the rest of my life telling stories, I will never be able to completely ignore reviews.
I’m sure some authors do get to the point that they literally don’t care about them. Especially best-selling authors who no doubt consider commercial success to be the best review they could ever get. But I suspect that even most best-selling authors still feel the sting of a negative review, and still get a warm feeling from a good one, especially one which indicates a reader “got” them.
When I was writing “Warrior” for those long, lonely years between work, family, hobbies and reruns of Seinfeld, I really don’t remember thinking much about reviews. I just wanted to get the book written and, somehow, published.
Well, “somehow” turned into “self-published” and after seven years of labor, I finally hit the “submit” button and started my journey into the world of having my heart and soul exposed for the world to see and comment upon.
So far I have been relatively lucky in the review department. Both “Warrior” and “Warlock” have received well above average reviews on Amazon, and pretty good ratings on Goodreads as well. Although I still only have a handful of reviews on Amazon for Warlock, in spite of hundreds of sales since it launched.
But even positive reviews can sting when they target something for specific criticism.
I’ve noticed that my own reviews of other people’s artwork have changed since I’ve published two of my own books. I am far more careful now about what I say when I do a review, and try to provide a positive experience for the artist. Producing something out of your pure imagination and putting it out there for public view is a courageous and difficult thing. And I want to have my reviews reflect my recognition of that, even when I think there are things that can be improved.
If any of my readers who read this blog have not done a review for Warrior or Warlock, particularly on Amazon, I would at least like them to know how important it is to have those reviews. Reviews are the life-blood of marketing a book. Some people will refuse to read books with fewer than a certain number of reviews. Many, if not most, promotional services require a certain number of reviews before they will allow an author to even promote their book.
So if you read something, and especially if you like it, do the author or artist a favor and feed their talent with your own time. Give them a review.