Holly is also one of our newest mentors for First Five Pages Workshop, so you'll be seeing her a lot around here. Please make her welcome!
The Rules of Author Club: a WOW-Wednesday Post by Holly Bodger
The first rule in being an author is YOU DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS.
The second rule of being an author is YOU DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS.
Did you get that? Perhaps I should say it again. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, READ ANY REVIEWS OF YOUR BOOK NO MATTER HOW TEMPTED YOU ARE! No, it is not okay if you only read part of the review. No, it is not okay if you get your mom or your dog to read it. Seriously, the moment you get published, you need to forget that Goodreads and Amazon and Twitter and YouTube and pretty much the whole internet exists. Got it?
Okay, now that we have that clear, I’m going to answer the following question from the audience:
Do I read my reviews?
Of course I read my reviews! I just wrote a half-verse, near futuristic dystopian book set in a former part of India. Do I look like the kind of person who follows rules???
Seriously, I really really really try not to read my reviews. In fact, every morning, I follow these precise steps in order to ensure I don’t:
- Get out of bed. Have shower. Turn on laptop. Open Twitter. Check notifications. If there is a review link, click on it.
- Scan review. Close browser and promise self not to read any more reviews.
- Turn on kettle. Remove tea bags from pantry. Return to Twitter. Search for name mentions without @. Click on link to review.
- Scan to bottom to see if rating is scary. If not, read review. If so, read anyway.
- Close browser. Close Twitter. Pour water in mug.
- Open Goodreads. Check overall rating. Attempt to ascertain how number could have gone down by .01. DO NOT LOOK AT LATEST REVIEWS IN ORDER TO FIND OUT. READING REVIEWS ON GOODREADS IS ABOUT AS SMART AS CLOSING YOUR HAND IN A CAR DOOR. EVEN I KNOW THAT!
- Add honey to tea. Go to Google. Search for book name. Scan for new reviews. Click on link.
- Scan page for nice words in bold. If found, read review. Spend 5-7 minutes Googling name of reviewer. Considering nominating said reviewer for Nobel Peace Prize. Remember that Nobel committee blocked you after first 12 nominations. Close browser again.
- Remove tea bag from tea. Add milk. Text writing partner quotes from bad reviews. Be sure to add at least 4 exclamation marks.
- Eat cookie while waiting for response.
- Read return text from writing partner. Count number of exclamation marks after “YOU PROMISED NOT TO READ YOUR REVIEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (17, in case you’re wondering.)
- Promise writing partner that you will never ever ever read reviews again. Well, not today, at least.
- Eat another cookie. Or three.
The thing that people often forget about reviews is that they are a) personal, and b) personal. Just because one person does not like your book does not mean that another won’t love it. It does not mean you should stop writing. It does not mean that you are bound to never sell another book again. It simply means that you cannot please everyone. Also? You shouldn’t even try to.
So why do I find myself reading some of my reviews even though I know I should not? Well, in addition to the problem I have with rules, there’s also the fact that some of them say really nice things like BRILLIANT and BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN and WHY ISN’T THIS A MOVIE STARRING SOMEONE REALLY FAMOUS YET? And this is exactly what I need to hear when I’m feeling like this:
(Not an exact replica of my head. Or my laptop.)
Of course, searching for my good reviews means I am going to come across the bad ones, too. These ones may put mean words in bold like NO ROMANCE and MAKES NO SENSE and WHAT A WASTE OF PAPER! I ACTUALLY THREW IT AGAINST A WALL!!!!! (5 exclamation marks.)
But the real reason I read some of my reviews is because of the ones that offer constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is good. Constructive criticism helps writers improve their writing and I know I need to do that as much as anyone else. None of us are perfect and none of us are ever going to even approach perfection if we don’t continue to work harder and harder every single day.
And so, unless something changes, I am going to continue to pretend I don’t read my reviews. But only after I do this:
About the Book:
Sudasa Singh doesn’t want to be a wife and Kiran, a boy competing to be her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, each thwarts the other until they slowly realize that they might want the same thing.
Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads
About the Author:
5 TO 1 is Holly’s debut novel.
Website | Twitter | Goodreads
-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers