Honest Book Reviews?

“If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’.”

David Mitchell, Black Swan Green

I’ve thought pretty long if I should write a post about this or not . . . but in the end the devil on my left shoulder won. Here it goes . .

As an author if you ask for an HONEST review, you have to expect honesty – that is, good and bad reviews – it comes with the territory.  If you want to live in your own little bubble and get only positive feedback then, maybe, just maybe, don’t check reviews . . . or have friends and family review instead.

As an author you have to understand praise and criticism come hand in hand. You’re not the first nor the last to get negative feedback – not everyone loved Jane Austen’s work, Charlotte Bronte, Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf being  some of her toughest critics, but does that make her legacy any less important?! No it doesn’t.  Not that I’m comparing myself with these incredible classics, let’s be honest, I’m a rotten apple and they’re the freshest, juiciest one you can get, but if you asked for an opinion, you got one. Does that make your writing any less important? No it doesn’t. 

This is what Mark Twain had to say about my all time favorite author:

“I could read [Poe’s] prose on salary, but not Jane’s. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.”

Does that make me hate Mr. Twain? Not at all. He was an author, but also a reader. He had opinions like every reader should. Mark Twain didn’t like Jane Austen, not every one does. Her fans, cause she still has them,  still read her books, still buy her works and still recommend her to others. One review doesn’t make or brake you, unless it’s on a bigger stage than Goodreads, don’t you think?  Trying to embarrass your critics for having an opinion just shows that maybe you don’t want honest feedback after all. 

One thing no author should do, in my humble opinion as a reader, is belittle the reviewer asked to give his/her opinions on your book. You asked for it, than take it with a grain of salt. Don’t read the review and right away go on social media and complain to your followers – it only makes you look classless and whinny. No reviewer will tell you how to write your book, but they might give you pointers about what they liked and didn’t enjoy – it’s what their purpose is after all, isn’t it? 

And I’ll end by saying that I never told an author ‘how to write’ that’s up to him/her to do – it’s his/her calling, but if you do want some advice, here it goes . . . 

‘Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.’
Truman Capote 


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