I was introduced to this brilliant article by Xen McCade, The Author’s Guide to Author/Reviewer Interactions, a couple months back by a friend on Facebook. I laughed out loud. I nodded my head and shook it too. In short, it was a very enlightening article about writer/reader interaction. Bonus! It seems to be a living breathing document that going to be added to. Yay!
Anyway, I’ve decided to tell my own story. Coming from fanfic I thought my skin had thickened to that of a rhinoceros. Feedback from those particular readers can be brutal despite the fact that you’re spending all your free time writing for free. Shit, I was so very wrong.
When Blurred Lines was first published there were many, many positive reviews and quite a few negative ones as well. They tore me open. I cried. I raged and yep I even responded to some of them in an attempt to get the reader to try to see things my way.
Big fucking mistake.
A little while after that I then engaged a reviewer who kindly but bluntly told me that it wasn’t my place. THANK YOU CHERI. Well, I felt like a kid that had gotten her hand wacked, but still, she was right. What I did was an even bigger fucking mistake than I made before.
Now, let’s talk about Goodreads. LOL *crickets*. Writers have a love hate relationship with that website I’m sure. Some of my worst reviews are on there, gleefully. I complained about all this and was told to just get my ass off Goodreads. It wasn’t for writers anyway! It was a cliquish collaboration for readers only.
That was some of the best advice I ever got. Thanks TS.
I was also informed I shouldn’t respond to the positive reviews either! I mean really? I shouldn’t thank them for seeing my vision? For getting me?
The answer was no I shouldn’t have been doing that either. A writer friend educated me on that as well. Readers knowing that a writer is hovering can be off putting. So that could mean less reviews. The only thing I should respond to is direct emails, DM, and things of that nature.
WHaaaat? That’s all? Yeah, that’s best.
Addendum... I imagine it’s hard for some writers to temper their responses to positive reviews because it seems to be just good manners to dole out a thank you. I get it. I do but being able to separate yourself a little bit helps tremendously when you get those bad reviews. It dulls the pain.
I’m not done yet ya’ll. Most of you if not all of you know by now that Blurred Lines used to be a huge fanfic story. This was no secret. Not at all. However, because it was completely rewritten the fanfic story had to be taken off the Internet, copyright issues and all that. Makes sense right? Dude! I got a lot of hateful HATEFUL emails from fanfic readers accusing me of forcing them to buy books. I even had some post reviews thinking they were blasting me out of the water by telling everyone Blurred Lines/Crossing Lines was fanfic.
I’m sorry. I just had to respond to that bullshit. I was nice though! I really was. Honest. But that was then and this is now. What this boils down to is this… Reviews, when I read them, don’t bother me near as much as they used to. Some make me laugh. Some make me smile. Some make me furrow my brow and others make me roll my eyes.
I am a better writer for it. Simply because I stay true to myself with every line I write.
I do it my way and I will continue to do so. Once that proof is done. Once its officially published. It’s all up to the reader to love it, hate it or find it divisive.
I’m good with either viewpoints or all three.