Monday, February 27, 2012

What's in a Review

As an author, reviews, opinions and constructive criticism are a crucial part of what we do. There is just no way around it, and we either work hard, getting all the comments, feedback and critique we can BEFORE we publish, or after. If we have hurried through the process it will show in the end result and comments. So please, do not take offense or be surprised by negative reviews…they serve an all important purpose; to make us better writers and to help us polish our work.

It does not help to write a false-positive review because we are afraid to hurt the author’s (and possibly a friend’s) feelings. In fact, we are not helping at all. If you choose to write alone, without feedback, then pay for a professional editing of the manuscript. This is something that should be done in any case, but especially if you were the only one to review the piece. Our mind gets to the point where it will add in missing words and skip over spelling mistakes…and if the misspelled word is still a word (like bend – end) the auto correct won’t pick it up either.

Join a critique group. Listen to their feedback. You do not have to make all suggested changes; it might help you solidify your point by adding back story to it, or might just let you know that you are on the right track. Regardless, you cannot and should not do without someone (and preferably up to ten people) giving you feedback. They are not in your head, they do not know what’s going on behind what you have written, and they will be able to notice missing links, characterization flaws, plot errors and such.

So, just as rejection letters are part of the job, so are negative reviews. Personally, I prefer to get my negative comments BEFORE I publish, so that I can make as many corrections and improvements as possible. However, if you have skipped these important steps, be forewarned…there’s just no escaping the red pen.

Oh, and if you are given a negative review…don’t take it out on the reviewer. Show some measure of maturity and dignity by choosing to learn from your mistakes.

Just as I was going to press the "Publish Post" button I came across this from a fellow author...

Elle LaPraim
This is me right now, in editing hell. I hate editing. The first two drafts are so painful, I would rather do just about anything else besides edit. BUT, doing the hard work is what separates the people who will be an author, from the people who just dream about it.


  1. Very well said. :) I enjoyed reading this post about reviews. And the editing hell? I'm there right now. :D But at the end of it all, it shows whether the story has been worked on or not. Go, edits, go!

    1. Since I have started reviewing books, I can honestly say the time spent on revising the manuscript before publication is the best gift you can give yorself, your book and its readers!