Sunday, August 5, 2012
Okay, so I've discovered Goodreads. Not as a reader, which would be awesome, but as a writer, which is ... terrifying.
The psychology of the writer is weird -- well, mine is. We spend ages creating these words and people in this caffeine-and-sleep-deprivation-fuelled vacuum. Then we come out of our caves, blinking in the light, and tentatively show a few people: a beta reader, an editor, a publisher...
Then the WHOLE WORLD can read our book. And they do. And then they go on Goodreads and talk about it. And then they review it. And sometimes it's horrible.
You know the golden rule, right? DON'T RESPOND TO REVIEWS. Not even the good ones, seriously. And I'll tell you why: it's actually none of your business. I mean that. It's counter-intuitive, but it's true: what someone thinks about the book you wrote is none of your business. They bought the right to broadcast their opinion when they bought your book.
DON'T RESPOND TO REVIEWS.
If you respond to good reviews, you'll look like you're toadying. And, more importantly, you weren't invited to comment. If a reviewer is enough of a fan to email you, that's different. That's AWESOME when that happens, but it's in a different forum. Review sites are for readers, not writers.
And if you respond to bad reviews...oh god, just don't. Please, just don't. Because we've all seen how that works out. You will come across as crazy, egotistical, crazy, rude, and did I mention batshit crazy? And do you know who will remember just how crazy you are when your next book comes out? Those same reviewers on Goodreads. And they will not be rushing out to buy your new release, that's for sure.
Just remember: for every one star review you get, you will also get a five star. Your neurotic writer brain will fixate on the one star, of course: OMG, why doesn't someone I've never met IRL detest my story so much? WHYYYY????
Please note I said "detest my story". If that one star review actually attacks you personally -- and it happens -- then report it to a moderator. But DON'T RESPOND TO THE REVIEW.
If someone asks you a direct question about a plot point or a character's motivation, feel free to answer them. But if they say in their review that your plot was crap and your character's were all over the place, they're not talking to you. DON'T RESPOND TO THE REVIEW.
We clear on this?