Bad reviews and bad reviewers.

There is an interesting discussion going on at DA (Dear Author) about the origins of romance reviewing on the ‘net, and it brought to mind all the kerfuffle over Michelle Buonfiglio’s apparent remarks that basically said (paraphrasing because I haven’t read the original remarks and shouldn’t really be commenting on them but it’s my blog and I can say what I want) that if you don’t have anything nice to say about romance novels, you should use your mouth for eating pie.

I couldn’t disagree more. You are entitled to call my work a big, steaming pile of dog-do if you want. It won’t hurt my feelings. Really.

Now… if you say that my characterization is weak, or that I have crafted a poorly constructed plotline, I’ll consider the source and decide if it has value, then I’ll feel a little bad about it if I respect your opinion… or not. And yes, I do occasionally feel bad if I respect the source and they don’t like my book, but I get over it quickly and move on. I’d still rather hear an honest opinion than a fake ‘You are sooooo good!’.

However, I am not going to use the negative review in my promotion. I will use the ‘nice girl’ review if it works for me. Or if I need a positive clip. Sometimes even good reviews don’t give you quotes to use.

My feeling is that if you are going to be in this (writing) or any subjective artsy business where you are being judged, you’d better grow alligator hide and be prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous reviews.

And to any fledgling writers out there… trust me, you will learn more from one honest nasty bitchy review than from a hundred arse-kissers. Should you believe everything they say? Nope. Not from anyone. Take what works and leave the rest behind, baby.

Edited to add… I went away and realized it may sound as if I think that all good reviews are ‘arse-kissers’ but that is not the case. I value every honest review and it’s easy to spot the honest ones. They will offer a balanced opinion; IOW, they will tell you what worked and didn’t, and why. That makes a good review!

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