In a recent interview with international bestselling author Anne Rice, Nola Cancel asked Ms. Rice about negative reviews and their impact on indie-authors.
Ms. Rice’s response…
Indie authors today need to be aware of what they’re facing. The internet has changed reviewing. A person ten years ago might have said, “I enjoyed the book, but not all that much. I don’t know why. But I’ll try the author again if he writes another. “Today that person goes on line and says, “I am giving this book one star because I feel plotting and characterization was poor, and I did not like the characters, I felt the heroine was a ‘Mary Sue’ and I can’t stand that kind of character, and there was too much description, and I found a typo on page 263 etc.” Does this help the author? Probably not at all. Does it help other customers? Very likely no, because for all its “details,” it’s entirely subjective and not particularly expressive of why the reader didn’t have a good time with the book. So indie authors have to keep a cool head with the new internet hobbyist criticism. Just realize that the book didn’t do what you wanted it to do for that reader, and move on.
This answer has given me an entirely new perspective on negative reviews. Any author who’s had one knows how frustrating (and disheartening) a negative review can be. We read the 1 and 2 star reviews and cringe, want to cry, and feel like the reviewer is attacking us personally.
But the truth is, reviews now-a-days are completely subjective. Most of the negative reviews I read online, when broken down to basics, simply say that the book wasn’t their taste. It makes perfect sense, especially when a certain book has an abundance of rave reviews amidst the few negative ones.
Just because I hated Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. The literary world says it’s a classic! But it simply wasn’t for me.
I’m going to remember this the next time I read or receive a bad review. Is the reviewer really saying the book is terrible, are they saying I have no talent, or are they simply stating that the book wasn’t for them?
I’ll also have to remember this the next time I review a book. I never really write negative reviews, but if I don’t like a particular book, I’ll make sure to ask myself why I didn’t like it, before throwing my subjective two cents out there.
One response to “Anne Rice’s View on Negative Reviews & What Writers Need to Consider.”
[…] professional literary critic, so these are all going to be as well thought out but still ultimately subjective reviews from a long time reader and current writer. Feel free to take them with a grain of salt. […]