Monday, January 5, 2015

GOT YA THE BAD REVIEW BLUES? 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T LET IT GET YOU DOWN


Congratulations to "Maureen C." and "Mary P.", the winners in M.J.'s giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

A half dozen years ago I sat down to write my first review for a friend of mine. She was a multi-published author, with several of the big houses, and I felt a little intimidated reviewing her work. But I liked the book, so I sat down to write the review. After staring at the blank screen for a while I decided to look at her other reviews. That way I would know how people generally organized them and it would give me a jumping off point. That was when I learned rule number one of reviewing.

1)      Hate-as Gonna Be Hate-as!

To my amazement, my friend had some unfavorable reviews on her book! I clicked to read through them and thought, “True, you could look at it that way. Maybe some things were a bit farfetched. Maybe the ending was a little trite.” But before reading the review, those thoughts hadn’t even crossed my mind. I suddenly realized that what my mom had told me when I was little, “You only get out of church what you put into it,” was true about reading, as well. If you go in looking for mistakes, testing the credibility of every plot point, etc, you will find something wrong. You just will. If that is the way you want to read books, if it gives you some sort of sense of accomplishment, then great. Personally I’m more than willing to let a good writer take me where they want to take me without asking a bunch of questions. We’re all different. Which leads me to my next point.

2)      As Ricky Nelson pointed out, you can’t please everyone, so sometimes you just have to please yourself.

You’re not writing the reviewer’s book, you are writing your book. Of course some people are not going to like, say, a vulnerable character. They, the reader, may be a strong person and “weak” people make them sick. It only stands to reason. But there are those who are going to love a sensitive hero or a heroine that sometimes needs a little help from her friends. That’s the beauty of this world, we’re all different, we all have unique takes on everything.

For instance, my husband, who is not much of a reader, cites THE GRAPES OF WRATH as his favorite book. I, myself, am not a fan of this book. I love A TALE OF TWO CITIES. The hubby? Not so much. I guess that’s why God gave us both Steinbeck and Dickens.

3)      Sometimes timing IS everything!

As part of a Romance Writers of America chapter that hosts a writing contest each year, I’ve been asked to judge entries before. I’ve found that after the first read through, it’s a good idea to set the pages aside and come back to them at a later date to reread them. I’ve often decided, “Hey. These really aren’t as bad as I thought they were.” Sometimes timing is everything. Maybe you just read a book with a similar premise that you just loved. Of course your entry is going to seem weak compared to it. But with a little time and distance, you may view it a little differently. Maybe your kids have really been getting on your nerves. Anything you read now is either going to be a). incredible, in comparison to your real life or,  b). sucky. Just like your real life. Maybe you hit this particular reviewer on an off day.

4)      Hey wait! There could be something useful for me in there!

This is probably the hardest, yet most important lesson to learn. If you hear a certain point, say, “I just can’t get into her characters,” in several reviews, maybe this is an opportunity for you to look at your work and see if there is something you could be doing better to reach your reader. If a review makes you better, it can’t be bad, can it?

5)      You’re in good company!

How would you feel if you got this review? This is “an average television soap opera where dysfunctional rich people do desperate and self-destructive things in the name of love one after another.” Ouch! This was written about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY (one of my favorite books!). In fact, Fitzgerald has 233 one-star reviews! 233! Yikes! So if over two hundred people can dislike Fitzgerald, it really is okay for one or two to not take to your masterpiece, right?

A bad review is going to sting at first. That just can’t be helped. But maybe looking at the points I’ve made here will help you to put that bad review in perspective. Remember, never leave others in charge of your own happiness. Reach for your dreams, and learn what you can along the way to make you an even better you!

Giveaway:
Thanks for reading! Please enter my giveaway. Two people will win an e-copy of my romantic suspense, THE HEART TEACHES BEST.


Now I’d like to tell you a bit about my latest sci-fi romance release, LEAP INTO THE KNIGHT.

Sir Darius Lee is a Knight of the High Order.

But when Darius discovers a stranger in his room in the middle of the night, and the intruder turns out to be a beautiful woman, he begins to question how he is meant to live his life.

Princess Megan of Bethyea is being held captive.

But when two knights help her to escape and bring her back to her home planet, she finds the home she knew no longer exists.

When The Council of Twelve questions Darius about his relationship with Maggie, she tries to flee from The Academy of the High Order to prevent him from losing his knighthood.

Will Darius and Orion find Maggie before she leaves Albion? And if they do, how can they face the decision of The Council? And what about the feelings Orion has developed for the princess?


Excerpt:
His training taught him how to enter the room without a sound, but the stranger seemed to detect his presence, darting to the left toward the door leading to the outer hallway. Darius took several steps before launching his six-foot-four-inch frame, timing his tackle perfectly. He wrapped his arms around the fleeing legs, bringing both parties down heavily. On contact the stranger’s helmet flew off and skittered across the dura-tile by the entryway. The guard twisted around to try to fight him off, while Darius sought to pin his shoulders to the ground. To his immense surprise he found himself staring into the face of a beautiful, terrified young woman. Long, wavy blonde hair fanned out on the floor as she struggled to free herself from his grasp. Their gaze locked and he drew his breath in a rush. Hers were the eyes of the hunted, wide and intensely blue-green. The oddest sensation came over him, as if, in that one look, an invisible hand reached into him and somehow tied him to this unknown woman. At the same time it was like the connection had been there all his life, an answer to a question he never knew to ask.
You can purchase LEAP INTO THE KNIGHT at:

BN:  

Author Bio
MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh! Can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a twenty-year-old (how did that happen?) and eighteen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

Find M.J. at
Website: www.mjschillerauthor.blogspot.com

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST January 6th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

32 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me on today! I enjoyed writing my post!

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  2. P.S. The post looks great! Thanks for making me look good. :)

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  3. I started to write some reviews last year... I am a bit timid about it... I am not very good with words, but I try to let others know what I thought of the books. I do not write negative reviews... the closest I ever did was by saying it was a bit short or could of had a little more to it... a few times I have written an author to mention a few little editing mistakes I found, but I would not criticize them in a review for something like that... for me it is the overall book and character's journey I look at... not little mistakes or facts that could be wrong.
    Thanks for sharing your post with us!

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    1. I agree with the way you handle things, Colleen. I don't want to go into a book looking for mistakes. To me, that's not fun. But if the mistakes are so blaring and distracting then I would probably not continue to read it, but I wouldn't review it. Thanks for stopping in!

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  4. Thanks for putting this tricky topic into perspective for us Mary!

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  5. Interesting post

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  6. I think reviews are as different as books themselves. Some seem to be well thought out and others seem like they could have been written about any book.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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    1. That's a good point. Sometimes I get a little "fangirl" with my reviews. It's kind of embarrassing. ;) Thanks for participating, Maureen. That's what makes it fun!

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  7. I appreciate your insight on reviewing. I post reviews for every book I read and try to say something positive each time. That actually isn't hard to do since every book has good parts to it. But sometimes I feel I just have to comment on something that drove me crazy in a book. If I do that, I always stress that it is just my opinion and another reader may not feel the same way.

    joanne.boykoATyahooDOTcom

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    1. That's a great way to handle it, and so true! Some people's sappy is other people's beautiful and some people's sexy is another person's trashy. It's all in the eye of the beholder, and that's what makes the world such a varied and interesting place. Thanks for joining the conversation, Jo-Anne!

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  8. Awesome excerpt! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on reviews. I'm a book blogger and it is interesting to see an author's perspective!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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    1. Why, thank you, Brooke! Rereading I hope I didn't come off too harsh in my first point. I truly understand how finding things in a book to debate can be interesting and worthwhile. I'm just one of those readers who really just wants to sit back and escape and not look for flaws, but I know there's nothing wrong with being a critical reader, too. Thanks for stopping by today, Brooke! I have an immense respect for book bloggers. They do such a great service for both readers and writers and get very little in return (just reading material--and putting together posts and reviews is a lot of work).

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  9. I always think that there are books out there for all to enjoy. Just not the same ones perhaps.

    A great post.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Yes. And that's the beauty of it, right? I've got my Dickens and my husband has his Steinbeck and we can all go to bed happy! :) Thank you for joining us, Mary!

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  10. Thanks for the very thoughful post MJ! I totally agree... it's so hard to review books, I leave it to the ones that can do it best :) I love my book blogs b/c they articulate what I can't. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the new release!
    efender1(at)gmail

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    1. Thanks, Erin! You seem pretty articulate, but perhaps what your passion doesn't lie in blogging. Again, that's why variety is great. There are those that excel at writing, those that excel at reviewing, and then there are the readers, who play the most important role of all! Thank you for being a reader and supporting bloggers, too! We couldn't do it without you.

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  11. So glad to "meet" you, M.J. on this blog! Romantic suspense is my fave reading genre. Just can't get enough of it, I guess I'm addicted to it. I like romances, and I like intrigue to go with it as I think the excitement in the romantic suspense stories comes from two directions..."more bang for the buck" as they say. :-) Thanks for posting on JRS so I could get introduced to your writing. And, BTW, I liked this article you wrote about negative reviews. It's a lot like I told my kids when they were growing up and from time to time would feel the effects of bullying at school or in the neighborhood. You just gotta stand your ground, keep on truckin', don't take it personal, and learn from it if you can. jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Janice- we sound like kindred sisters! I love the suspense part of the romance, too, because it just ups the ante and makes the romance all that much more explosive and wonderful! And you make a good point about this being an even broader lesson on how to handle adversity and rejection in general. Thanks for adding to the talk!

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  12. I loved Leap into the Knight and gave it a 5-star review! Thanks for helpful review tips. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Susan! So glad you enjoyed it! And thank you for joining us here today, too!

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  13. All good points, MJ. I tend to shrug off a bad review. I think the key is to have enough confidence in your writing that you don't let the negativity get to you!

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    1. Yes, but that's easier said than done sometimes, isn't it? Thanks for adding to the conversation!

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  14. You give a nice perspective of reviews. Great post!

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    1. Why, thank you. And I appreciate you stopping in today!

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  15. Thanks for the insightful post. I remember hearing that agents and editors read a submission looking for a reason to reject it. It's a shame to think some readers may have the same mindset.

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    1. It seems like you would miss out on so much of the magic that way. But obviously they enjoy doing it that way so maybe they think of it as a puzzle, what are ways this book might miss the mark. Interesting how there are so many different ways to look at things. Thank you for adding to our conversation, Marissa!

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  16. Fabulous post! So sorry I missed this yesterday. You make some excellent points. I don't mind bad reviews at all, because I KNOW that not everyone enjoys the same things, and that's perfectly fine with me. As you mentioned, the very best writers, my favorite writers, receive bad reviews, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me!

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  17. You're spot on about the reviews, MJ. Great way to look at them.

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  18. I'm 2 days late but I'm glad I stopped by. Your post is very relevant. Getting bad reviews sting. I try not to read them. LOL Writing a review is never easy for me. If others before me have written a mini-synopsis of the plot, I don't. I try to find something good to say. If I really didn't like the book, I follow the adage "if you can say anything good, don't say anything at all."

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