From the time you had dreamt of writing a book, to finally writing it and getting it published, you have treated your book only with love. And of course, you’ve wanted that everyone does so.
But, when you are sending your baby out in the world, for readers to devour and enjoy it, be prepared that it will be dissected and torn apart as well. Figuratively, of course.
Dealing with authors and manuscripts day in and out, I wanted to understand how an author perceives book reviews. I spoke to Shuchi Singh Kalra, author of Done With Men and I am Big. So What!?, and she has a very clear take on this. “If someone offers genuine and constructive criticism, I definitely make a note of it but I don’t pay much heed to brickbats. Everyone has different tastes in reading and you really can’t please all, no matter how amazing a writer you are.”
Exactly, everyone has different tastes. Every one doesn’t need to like your book; in fact it is humanly impossible. There are people who don’t like Rowling’s works, you know? No kidding! While you cannot do much about the reviews which come from readers who have bought your books, you can try to use a little method while sending your own books out for reviews. Now this can be a little tricky, but if you are short listing reviewers to send your books to, do the following:
- Make a list of possible reviewers.
- Go through their blogs. This is important because there is no point in sending a chic-lit to someone who reads mythologies or thrillers only. Or, vice versa.
- Once you have shortlisted reviewers who read books of the genre your book belongs to, rate their blogs based on hits and digital media exposure. Don’t send your book to every reviewer. 10 well-written and genuine reviews are worth fifty casual reviews.
What happens when you select your reviewers wisely is that your book is going specifically to those who read the genre. In the market also, that is how books will be bought, mostly. Rarely would a historical fiction lover go buy a sci-fi unless there are rave reviews about it, right?
Remember that such reviewers will only be a handful. Most of the reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and Flipkart, as well as on blogs, are by readers who have bought your books. Appreciate their feedbacks; they pay for your words.
“I haven’t received too many stinkers for DWM but going by reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, there have been a few readers who didn’t dig it too much. And that doesn’t affect me one bit. As long as most people who read my book like it, I’ll continue to write the way I do,” added Kalra. This is yet another point an author must remember. There are bound to be people who don’t like what you write. You need to focus on their ratio to the readers who like your books. As long as most readers have loved what you have written, relax. Read the criticism and find out more about them. If someone has written a negative review out of spite or just for the sake of it, it will show anyway.
So, calm down. Take a deep breath. Your book is going to do great. Get ready to write an even better story!