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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why I Don't Read Reviews

I'm referring here to reviews of my own books. I'm also no longer saying "I won't read reviews," because I have read two of them despite all my good intentions.

I'd like to have three bullet-pointed reasons deftly arranged, but it boils down to this: reviews are for readers, not writers. The same way funerals are for survivors, not the deceased.

You have an opinion about my work, but I'm not entitled to know it, nor are you required to share it. If you like my book, great! Glad to hear it. If you don't like my book, great! Glad to hear it. I don't expect everyone to like my book. Oddly enough, I'm not that arrogant.

A review is given after the book is published. I can't make changes after that point. What you like remains the same; what you don't like remains the same. How can reading your praise or censure make one ounce of difference to me where this book is concerned? It can't. It can only make the difference to other readers who might like it or dislike it like you did.

I'm not saying don't review my book. Please, review away. Be honest. Tell what you liked and what you didn't. I'd ask you not to share spoilers, but, again, that's your choice. You don't need me to read your review to make it valid.

One might argue that a review will make my next book stronger. How, exactly? The next book won't be like this book. I've changed. The story has changed. The characters may have changed. Besides, I have crit-partners who regularly beat me upside the head for doing stupid, annoying things in my writing. I have a wide variety of test readers ready to berate me for being too predictable, too obscure or too wordy. I've encouraged them to be as honest as possible, and I listen when they speak.

So, I truly thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your reviews of my book. I'm gratified when you enjoy it, and I'm understanding when you don't. I hope your words make a difference to future readers or to readers who should not read my book because they would hate it like you did.

Your words are for them, not for me.

I respect that.

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