So you’re starting to get reviews on your book. EXCITING, right?! Did you know there are several kinds of reviewers out there and they will all have something different to say about your work? And did you know you’re perfectly welcome to take some kinds with a grain of salt?
Let’s talk about some of these reviewers and the kinds of reviews they leave. We’ll start with the most positive:
Let’s face it, a lot of moms just love everything their kids do. I realize some authors’ families don’t support them at all, but some have that mom who would cheer if they scribbled on a piece of paper. Gotta love moms!
Your Biggest Fan
This is the person who stalks your progress and is going to love and adore and scream and fangirl/boy about anything you release. Period.
If It Has Words, They Loved It
Omnivorous bookworms who read everything and find something to love about everything they read. Unendingly positive. Often found amongst extroverts.
Likes Most Things, Loves Just a Few
Often omnivorous and find most things they read enjoyable. Their personal rating system reserves 5 stars for the most SMASHINGLY amazing books. If this kind of reader gives you a 4-star review, realize they really enjoyed it. A 4-star from this kind of reviewer is nothing to be sneezed at!
Thought It Was Cool, But: Standards
If you write and/or market to Christians especially, you’ll run into reviewers who enjoyed your story, but found something not quite up to their content standards. A little too much violence. A little too much romance. A little too much language or almost-language. Where they draw the line will vary widely by the individual, but know that some reviews like this are pretty much inevitable. And that’s okay!
Wasn’t Their Cup of Tea
They normally only read romance and for some reason decided to try your epic fantasy. They weren’t a fan. Not because your book is bad, but just because they’re not a fan—of the genre. Good for them trying out a new genre, but take those reviews with a grain of salt. They’re not who you’re writing for.
Look at their other reviews. Seeing a lot of the same language “Failed to interest me,” “Wasn’t the greatest,” etc.? Some people are just generally hard to impress.
The Author Who Can’t Just Enjoy Stories Anymore
Sometimes it happens. Authors get so used to reading their own work critically and beta-reading to help fellow authors as they’re writing, they forget what it’s like to just enjoy a story without analyzing the daylights out of it. If their review has a lot of critiques of your mechanics, characterization, and general writing ability, you might be dealing with another author. Don’t be offended. Just wish peaceful and enjoyable reading to return to their lives. (And do consider that some of what they picked up on might be legitimate and worth double-checking.)
The Keyboard-Warrior Grammar Nazi
This person is THE authority on grammar, punctuation, and possibly even formatting. They might not even have a clue what the story was about, but boy do they know more than you about grammar. Also, they’ve possibly never written and published a book themselves.
2 Stars For Everything! (Except, like, one book.)
Short and not-so-sweet? 1 or 2 stars? Have a look at their other reviews. Yes, there are people whose reviews are ALWAYS that negative. It always amuses me when there’s that one book they gave 5 stars to. It’s usually something super random. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Disregard.
Closely related to Ms. 2-Stars above, except rather than just being impossible to please, The Troll has clearly malicious intent. Sometimes they’re on a random rampage, sometimes they disagree with you on some topic (religion, politics, etc), sometimes (sadly) they’re another author who never learned you can’t build yourself up by tearing others down. Never respond to trolls!
The good, the bad, the ugly. What’s your favorite, least favorite, or strangest review? Share in the comments!
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