Wednesday, July 2, 2014
IWSG--Encouragment via Reviews in Writing
It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means...IWSG time! Today, I'm talking about my thoughts on reviews and how they can encourage you, if done tactfully!
I know there are authors out there who have said they never Google themselves or read reviews about their newest book. I'm not sure I'd have that kind of self control, especially nowadays where most authors have numerous social media sites. You have to maintain them, so you will eventually come across a reader who tells you their thoughts on your work. So, unless you have the money and can hire someone to manage your website/blog/Facebook/Twitter etc accounts for you, you are bound to come across negative and, hopefully, positive reviews/comments.
I wrote FanFiction (Harry Potter) for two years or so. I read FF for longer and I saw some of the "flamers" and what they can write about a person's hard work. I could tell most of those "flamers" were just trying to get a reaction; probably bored teens or even adults who have nothing better to do than start an argument with someone they can't see. On the flip side, there are the gushing positive reviews. You can tell how excited they are to be reading something they connect with. They use numerous exclamation points, caps, or just tell you "I LOVE IT!!!!" Sometimes, you get some detailed feedback about specific scenes, characters or ideas that they liked. I've also seen this with reviews for published works on sites like Amazon, Goodreads and personal Blogs.
Personally, I like the positive feedback (who doesn't?) that comes with "why" they liked it. If they said YA Romance is their favorite genre and they identify with character "A"...why is that? If you loved a specific dialogue scene, "why" did it stick out to you? Negative feedback has it's uses, too. If more than a handful of readers tell you they think that <insert scene here> is "unreal" or "fell flat" it may just have done that, but getting a "why" is helpful. I find it encouraging to hear this kind of feedback as it helps me refine and chisel away at my story, trying to make it better and more appealing.
Knowing what works and what doesn't is encouraging in the long run. You will find that handful of people who just don't like what you wrote, but I chalk that up to the fact this story just isn't their cup of tea. If you can back up your positive and negative reviews with "why", it means alot more to the author than just "This was great" or "I couldn't get into it."
What kind of encouragement helps you as a writer? What do you think of some reviews that you have stumbled across?