Friday, May 4, 2012

In Review

As much as our ego would love it, mom can't be the final word on reviews about our books. If that were the case, every book written would have five stars.
When we send our books out for reviews to newspapers, magazines and other media, or when readers leave comments in, Goodreads, B&NShelfari and other websites, we have to accept what they say about our cherished words -- the good, the bad, and the awful. While the raves of some reviewers are wonderful, the rants by others aren't so easy to accept.
I remember reading the book "Sports Illusion, Sports Reality: A Reporter's View of Sports, Journalism, and Society" by the late sportswriter Leonard Koppett about negative news, and his  position was that while athletic teams welcomed positive coverage by the media and cringed at those bad news stories, the worst thing would be no news at all. At least the negative, within reason, kept the team's name in the public eye. What they didn't want was for the media and the public to lose interest in what they were doing. They needed to be relevant, regardless of the headlines. They didn't want to disappear from the public's eye.
I believe authors should take a similar approach to their books. Most of us have received reviews that didn't sit well with us. It's almost to the point now that a three-star review (out of five) seems negative. But the point is that it is important to keep our name and titles relevant to the public. Some studies have shown, for the most part, that readers don't really recall a lukewarm or bad review but they do recall the title. Unless a book is totally trashed by multiple reviewers, the publicity generated from a review is important for the book's commercial success.
Reviews are truly subjective. Something you write may be adored by some reviewers while others may roll their eyes. And we know reviewers are like books -- some are good and some aren't so good. But I do applaud them because they are bibliophiles and bookworms, many of whom review for little or nothing other than being able to keep the book.
It's just sad that they don't have more of a mother's instinct!

Until the next time...

1 comment: