IY: Reading Reviews

So… given that ‘Silk Over Razor Blades’ will be out very soon I did a very stupid thing. Veeery stupid. 😦

I went onto Amazon and started reading the reviews of other books I’ve read recently. Books that I thought were pretty good. Some of them from authors under Angry Robot.


So many reviews. So many glowing comments. So many truly scathing comments. On one book, this chap wrote an essay on all the reasons why he hated the book. I’m not even kidding, were talking at least 1,200 words. In a review. On why he hated it!

little pink work reading a book; bookworm from OpenClipArtI’m sure I’ve said before that evoking a reaction, good or bad, is part of the game here, but who really has the time to write so much on something that they disliked that much? It doesn’t make sense. does it? Or am I missing something. I must be. Yeah, must be. Because how on earth can someone justify talking about something they hate unless it’s really moved them. And it must have moved them, right?

Anyway, it was scary.

And it’s scared me out of writing a book review. At least for now. I’ll get on with it eventually, but for now I think I’ll just leave those reports, glowing, scathing or otherwise, to the ‘professionals’.

But it does make me think. I’ll need reviews on ‘Silk Over Razor Blades’ to 1) give it credibility to potential readers, 2) bump the book up the listings and 3) let me know what readers actually think of it.

But how much of that should I take on board? Should any author take on board? How much of it is the bad cheese a reviewer ate the night before, or the chip on their shoulder because their local supermarket ran out of their favourite chocolate? Truth is you’re never going to know. There’s nothing you can do about it either. So you kinda just have to decide what you want to run with and what you don’t. And the only way to make that judgement call – if there is a ‘way’ – is to wing it.

So what am I saying here? Are reviews bad? Yes and no. Do I want them? Hell yes and god no. Is there anything I can do about it either way?


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About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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4 Responses to IY: Reading Reviews

  1. Reviews are one of the ways in which people who actually read your book can give feedback. Whether it’s positive or negative or a mixed bag, it can be a gold mine of information to use.

    You don’t have to sit back and take entirely negative reviews though. It is difficult for a book to please everyone. You can be diplomatic in your response to reviews – that is, acknowledge the feedback and respond to it without bending over backwards promising to come up with something that will work for everyone. Doing so may help you to accept the things you will see in a negative review.


    • I wonder about responding to reviews at all though. Many people (indies only) that I’ve reviewed here have taken the time to say thank you but that seems to fly in the face of all the advice I’ve been given. Then again, a grateful acknowledgement of one person’s opinion is a surefire way to open up dialogue. That’s the sort of one-to-one interaction that indie authors need to looking to provide to build their readership.

      I agree with the feedback though. It’s particularly important from an indie perspective because it’s that much easier for us to respond to the desires of our readership. And that’s important if we want folk to keep buying.


  2. I’m not a fan of reviews for the very reasons you have written here, but also because a lot are fabricated. I don’t know what the answer is for you really, clearly you have invested a lot of time on your novel, and hope to make some money from sales. This is understandable, but I know of authors who give their books away for a limited time for an honest review in exchange.
    However, this can also be tricky and scary too.

    Maybe ask around? See what others do and think about it, before putting anything into play. You will come to a decision 🙂 you are doing so well and remember, you’ll never please all of the people.


    • I’ve found that there are lots of different methods for dealing with reviews. The most common one seems to be learn what you can, be polite and don’t engage with the folk who write the bad reviews. Seems sensible to me. I used to think I liked hearing about the good AND the bad, but this recent journey into reviews has told me that’s not the case.

      Raven got a one-star review for her first release and giggle about it, but I’ve said before her erotica versus my fantasy is a whole different ball game, which is why we’re separated. She can brush off those one-stars (and a two-star for that matter) and just roll along. Me on the other hand… I’m reminding myself to focus on the people I can please. If the gents behind Unicorn Western and Fat Vampire are anything to go by, then the people I can please are the only ones I should be worried about.


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