I have been a feature writer and columnist for my local newspaper, The Brunswick Citizen, for almost 14 years.
Before that, I was a columnist for The Mountain Xpress in Asheville, North Carolina, I have been a proofreader for The Loudoun Times Mirror in Leesburg, Virginia, I became a published author in 2004 and am now the author of nine books, four which have gone on to Best-Seller status.
My book WEEDMONKEY has been on the Amazon Best Seller list for months and I am listed in the Top 100 Best-Selling Authors on Amazon in Memoirs right up there with Chelsea Handler and Robert Wagner.
So, you would think I have zillions of reviews from people all over the world just loving my books. Right? Nope!
WEEDMONKEY has 60 reviews and they are not all favorable. When I first became a writer and my books were online I was obsessed with reading each and every review. I would get excited, anxious and take everything someone said to heart.
Now, I don’t even read them and God forbid, I never reply to them.
For WEEDMONKEY, I get reviews like…”The book was written with a voice of a child” or “The story was not believable” and “It sounded like the author grew up in the hills of Kentucky”
Let me address these:
1. My mother began writing this book when I was a child and on her deathbed in 2006, she asked me to complete it for her. My mother had an 8th grade education and wanted the book to be told through the eyes of the child Virgie Hopkins so yes, the book has the voice of a child.
2. Oh the story is true, trust me, and can be verified through other family members who endured life in the coal mining camps during the Depression. I think it’s hard though for many young readers to actually believe that life could be that hard for someone but it was.
3. Uh, well yeah, it takes place in the hills of Kentucky and the people there were back woods, uneducated and some were hillbillies who said things like “fer” and “ain’t”…that’s just how they talked and these are NOT typos!
When I read a bad or mixed review, it hurts but I realize that I have chosen this crazy career of being a writer and this how I make my living. So yeah, it’s personal.
It’s easy to read a negative review and feel like you are in the wrong profession, your writing sucks, no one likes you and you should never write again and on and on and on…
Although reviews are great and oh so needed for an author, they are simply someone’s opinion of your work and in no way a reflection of your talent. Don’t give up!
Writers, actors, and artists of all types must have a thick skin in order to survive this business so I say stay strong and carry on!
My advice for handling negative reviews:
1. NEVER reply to a negative review! Ever! As much as you want to defend your “baby” don’t do it! It will come back to haunt you in the end. The only time I ever responded to a review was only once when the reader asked me a question and I answered it in the reply.
2. Eh, brush it off! You know you are a good writer and if your book is on the Best-Seller List you are doing something right.
3. Don’t take it to heart. I am a Pisces and a very sensitive person and it’s easy for me to be hurt by someone’s comments, esp when it is about a book I wrote for my mother who passed away in 2006. Yeah, it hurts, it stings and it sucks but you cannot take it personally.
4. Simply don’t read them. Get in the habit of just scrolling past them and don’t read them.
5. Keep writing no matter what! All great authors, actors, musicians were turned down a zillion times before they made it and they kept at it. Examples: Stephen King, Elvis and The Beatles.
WEEDMONKEY is a labor of love for me and I hope I did my mother proud.
I had no editor (nor could I afford one) I don’t have an agent or a traditional publisher but hey, it’s out there and I am so proud of it and of its success.
But when it comes to reviews, although I appreciate them and am grateful for them, I simply don’t read them any more.
Do you read your reviews?
I hope you get a chance to check out WEEDMONKEY and all of my other books, and enjoy it as well!
As always, thanks so much for your continued love and support! 🙂