Oh my little poppets of prose, I’m so proud of how much you’ve learned sitting here at my feet. You know how to write a book, how to design a cover, how to bring it to people’s attention.
But we’re not done yet. Because if you do all I’ve taught you, then someone is going to review your book. It might be on Amazon, Goodreads, on a reviewing blog or in their yearly family Christmas email.
What you must remember, more than anything else, is that nobody and I do mean NOBODY understands your book as well as you do.
I’m going to lead by example here and show you a snippet of a review and subsequent conversation on one of my own books, THE COUNTRY CONTESSA.
The review stated: “Although certain aspects of the book were appealing, Ms. Green should do more research of time periods if she’s going to write historicals. At no time in Regency England did the ton engage in jello wrestling for eligible bachelors. Young women of gentle breeding did not greet each other by saying ‘Wassup bitches!’ and horses and phaetons did not stop at traffic signals in old London.”
Seriously. A reviewer wrote that.
If you ask some people, they’ll tell you that a writer should never ever ever respond to a review. But those people are readers. And you know that readers think they should be allowed to read a book however they want and the author shouldn’t be part of the equation. Like, seriously.
If it wasn’t for the author, there’d be no book. Duh!
So of course, it’s up to the author to help the reviewer understand the aspects of the book they obviously didn’t comprehend.
Which I did for the reviewer of THE COUNTRY CONTESSA.
Said I: “Although your review certainly understood the emotional points of my character’s journey, I was upset that you criticized the historical aspects of the story. Reviewers should understand that all books are a fantasy shared by the author with her readers and nobody expects accuracy in a romance novel.”
Said he: “Thank you for responding. I understand that romance is a fantasy for women as is obvious from the heroes with the 15 inch shlongs and the girlie understanding of the heroines many mood swings. However, a basic understanding of the time period is not too much to expect from an author as well. I would point out that having the Contessa running through a field wearing a Laker’s jersey might be something that would drop the reader from the story as they tried to shake the image loose in their beleaguered brains.”
Said I: “Look cretin, I stand by what I wrote. And my many fan girls are currently readying themselves to converge on this site and tell you what a tool you are. And who can prove they didn’t wear Laker’s jerseys in Victorian times? Huh? It’s not like you were there. So there!”
My point was made. And my seventeen sock puppet accounts that closed down that stupid site after 105 comments calling the reviewer a tool proved my point.
Not to mention, sales soared. I went from selling an average of three books a month to selling an entire twelve that month. Woo-hoo! Big time baby!
So don’t be afraid to engage readers and reviewers. Especially if you need to tell them what to think about what they read. After all, without your input, they might have their own mistaken opinions and we can’t have that.