The Worst Review Ever
What a great idea! As my fellow Blue Rose Girls all know, bad reviews hurt. You know they shouldn't, that it's just one person's opinion, but whether it's an Amazon review or one in a review journal or magazine, it's hard not to take them personally and get upset. And it's nice to know that you're not alone in feeling that way.
Editorial Anonymous said in a recent post about bad reviews: "your editor sees a bad review and shrugs." I'll have to respectfully disagree. This editor for one takes bad reviews of the books she edits quite personally, although of course perhaps not to the same extent as the author would. Oh sure, I know the bad review isn't going to hurt the sales of the book--although it might if every single review is negative. But I certainly don't just shrug it off that easily. I get sad, and I get ANGRY. Because obviously the reviewer just didn't *get* the book. In fact, there are three reviews from a certain journal that I still seethe about when I think about them now, years later. I won't name names, though *cough-rhymes-with-circus-cough.*
Some of you might remember this post back in 2006, when Chowder by Peter Brown got a negative review from Kirkus the same week it received a starred review from Booklist. It helped to have the good and the bad together, rather than just a bad review and nothing to counter it. It's made it easier to remember that it's subjective and that not everyone can or will like your book.
I don't envy a reviewer's job, and I do appreciate the care with which most of them read and review books. The little plea I'll make is if you're writing a critical review, whether it be on your blog or for a publication, please don't be too personal, and please don't be cruel. For example, don't review a book like Tai reviewed Cher in Clueless:
Tai: Why should I listen to you, anyway? You're a virgin who can't drive.
Cher: That was way harsh, Tai.
Don't be way harsh! Anyway, try not to sweat the bad reviews. And I'll try to follow my own advice in the future. But here's to nothing but starred reviews in our future!