Writers can have a pretty broad swath of feelings about the reviews that come in for our books. I belong to several different, very private, writer groups where we can unload how we really feel about these critiques that roll in for our work. And I have witnessed, on a regular basis, the toll the ever-dreaded one-star review can have on an author’s self-confidence.
Over the years, I myself have experienced both elation and despair over public opinions of my writing.
Yesterday, a writer friend posted a link to Lionel Shriver’s latest Times review of Private Means by Cree LeFavour. In it, she uses many words in order to yawn over this fiction debut. Which left many of my writer friends wondering, why? And to what end? After reading it, and wondering what could possibly motivate a person to write a review like this, and quite frankly, most of the “meh” reviews in general, this is my current takeaway.
I believe nearly all reviews, both professional and novice, tell you far more about the individual reviewer than they ever do about the book. It is a singular lens into that one individual’s psyche. The book is simply the filter.
It’s impossible to know what a reader is bringing to the equation. Their particular pet peeves, experiences, mood, current circumstances…triggers. And so, in the end, writers should worry most about what they think and feel about their own work. Once your book is already out in the world, resist the hot wind of others’ opinions–it is a danger that may blow you off your charted course.