Do you regularly read reviews of your books? If you do, how do you deal with them? Do you respond to them, good or bad?
The advice I’ve always followed when it comes to book reviews is that you shouldn’t read your reviews regularly, and if you do ignore this advice, you should NEVER respond, good or bad. Recently, though, I feel like maybe that’s not the best advice. Sometimes you get an excellent review, but it’s not five-star, and you want to thank the reviewer for taking the time to break down what they liked and didn’t like. So, it’s a negative review, because you got 2 or 3 stars, but it’s good, because the reviewer included the good along with the bad, and you learned something.
I really want to thank the reviewer, but usually I don’t respond. I want to, but I’ve been told countless times that the best thing a writer can do is pretend reviews aren’t there. That feels wrong. Is that wrong? Right? I don’t know anymore.
Sometimes, I find reviews just make me neurotic. I start doubting myself (even if the reviews are good) and my ideas, and then it’s just a downward spiral. Generally, after the first few weeks following a book’s release, I try to ignore reviews, because I know I’m a lunatic. I’ll look every so often, because hey, it’s fun to see what people think (if they’re saying nice things), but I can become a little obsessive about it, so the best way to avoid my tendency over-analyze every single critique is to remain in the dark about what people are saying about this book or that.
Sometimes I get feeling a little… less than confident, and I know I shouldn’t do it, but I’ll tell myself I need a pick me up (or a reason to wallow in self-pity and misery), and then I scour the Internet and read every review for everything.
Don’t do that. It’s not helpful.
I’ve been all over the place on this, because I really don’t know the best way to deal with reviews. Maybe there’s a middle ground, you know? Like, it’s okay to respond if this, this, and this is true, but if this, that, and this have occurred, just shut your mouth and keep on walking. What is this and that? I don’t know that answer either.
I’m so helpful, eh? What do you guys think? Should we respond to at least the positive reviews? Or never respond at all? Should we just not look? How do we know if it sucks or is fantastic or none of the above?