As an author, you would like to believe that the worlds and situations you have crafted have inspired or touched your readers. Yes, we long for validation. We’re the twirling ballerinas yelling “Look at me! Look at me!” But besides being shameful exhibitionists (and some of us waiting for the “Big Break”), most writers want to know that we did a good job with our stories.
In some ways, I don’t care if I’m liked or not. My first motivation for writing is to get my story out. My next is to write well. Once that’s completed, I can think about my readers. I’m honestly concerned about them. Did they laugh? Did they cry? Did they figure out the mystery? Did the characters seem real, as in multi-dimensional? Was the story believable? Were my readers entertained? Would they read more of my writing?
I used to write reviews, before I got caught up in my own writing. I might still if I’m really touched by a novel. I thought I wrote honest reviews, asking myself the very same questions I’ve listed above. The first rule of writing (or reading) a review is that it’s a subjective exercise. The reviewer’s opinion is not the end-all be-all. You shouldn’t base your art on what other people think. If you’re in the market to read, you shouldn’t be too swayed by the reviews of others. It’s nice to have a positive review or two (or three, like in the photo above for Virtually Yours), it’s better to have a constructive review, but there is a silver lining for bad reviews. Even bad publicity is publicity. Look at 50 Shades of Gray. It’s not my idea of a perfect read, but millions of people liked it. Even I bought the book, simply on the negative publicity.
If you’re a reader, you should provide feedback to the author. You don’t have to meet them and gush, or write them a letter and gush, although I’ve done both. Modern technology makes the ratings game so simple. I might not have the time to write a full review, but I do have time to rate books. (An aside: I used to only rate on sites like Amazon or Goodreads. I rarely read the actual comments, nor did I make any.) It takes less than a second to voice your opinion.
It takes the same amount of time to click one star as it does five. (I’m hungry. I’ll even take one star.)
It takes less than a second to like this blog post or to subscribe to it.
It takes less than a second to like my newly hatched Facebook page.
It takes less than a second to retweet an author post.
Even a brief nod is a nod.
Sharing the love: it’s what I do. Now go share the love with authors you know and admire.