Reading Your Own Press

The general consensus among writers (or, at least ones that I’ve heard talk about it) is that you shouldn’t read reviews of your work. This makes sense, arguably: good reviews can give you an inflated sense of self-worth, while bad reviews can damage your self-esteem for no good reason.

I spend waaay too much time stalking myself on this site.

I spend waaay too much time stalking myself on this site.

But of course I read them. I don’t honestly understand how it’s possible not to. I mean, I didn’t write my books to exist in a vacuum – I want them to be read, dammit! I breathlessly await the audience’s reaction. And why not? My books are as much for them as they are for me. It’s like giving somebody a present but never checking to see if they appreciated it. Who does that? Don’t you want to know? If I told you that just over there inside that room there were a bunch of people leaving anonymous notes about your work performance, wouldn’t you go take a look? They’re talking about you! Don’t you want to know?

If you answered “no” to that question, well, you’re a much stronger person than I. Or perhaps a sociopath.

Maybe both.

So, I’m going to read my reviews. I will do so until they get boring or repetitive or I have the lucky fate of having so damned many of them that I can’t keep up. How, though, to retain my sanity in the face of constant critique? The trick, I think, is to read your reviews with one thought firmly held in your head: This is just their opinion.

If they love the book, then great! But that doesn’t mean everybody will.

If they hate the book, booo! But that doesn’t mean everybody will.

If they call me names, I am rubber and they are glue (etc., etc.).

There will be unfair reviews (both good and bad) there will be fair, well-thought out reviews (both good and bad) and I must be okay with this. Now, I have had the lucky fortune of getting mostly good reviews for my stuff, so hooray for me! I am, of course, deeply appreciative to anyone who wrote a review (good or bad), because that helps other people find my books and confirms to me that, yes, people out there are reading and thinking about what I wrote. This all isn’t just some crazy dream.

So, I say go ahead and read your reviews! Just don’t listen to them. It’s one thing to read your own press, it’s quite another thing to believe it.

AND ONE MORE THING: Never, ever ever ever respond to reviews. Ever. Not good ones, not bad ones, not middle ones–NEVER. Under any circumstances whatsoever. Why? How about all of these reasons.

No Good Deed Updates!

So, more and more folks are bugging me about when the sequel to The Oldest Trick comes out. As my last editor just left Harper and I have a new one, the release date has been pushed back to June 21st where, hopefully, it will stay. I am still waiting for edit notes from my new editor and, once I get them, I’ll be turning them around fairly quickly (I hope). So, just a few months left to wait, I swear!

For now, you can pre-order the book on Amazon and, when it releases, an e-copy will find its way to your device promptly. Until then, I promise to be doing my best to get you the best damned Tyvian story there is. Thanks for all your support!


About aahabershaw

Writer, teacher, gaming enthusiast, and storyteller. I write stories, novels, and occasional rants.

Posted on February 17, 2016, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Martin L. Shoemaker

    If you believe the good reviews, you must believe the bad ones. And vice versa.

    Reading them is a valid choice, but never respond unless specifically invited to do so by the reviewer. Not even to thank them for their kind words. Many reviewers like to feel that they’re — well, if not anonymous, at least unnoticed. They like to have the freedom to express their opinions without worrying about someone judging them for it. If they discover that the author is actually reading their reviews, they can get edgy, Some will simply clam up, while others might turn antagonistic. If they address you in person, graciously thank them; but on Amazon, GoodReads, blogs, etc., strive to be invisible.

    • Oh, yes–of course you shouldn’t respond. You should never, ever, ever respond. I felt that was obvious. Is that not obvious?
      (looks at text)
      Okay–not obvious–let’s add a little addendum.

      • Martin L. Shoemaker

        It was implied, but sometimes people think “Oh, but I’m going to make a POSITIVE response, so it’s OK.” No, still not OK.

  2. It’s a challenging thing to read critical reviews of your own work, especially on the internet where reading the comments is always a bad idea. That said, there’s value in it–if they’re good ones, awesome! A pick-me-up! But there is value in the negative ones too, but yeah, you can’t take them personally. But if I notice a lot of people saying generally the same thing disappointed them, it’s something I take note of for the future.

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