Monday, December 10, 2012

Review Etiquette

This post is part rant, part mission statement, part motivational.

Obviously everyone’s experience is different, but based on mine I would not recommend NetGalley for indie authors. For one thing the listing fee costs a fortune: $480 for six months. For another, I've received an overwhelming number of unprofessional (ie: nasty ass) reviews. I'll get to that in a moment.

I want to start out with the positive and say I have met some truly classy, conscientious reviewers through NetGalley. Please note that I am not referring in the following to any of the numerous, fantastic bloggers out there who approach reading and reviewing with a joy de vivre that is in itself an art form. A book without reviews is like champagne without bubbles. 

You’re fabulous!

Unfortunately, for my title Entangled, I have attracted a great deal of nasties. I don’t normally dwell on negative reviews, but it’s hard when NetGalley sends them to me and I don’t know if they’re good or bad until I open the email. (Starting now I am no longer opening any email NetGalley sends me.)

Let me be clear. I do NOT expect my book to be a good fit for everyone. Hardly!

And I have no issue with honesty or constructive criticism.

I honestly love my 1-star Entangled review at Amazon. Check out the title of the review: “Sorry, not for me.” Great title for a 1-star review! I feel in no way under attack. I respect this reviewer even more for starting out this way: "I saw the reviews for this book and thought it would be good. And it probably is." Then it goes on to say why it didn't work for the reader. (Language. No problem. If you don't like the word "ass" you definitely shouldn't be reading my books.) It's simple. It's respectful. I dig it.

What makes my stomach turn is book bashers who take things to a personal level by attacking authors and their writing style.

I AM my writing style and the essence of that style is to bring laughter and entertainment to peoples’ lives.

One of the best pieces of critiquing advice I've learned from every writing workshop I’ve ever taken is this: Start out with something positive and end with something positive. Refer to the writer as “the author” when saying what you didn’t like so they don’t feel under personal attack by repeating their name as in this case: "Nikki Jefford writes horrendously." (Broke two rules right off the bat and ended with, "I wasn't willing to torture my brain cells by finishing this book.")

The worst reviews I see come from self-dubbed “aspiring authors” or as I think of them, know-it-all egomaniacs who think they’re an expert on the craft of writing. I can spot their reviews instantly because they talk about character development, pacing, and plot as though they were the next Ernest Hemingway.

It makes little sense to me when writers, or aspiring writers, bash other writers. Way to earn good karma points. What kind of reception do they honestly think they’re going to receive after ripping apart other authors?

At the end of the day I crave a bit of entertainment and laughter.

Maybe I like watching Buffy more than Masterpiece Theatre.

Maybe I want to read The Hunger Games rather than Crime and Punishment.

I don’t make a living writing. I don’t even make a profit. (Not yet.)

I write because it’s my passion, my joy, my life’s dream, and it is a true pleasure to entertain readers.

Love, kisses...and Buffy - Kicking butt. That's how I do things around here.

Nikki, out!

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