Sunday, 24 September 2017

Advice For Authors: Coping With Negative Reviews

As an author, there is nothing worse than reading negative reviews of my work. It's bad enough knowing that someone hated my book enough to dedicate an entire post to it, let alone the fact that they took the time to search for gifs and then decided to post the review everywhere and now other people are liking that review. It's the kind of crushing, soul destroying feeling that makes me want to lock myself in a darkened room and never, ever come out, let alone write anything again. Well, I would, except for the fact that I can be a rather vengeful person in a lot of ways. I figure if anyone goes to that much trouble to write a negative review then they would probably enjoy the fact that they have just completely ruined a lifelong hobby for me and the best way to get revenge is to keep on writing seeing as they would probably hate that. Jokes aside, it is unpleasant being on the receiving end of a negative review. Over the years, I've found some different ways to cope with them, and thought that it might be helpful to share them here. So here are a few tips:

Don't read them

If you're really feeling the weight of negative reviews, then stop reading them. You're not obligated to read reviews of your work. If you really want to read reviews, then the time to do it is well after your book has been released and you're looking for feedback on how to improve your craft or to make your books more marketable. 

Don't take it personally

Very few reviews are written with the intention of hurting the author. A decent, honest review sticks to discussing the book. And if they say they don't like your book, that's very different from saying that they know you personally and don't like you.

That said, very occasionally, someone will write a review out of pure spite. The best thing to do in this situation is to ignore it. 

Don't contact the reviewer

Seriously. It doesn't matter how inaccurate their review is, the best thing you can do is ignore it. The reviewer is entitled to their opinion. Writing to them and pointing out everything that is wrong with their review isn't going to change their mind. If anything, it's only going to annoy them.

Don't fret about potential lost sales

A single review isn't going to garner enough interest from the entire reading public to ruin your book. Sure it looks a little shitty if the only review on amazon or goodreads is a one star, but who knows, the next reviwer could give it five stars. 

Understand that you cannot please everyone

It would be a boring world if we all liked the same books. Sometimes your book finds the wrong reader or reviewer. The people who don't like your book may not necessarily be the people that you are writing for. 

Realise that reviewing is a subjective business

If you don't believe me, visit Amazon or Goodreads and read through some of the one star reviews of Harry Potter. Actually, read through the one star review of any best selling novel, and you'll see that there are plenty of reviewers out there who didn't love it. In fact, just to prove how subjective reading is, here is a list of best selling novels that I can't stand:

  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloch 
  • Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  • No Greater Love by Danielle Steele
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James 

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you take your writing seriously. Listen to feedback, but don't allow a negative review to end your career.

Literary Quotes



"What is life but a series of inspired follies?"


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Review: The Fall by Tristan Bancks

What if you were a twelve year old boy, on crutches, staying an a small apartment with the father that you barely knew, and, in the middle of the night, you witnessed a murder? That's the premise of The Fall, a brilliant, suspense filled novel for middle-grade readers. Sam is a pretty smart and resourceful kid, but he is taken by surprise when he sees a body fall from the apartment above his. He knows that the body must have been pushed, but when it disappears and his dad, crime reporter Harry doesn't believe him and then goes missing, Sam finds himself without much evidence and no support to help him prove that there has been a crime. And someone may now be after him ...

I thought that the novel was cleverly written and had enough to keep readers of any age entertained. Sam, I think, is a great character for boys to identify with--he's smart and resourceful, but most important of all, he's human. It's mentioned that he's had issues with bullying at school, anger management and also some possible behavioural issues. He sometimes resents the long hours his single mum works, and feels rejected by his dad. 

Overall a great read. Recommended. 

PS Bancks is also the author of the brilliant middle-grade novel Two Wolves, which I reviewed on here a couple of years ago.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Monday, 18 September 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)



I snapped this chap on Pirie Street recently, just near theAdelaide City Council chambers. For some crazy reason, he reminds me a bit of the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Review: We Ate the Road Like Vultures by Lynnette Lounsbury

A little bit mad, a little bit frivolous, full of shit, irreverent and completely entertaining--that sums We Ate the Road Like Vultures the first adult novel by Australian author Lynnette Lousbury. In February 2001, sixteen year old Lulu runs away from her family's cattle farm in Australia. She travels to Mexico, where Jack Kerouac is alive and well, and enjoying a suitably fitting retirement. Joined by Christian backpacker Adolph, Lulu finds herself on a crazy and unpredictable series of adventures.

This one was a short, though entertaining read. I thought it was a fitting tribute to Kerouac and On the Road. It's the kind of read that is perfect for when you're in the mood for something different.

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Review: Billy and the Minpins by Roald Dahl

The prospect of a new Roald Dahl book is a very exciting thing. Billy and the Minpins is a re-imagining of The Minpins, one of Dahl's last stories, presented in an exciting new junior novel format and with new illustrations by Quentin Blake (who is, of course, the most famous and best remembered of all of the illustrators who worked with Dahl.) I do not remember The Minpins from my childhood at all--presumably the school library either didn't have a copy, or the book proved so popular that it was constantly checked out. Or maybe by the time it was published Australia I had reached that awful and foolish age where I believed that I was too old for certain things. Anyway, I was quite excited for the release of Billy and the Minpins, and happy bought a hardcover edition from Dymocks. I read the novel in the space of an hour, pausing constantly to enjoy the illustrations.

Billy is a small boy who lives on the edge of a very dangerous forest. He is warned by his mother not to go near the forest, due to all of the frightening, Dahlesque creatures that live there. He spends his time assuring his busy mother that he is being good, but one day curiosity gets the better of him and he travels to the forest ... where he meets a very dangerous creature indeed, along with the lovely Minpins. Together, Billy and the Minpins conspire to rid the forrest of the terrible Gruncher for good.

Overall this is a lovely  tale, fitting of its author. There is a lot of Dahl's humour, and the narrative is wonderfully, and beautifully, imaginative.

Recommended.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)



This city bank likes to keep their bank safe ... and sparkly! Love the lock!