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October 1, 2013

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along: Readers versus Writers


There has been so much discussion lately about readers trashing writers that I wanted to take today to jump in and say how much I appreciate my readers. Without you, I would still be writing, but there would be no one who relates to my point of view. No one who enjoyed my characters and my story. I need you.
Let’s face it, a writer can’t help but put a big chunk of herself in a novel. I have received some of the nicest reviews and yes, they affect me emotionally. I’ve had readers make me feel wonderful with tears of joy and occasionally comments that left me frustrated.

As a writer, I want to spend my time focusing on the next story, not on whether or not the book was formatted correctly or even whether or not all the commas are in the right spots. (I hate commas, I truly do.) I’m interested in getting the movie that is playing in my head down on the page. I pay people to format the book correctly, and I pay a free-lance editor to make certain all those pesky commas land in the right spot.
When Amazon sends me a notice saying someone said there is an error on page 1374, I take it seriously. I make the changes and upload the book again. But there is a small part of me that wonders…did you do this when it was a New York Publisher?
Another thing that frustrates me as a writer is when I receive a one rating because the book had sex in it. Really? You read the book to the end, but because the fictional characters had pre-marital sex you’re giving me a one. Do you know how that affects my rankings on Amazon? Did you realize that if my rankings become too low, I will be turned down by advertising companies? The algorhithms (the God in the machine at Amazon) will make my book harder for readers to find? That my sales will suffer?
When I receive a low review, I check to see what kind of reviews that person has given before. You’d be amazed how many negative reviews some people will give. It’s like they enjoy trashing romance and authors. There will be ten negative reviews and then one or two positive ones. It makes me wonder if they’re just not negative people. Personally, that’s when your review goes into the box labeled not worth remembering.
I’m not saying don’t give me an honest review. If you think the book was crap, then say so in a nice way.
Overall, I think 99% of my readers are wonderful and appreciate my characters and my writing. When I receive valid criticism, I try to apply those comments to my current writing so that I will change, grow and become even better. I want you to enjoy and anticipate the next Sylvia McDaniel book. I want to write great stories. But I’m human and there will be mistakes that at least six pairs of eyes missed.
Sometimes I think that because we only see text on a page, that it’s okay for us as readers and even writers, to leave horrible reviews. That’s not really a person there, that’s only text. Cyber bullying has taken the place of schoolyard bullying, and Goodreads and Amazon have become the new hangout where it’s a free for all. Tell that author she can’t string together two sentences and that she repeats herself over and over. Tell that reader she isn’t being fair and doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
As a human being who lives on this great planet, I want to say to people…try a little kindness. If we all were kinder to one another wouldn’t the world be a better place? Some people enjoy making people feel bad. As a reader, I’m sure you’ve had your feelings hurt before or someone has made you feel bad. As a writer, I’ve experienced those emotions as well. Lets all step back and remember that there are humans connected with these books who have feelings, emotions and dreams. Kindness will get you so much further in life.

Just for today go out and make another human being feel good. Even if you don’t like the book, leave an honest, nice review that could simply say, “This book was not my kind of romance.” We all have different tastes. A book I love, you could hate, but that doesn’t mean trash the author.

Again, I appreciate every one of my readers, even the ones that gave me a low score. You took the time to buy my book and leave me a review. Thank you and may you find an author who you love and can’t put their book down. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for, a good story?  

Now let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. So tell me how many good reviews do you leave compared to how many bad ones? 





Sylvia McDaniel has fourteen books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. She just hit number one in the historical and western categories on Amazon. The Christmas Bride will be out November 5. You can preorder this book at http://amzn.to/16TEYmP

15 comments:

vicki batman said...

Oh, Golly, Sylvia, this is a hot button. I want truth, but when someone dissed my work because there were no Batman stories--seriously? I got a one star review. I think it is removed now. And I've been on Author to Avoid List on Goodreads. Not so nice. Be honest!

chris keniston said...

my only challenge with reviewers is those who clearly don't like a genre and then review it negatively because it delivered on what those who like the genre expect- ie Romance promises a happy ever after - Regency historical promises british aristocrats- cozy mysteries promise no blood and guts- etc etc.

now on to more fun things- what a great cover - so fun for the holiday mood!!

Kathy Ivan said...

I think as authors we've all gotten those reviews that make us wonder if the person even read the same book you wrote. I try to always look at the negative reviews and see where I can improve my writing, just as you said, Sylvia, but I cannot let the negative review ruin all the very positive reviews that people who took the time to write, expressing how much they enjoyed my books.

People are entitled to their opinion, but remember with a review that is exactly what it is, an opinion.

Now, I'll head back to the computer humming Kumbaya and it's all your fault!

Sandy said...

Sylvia, it's a shame that so many people in our society are mean, and they think it's funny.

I gave a review for a friend, and I angst over it because it was a low score. I think it was 2, and I post it on Goodreads and Amazon. I was kind, but it was a low score. I wrote to her privately to explain why she got such a low score.

Sylvia said...

Oh Vicki!! I had forgotten about that little incident. I'm so sorry. No Batman...good grief.

Sylvia said...

Hi Chris,
I agree. Don't review romance if you don't like it. Thanks about the cover. I love it.

Sylvia said...

Ha! Kathy, I put that little comment in there to see if you would read to the end. Enjoy your afternoon of Kumbaya.

Sylvia said...

Sandy,
You were nice. You explained about the two. You gave a "nice" review. I love honesty, but I don't do well when someone is mean in that honest review. Give me your reasons and leave out the hate.

Melissa Keir said...

The cover is great and the information you are sharing is very important. Readers have valid opinions and I also value their thoughts about my books, but their comments have to reflect respect. That's where your kindness comes in.

Thanks for sharing... I'll sing with you!

Sylvia said...

Hi Melissa,
I 100% agree. Respect is what is lacking on both sides. And I'm so glad you're singing with me.

Elizabeth Essex said...

I'm a little torn on this topic, Sylvia. I should say up front that I don't read reviews unless they are from professional sources, or they send the review to me. I've been dissed and I've been panned and I've been given awards—all for the same book. There is simply no accounting for individual taste.

So I keep my head down and write the best books I can, and I stay away from the rankings and the reviews. I put my energy into controlling the important this I can control, and let go of the rest.

And if I get Kumbaya stuck in my brain today, I will curse your name to the stars! :)

Happy writing!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

A close friend is dealing with a mean review today, and it is marring her book launch. Sad because she is a fabulous author.

What astonishes me is that anyone has time in their life for negativity. How? Why?

I'm not talking about a constructive review. Sometimes that can be a wake-up call for an author. But it's when it is utter nonsense that doesn't even apply to the book that baffles me. What motivates that?

If I don't like a book I stop reading and I certainly don't spend time writing a review. I just don't buy that author's work again.

Why do some people bother with negativity? I shake my head and wonder.

Your new book looks wonderful!!!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

A close friend is dealing with a mean review today, and it is marring her book launch. Sad because she is a fabulous author.

What astonishes me is that anyone has time in their life for negativity. How? Why?

I'm not talking about a constructive review. Sometimes that can be a wake-up call for an author. But it's when it is utter nonsense that doesn't even apply to the book that baffles me. What motivates that?

If I don't like a book I stop reading and I certainly don't spend time writing a review. I just don't buy that author's work again.

Why do some people bother with negativity? I shake my head and wonder.

Your new book looks wonderful!!!

Sylvia said...

Hi Liz,
I love the way you work. Unfortunately since I'm self-published the rankings effect my sales, so I often times read the reviews. But I have sworn that I will not let them stop me from writing. Yet they can be hurtful, but so many make me feel good. Yes it is a matter of taste and my books are not for everyone. I'm a gentle soul who has a will of iron. I hope that you didn't have Kumbaya stuck in your head all day.

Sylvia said...

Hi Kat,
That was a vicious review. Wow! I have the book and I'm going to read it and leave her a review. But that was mean spirited. That's exactly the thing we don't need. If you don't like the book simply say so and move on. It's like Mean Girls have exploded onto the review scene.