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JaneCousins

Jane Cousins - AUTHOR

Author of the Southern Sanctuary Series / By The Numbers Series.

Am all about hot instant attraction, writing PNR/Mystery I think every story needs romance, humour and action.

 

Reviews - the good, the bad and the spiteful

I remember reading several years ago that a favourite author of mine never reads any reviews of her work. Frankly, at the time, that attitude shocked me.

Readers embark upon a journey with an author every time they crack open a book.
They enter the author's landscape, walk around their cities and meet their friends and enemies.
But a reader isn't a mirror, or a blank slate. They form opinions, invest in the characters and form attachments. Grow to love, to hate, get angry, laugh - an author, if they are doing their job right, will always evoke emotions.

And as soon as that occurs - well I'm afraid the gloves come off.

Once emotions are involved - then readers have the right to comment, to express their opinions, their hopes and wishes for the storyline and characters.

Some readers will express themselves with five stars and two words of thanks. Others will write two page essays on where the author is going wrong and why.

And in both cases the reader is very right to do so - but I still think it is very wrong of an author to dismiss all reviews completely out of hand.
If I'm inviting someone on a journey - then I should respect their thoughts and feelings. I don't have to necessarily agree with them though.

At the same time - an author can't afford to let anyone lead them too far off their own vision of how events and characters will unfold. If that happened then no beloved characters would ever die, no tragedy would occur, no worlds would be in peril, and no love triangles would ever be resolved for fear of upsetting one group over another.

So, sure authors must stay true to their own visions. And yes, it can be hard to remain detached sometimes as reviewers rip into your story that you have spent months or years slaving over. But at the same time, few journeys worth taking are taken alone.
As an author you want your readers to love your world and your characters so much they write five star reviews and purchase the rest of the books in the series.
It's naïve to believe that every reader will feel the same about a story. And if the general opinion is that an author is getting off track then surely it behoves the author to stop, take a deep breath and re-evaluate what they are writing.

Sometimes, as an author there is nothing you can do, some characters have to die, no matter how beloved or the story would never move on. Love triangles have to eventually be resolved, otherwise readers grow tired and the author runs out of steam in an attempt to keep the tension going.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion - good or bad. And like art, as long as people are reacting to your stories then as an author you are doing your job.

Of course not all reviews should be taken seriously - case in point. Author in a writer's group I know whose ex-wife has written the most scathing and spiteful personal attack on the author via a review on Amazon.
He's worried because he thinks it will affect his book sales, but no one reading the review would take it seriously, she never references the book or characters once. It is clearly a very personal rant and for once I can clearly and definitively say that the author should just ignore it.