I thought I’d said all I felt like saying on the subject of bad reviews a few months ago, but this topic is evergreen on writing Twitter. And I’ve seen one more aspect of it I felt needed to be addressed.
It’s the idea that writers can learn from bad book reviews. (This is apparently how some of the people who tag authors in bad book reviews justify it.)
OK, no. I have workshops and beta readers for that.
Besides, the few negative reviews I’ve allowed myself to read for Tidepool were all over the map in terms of what didn’t work for those reviewers. Let’s say one reviewer loved my characters but thought the story itself was dull and derivative. Let’s say another one loved the plot but disliked most of my characters. What am I meant to learn from that? The only lesson to take away is “You can’t please everyone.” And I already knew that.
I still stand by the Absolute Write Water Cooler attitude that reviews are for readers, not for writers. I don’t read them unless a reviewer draws my attention to theirs, but I appreciate that they exist. Even the bad ones. I’m with a small publisher; every review helps. (It’s indifference that really stings.)
That’s it. Really. Until the next time this topic comes up and I think of something else to say.