Blogaversary Day 10: My First “Bad” Book Review by Karen Hooper+Giveaway!

June 14, 2014 Blogaversary, Giveaway, Interviews/ Guest Posts 13

It’s Boricuan Bookworm’s first year, and as part of the celebration, different authors will be stopping by to talk about different first experiences.

Today is the last day of our celebration, but we’ve not been short of insightful thoughts and stuff for your enjoyment. Last but not least, we have one of our very favorite authors and friend, Karen Hooper! She’ll be sharing with us today about her first “bad” book review, because want it or not, every author has to go through that some time in their career:

 

 My First “Bad” Book Review

Ahh, the power of firsts.

First love, first time riding a bike without training wheels, my first bad book review: they all ended with me in tears. Ha. Kidding. Sort of.

My first bad book review? Honestly, I can’t tell you who wrote it, or when, or even what it said. I’m thinking this must mean I wasn’t too hurt by it, because I DO remember (vividly) my first love and crashing my bike the first time I lost my training wheels.

A bad review is simply one person’s opinion. And here is a fact that is absolutely certain: no one will ever write a novel that EVERY one loves. People are just too different, and so are their tastes in everything from food to books.

As an author, I expect people to dislike my books. I write about fantasy, make believe creatures and super powers, ideas and universal concepts that many may not believe in or even like, so my stuff isn’t for everyone. But as long as there are readers out there who love my stories (*waves happily to those fabulous people*), the bad reviews don’t bother me.

Tangled Tides was my first published novel. When reviews started coming in for that book, the main thing some readers complained about was my usage of seagarettes and C-weed. Some thought the words were stupid, others childish, and some hated smoking so it turned them off. (I get it. I hate cigarettes too. Yuck.) Was there any point in explaining that those two items were a minor detail in the book, and that the seaweed they smoke is actually HEALTHY for them? No. I never argue with bad reviews. I shrug, accept that it wasn’t for that particular reader, and continue on with life and writing my next story.

Do I read all the bad reviews about my books? No. I wish I had that much free time, but lately, I barely have enough hours in the day to eat and sleep. Sadly, I rarely read any reviews—even the positive ones—unless they are posted within the first couple weeks of the book releasing. I read all reviews during that time to make sure the story doesn’t completely bomb (thankfully, so far, that hasn’t happened) and then I move onto my next project.

The upside to bad reviews? Some negative reviews provided constructive feedback that helped me improve my writing, or strengthened the next book in the series, and I’m grateful to those reviewers for taking the time to read and present what they didn’t like in a respectful and helpful way.

Whether a review is good or bad, we authors appreciate them immensely because they help readers decide what to read next. That’s what all this review business is about, isn’t it? The books? Because it should be. *coughs and shakes head at all the Goodreads fighting and drama*

By far, my favorite part about reviews is the amazing people I’ve met. All because they posted a review of my book, I said thanks, and a connection was made. I’m delighted to call several readers friends because of the relationships we formed while discussing books and such on blogs or Goodreads. (Like Jennifer and Marianne!) Those friendships are so dear to me, and well worth the occasional bad review from readers who don’t “get me” because I have connected with many who do. <3

Long live book reviews! (Good or bad.)

And Happy Blogaversary to two of my most favorite reviewers ever, Jennifer and Marianne! <3

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About Karen Hooper

Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years, and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She’s addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters.

Karen has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairy tales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.

Connect with Karen! 

Amazon / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Website

 

Giveaway!

There will be winner for this giveaway! Karen was very awesome, as always, in joining us for our celebration and has donated a signed copy of ANY of her books to one lucky winner.  To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below.

  • Open US ONLY
  • Duplicate Entries will be erased, , with the exception of sharing the giveaway (See details in the rafflecopter).
  • LYING on an entry will result in the discualification of the participant.
  • Must be 13 or older to Participate

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for Celebrating with us today! Come back tomorrow for more awesome Giveaways!

Check out previous Giveaways in this Blogaversary by clicking, here.

Marianne and Jennifer
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We're two Puertorican girls who want to share our love of reading with the world. We sometimes substitute words for GIFS and either rant or fangirl a lot in our reviews. Talk to us about anything! 🙂
  • LOL I wrote a bad review for an author who asked me to review her book and she got mad…I tried to be polite and defended myself by letting her read my policy. She wanted to me to change my review…Gosh! The nerve of that woman. HAHA

    Happy Blogaversary!

    • We know how that is! We once reviewed a book an author asked us to read and all, and we didn’t like it much. I think is was a three-star rating we gave. We explained what we liked and didn’t, and in all honesty three stars is good. We use the same rating system as Goodreads. But the author seemed to be mad we didn’t give five stars. Same with a local author, but that one was a once star. And we explained this and that and what needed a bit of checking to improve the story. But I prefer to slap with the truth instead of lying. And all authors should know that their book can’t please everyone. Take Shakespeare for example. I hate Romeo and Juliet, and yet that’s a classic romance story a lot of others like and dislike too. For the same reasons some times. But oh well, we just have to let those things roll down our backs, both from reviewers and authors alike. Thanks for commenting!

      • YIKES Chyna and Jennifer. I can’t believe authors out there would ask you to change a review. Eek! I’m not delusional. I know my books aren’t for everyone. I think every author needs to realize this fact. 😉

  • I love the mentally she takes to bad reviews, every author should go into this business with the same mentality. Sometimes authors are stuck in a bubble because their book is their baby. If they take the feedback reviewers give and work on it, then I’m sure the next project would be so much better for it! Thanks for sharing this lovely piece girls x

    • Thanks, Joy! I agree. I grew thick skin very quickly when one of my first critique partners told me she hated my lead male and would have thrown the book across the room and never picked it up again. lol.
      Because of her brutal honesty, and constructive feedback, he is now a much better man. 😉

  • Love you girls! Happy Blogaversary! <3

  • Negative comments are hard but there are always 10 positive people/responses for every bad experience. I try to use the negative comments to improve my blog or whatever I’m doing but I know that a lot of people (unfortunately) just like to use the internet to anonymously say hurtful things to people without dealing with the consequences.

  • Cali W.

    Happy Blogoversary!! I ignore negative comments lol! <3

  • I can only imagine how painful a negative review is to an author. I’m a musician, but singing a piece someone else has written is probably less personal than writing a book, no matter how much of myself I put into the performance. A book, or an original piece of artwork, is like a piece of the author or artist’s self. It can hurt a lot to have it picked apart.

    As a reviewer, I try not to be mean or nasty when I give a negative review. Instead, I try to be as objective and specific as I can. I also try not to attack the author personally, though I may criticize his/her work or lack of professionalism (poor research, or in a self-published book, poor copyediting/proofreading/formatting.) I’m there to review the work, not the individual.

    I think that’s where some reviewers go wrong, and it’s also where some authors get it wrong. Some reviewers attack the author rather than critiquing the work. Some (and I include some professional critics in this) think that they’re only doing their job if they write scathing reviews. They’re wrong. Positive or mixed reviews are every bit as helpful to readers. On the other hand, some authors take any criticism of the work very personally, and they feel hurt or get angry. Sometimes, I gather, some authors have lashed out in retaliation, or try to get the review to give the book more stars. And that’s wrong, too.

    As Karen says, not everyone is going to like the same things, so there are going to be people who don’t like a particular book. It doesn’t mean the book is bad (though there may be room for improvement.) And even a negative review doesn’t mean the book is doomed to have no readers. Readers are a smart and savvy bunch; frankly, most of us are likely to ignore a savage, attack-dog review if it isn’t specific about what the problems are. “I hated this book” is not likely to keep me from buying a book by an author I like. Nor is a five-star review going to make me buy it. Readers rarely make decisions based on a single review (unless it’s a very well-written review by a reviewer they trust.) Usually, our decisions are based on a combination of blurb, author name, reviews and word-of-mouth, and even cover.

    Karen, I think your attitude toward reviews is terrific! You recognize that there will be a few bad ones, but you focus on the good ones and on the good that reviews do overall. And it seems to me that most authors take that approach or something like it. Luckily, there are only a few Godzilla authors and reviewers out there. For the most part, the bookish world is populated by a lot of amazing people!

    • Thanks so much, Lark.
      I love your Godzilla term. That is what it feels like with some people. lol! But I agree that the majority of bookish people are amazing. <3

  • I wish more authors could think this way, that’s awesome. A review is just an opinion, and while it can sometimes get out of hand, at the end of the day, it’s not life altering. I do have to hand it to them though, it’s tough to read criticism, especially in a large scale like when you publish a book.

    • Alise, thanks for your comment. Yes, the mean negative reviews are like having someone tell you your child is ugly (or in my case, one of my beloved dogs. ;)) All you can do is shake it off and keep moving.

  • Emma

    I ignore them, or rebut them