*Disclaimer: I realize there are inconsistencies in the formatting of this post. Please bear with me as I completely overhaul Finish That Novel! and eventually move it to its new home over the coming months!
Reviews of your book (if you’re lucky enough to get them) can offer a world of insight about you, your writing, and your audience. Unfortunately, the act of reading what people honestly think of your writing is so jarring that many writers can’t bring themselves to do it. That’s a serious shame. There’s a lot you can learn from reading the reviews people leave about your books, and if you want to catapult your career as a fiction author, you need to grow some thicker skin. Here’s what you have to learn:
1. Where You’re Struggling.
You’re not perfect. Let me say that again. You’re not perfect. Even the greatest bestselling authors out there leave some readers dissatisfied. You don’t need to appeal to everyone, but especially if you’re just starting out, you should take notes from what it is that people don’t like.
2. Where You’re Succeeding.
You want to see where you’re awesome, right? I mean, that’s the coolest part of this list. A big chunk of reading your reviews means that you get to listen in on total strangers saying that they loved your story and that your writing made some kind of (positive) difference. It’s encouraging. People aren’t faking it for you. You worked hard to earn any number of reviews, most likely, and you should take some time to breathe in and enjoy your rightfully earned praises.
3. Where You’re Really at
I know, I know. You’ve spent months, maybe years perfecting your literary offspring. You’ve taken it to editors, showcased it to your writer’s group, and read it over and over to yourself until you’ve memorized half of it word for word. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do more. It doesn’t mean you’ve peaked. If you want to know how you stand up against your competitors and peers, you need to read the reviews and see what people actually think.
4. How The Publishing World Works.
In the end, it’s all showbiz, right? If you want to write more books in the future, or if you want to get an objective snapshot of how official you are, you need to read your reviews. This is how you’ll really get a picture of what life is like as an author and the impact that your book can have on somebody else.
5. How to Grow Thicker Skin
Some reviews will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy after you finish reading them. Some will leave you in tears. Reading reviews is outside of almost everybody’s comfort zone, so don’t feel bad to admit you’re afraid to peer down into that void to seek what might be a horrible truth. But then you read them–and you learn–and suddenly it’s not that horrible anymore. And that’s one way you can really grow both as a writer and a person. Nothing bad is going to come out of the reading. You might get your feelings hurt, but that’s the worst, and that is one thing you can definitely put up with.
If you already have a book that is published or that you’ve published yourself, you’re already made the biggest leaps. You’ve tackled your hurdles and pressed on despite distractions and uncertainties. For that, I give you full kudos and congrats! Please take some time to read through those reviews if you haven’t already, and please post your thoughts on reading reviews in the comment section below!
*Breaking news flash! Finish That Novel! is currently undergoing major changes set to take place in the year 2020. Please stay tuned for further updates and be patient with all the coming inconsistencies. To keep up to date, please follow us on Facebook or join our newsletter.