Negative Reviews Can Be Useful

As some of you know, “Turning Grace” is my first novel.

This book took me longer than it would have other authors for it’s length. Simply because I was a fickle writer and would only write when I felt like I was in the mood or inspired (I have since been working on changing that, writing every day or every other day).

Just like anyone else I’m sure, my novel is my baby. I was careful publishing it, learning many different things along the way. I had to republish a few times because of formatting and errors I didn’t catch before.

That whole process was somewhat stressful. But the nail-biting didn’t begin until I actually did publish. I was a wreck! Constantly thinking about what people would think, lying awake at night wondering what my first review was going to be like. I was sure it was going to be awful; -3 stars. I said out loud to my husband that whatever the review said, I wouldn’t get mad. I would just read it, respect it, and move on. However my inner thoughts were saying something along the lines of “It’s going to be bad, and I’m going to freak out and cry and forget about writing ever again!”

And then it came. My first review. 4 1/2 stars. Not bad at all. And the review was pleasant. Pretty positive except for one thing.

Then came the other reviews…5 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars. Okay, it wasn’t so bad. All pretty positive. But I noticed that they all (I don’t have THAT many reviews right now. Between UK and USA, I believe I have a total of 9) pretty much had the same semi-negative thing in common.

Here’s a little backstory if you haven’t read my novel yet:

The main character, Grace, has a love interest…

That’s all I can give you.

So the semi-negative thing in the reviews was that this “love” seemed too cliche. To my surprise, when I read this I wasn’t pissed off. As a matter of fact, I was humbled by the fact that the people that did leave a review were completely and totally honest.

I am currently writing the “Turning Grace” sequel. Because of the reviews, I have taken what was said into consideration. I really want to be able to please people who are waiting for Book #2. And because I had an open mind and tried to see it from the reader’s point of view, I have decided to take that feedback and run with it!

As it turns out, it has actually helped to bring some great new concepts and incites for the second book.

I have learned and am still learning quite a bit since I have published my first novel. Getting reviews is still nerve-racking. Every time I go into Amazon and I see there was a review added, I hold my breath until I am done reading.

But actually READING the reviews and hearing out what potential fans have to say has been helping me so far. So if you get a review that may seem to be negative, read it again. Understand where the reviewer is coming from. See if maybe you can put that feedback to good use. It might very well be a positive thing for your work.

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