So we thought writing a book was the hard part? Wait until it gets out there and the reviews start coming in. Or, actually, good luck getting it “out there” if you’re new to the game. Like me. Building a readership and getting reviews, as it turns out, especially for debut authors, is the next part of the job, and in many ways, is much harder than actually writing the book.
For one thing, the writing of the book comes to an end at some point. You’re done. It’s done. There’s no more.
Pimping the book comes afterward. The hustling, the carnival barking, the game show hosting. And it never, ever, ever ends.
I’ve described myself before as a book whore. But I don’t know if that’s quite accurate. The actual position is really this: Writing/Building a Following/Connecting with Readers/Stalking Bloggers for Reviews Whore. Is slut less offensive? I’ll dial it down. Mouthpiece. Spokeswoman.
I know one thing for sure: I can’t be called a “pro.” I applied for the job and was really only qualified for the first part. The writing part.
‘Cause after I had finished writing, while I was filling out applications for the job of potential author and was asked about myself and my “social media following”, I answered enthusiastically about my writing, my influences, my love/hate relationship with Los Angeles which was expounded on liberally in Day for Night, and then sort of slipped vaguely into [cough cough] for websites and [ahem—hack] for Twitter and sort of [mumble, mumble, ahem—I think I hear the doorbell; excuse me] for Facebook.
In the end, not everyone in the universe demands that one must be Steve Wozniak or Gia Milinovich before accepting a book for publication (although I’m sure they privately wish everyone was Steve Wozniak or Gia Milinovich, and I don’t blame them), and I count myself very lucky there.
The funny thing is, having finally jumped into all things electronically-oriented and feeling like I hadn’t gotten very far, I eventually experienced the same situation as almost everyone else, seasoned and unseasoned alike: the negative review!
There was an article in Book Daily by David T. Wolf about this matter. It was actually titled, “Should You Update Your Book in Response to Negative Reviews”?
Mr. Wolf’s situation was slightly different in that his novel Mindclone received many 4 and 5-star reviews, so the criticism revolved around that: “But what troubled me the most was this reviewer’s accusation that I had somehow cheated, gaming the system for those glowing reviews.”
Knowing this not to be the case, Mr. Wolf decided that he had to respond.
But first he made sure to check out this reader’s other reviews to ensure that he wasn’t simply a troll who was out to make people’s lives miserable.
That was smart and good advice for the rest of us. I’d like to think that I’d check if someone was a troll first, but maybe I wouldn’t have.
Turns out the reader wasn’t a troll, so Wolf crafted a careful response that involved thanking the reader for buying the book, for his comments, assuring him that he took all criticism seriously, and then explaining through math and logic the impossibility of his having “cheated”, garnering the reader’s apology and even resulting in his changing the review, on that issue at least.
As for other criticisms Mr. Wolf has received from readers in his sci-fi book group, he stated that he: “…took my notes, went home and revised the book to correct the flaws I felt needed correcting.”
In reading the responses to this article, it seemed that everyone pretty much agreed that they would do the same: a fault in facts or logic would cause them to update their work. And a lot of people needed to re-edit due to somewhat dire punctuation issues. One author said, yeah, a reader was annoyed that a donkey in one chapter had become a horse in the next, so the author immediately fixed it.
And I agree. I would do the same for black and white issues like that.
But as for my blogger’s concerns, a blogger whom I had sought out and requested a review from, steadfastly performing one of my duties as a struggling “Pro In Training”, I don’t think I would update the book.
My reason is this: their main concern addressed a fictional event which fictional characters were performing in an urban paranormal comedy rife with aliens and vampires: yes, it may have been in bad taste, the thing that happened, but I obviously was in no way suggesting to the world at large that this is the way that one must behave in real life and/or the necessary and appropriate actions one must take in this particular situation.
Therefore, the scene stays as-is, in all its rotting glory, and damn the torpedoes! I won’t go into specifics, because that’s probably tacky, so if anyone’s curious about it, they’ll have to go on Amazon and see it for themselves!
And kudos to Mr. Wolf, by the way, in his endeavors to give others feedback on their work, receive feedback on his, and generally do whatever it takes to be the best author he can be, considering the fact that he drives 50 miles one way, 100 round trip, to join the sci-fi group that he’s a member of!
It makes me feel a little bad complaining about having to become a Book Review-Seeking–let’s say plenipotentiary and class it up (I just found that word today)– relentlessly and shamelessly surfing the web within the comfort of my own home, wine or whisky close by (preferably whisky) nobody honking at me, no running low on gas right when the gas stations start to disappear.
And then after intellectualizing and brainstorming for several hours, Mr. Wolf motors 50 miles back, probably in the dead of night, with the wolves and the monsters and the minions crawling and howling on the horizon…
Yo, Wolf, way to represent. That’s dedication!
For the full article, go here: http://www.bookdaily.com/authorresource/blog/post/1902246