Reviews: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Hi folks, today is Friday and once again I want to introduce you to a great new author. Please meet Saralynn Hoyt. Here’s Saralynn’s take on reviews. enjoy!

Reviews: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Recently, I was featured in an article in the 12/10/12 issue of Time Magazine, entitled “The 99¢ Best Seller” where journalist Andrew Rice wrote about my self-publishing journey.
In the article, Andrew writes: Shortly after she [Sheryl] returned home from the conference, she was thrilled to find that her promotional efforts had borne fruit in the form of a four-star review for Dangerous Heart: “Could not put it down!”

I must admit, that review was like floating on a cloud. I knew in my heart how important it would be that my first review was a good one and it might see me through tougher times.
And I was right.
Got a not so great review the other day (no link provided LOL) and I went through what all artistic people go through when someone criticizes their creation (their baby). I went cold, then numb, and then got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Then the voices in my head started up: I’m a terrible writer, the reviewer hated me and my work, they think I stuck. I do suck at this, I give up…
Sound familiar?
Sometimes it’s a pretty deep and dark pit to climb out of and back to reality. We are, after all just human. Something that I know it must be hard for a reviewer to understand or think about when they are writing what feels to the author like cruel remarks.
The good news: it’s just their opinion. And there are plenty more out there. The better news, on closer examination, it wasn’t really that bad of a review. The reader actually had a lot of extremely nice and wonderful things to say about my book. Plus, if you look very close, sometimes it’s really about what isn’t said.
For instance, the reviewer could have said things about the quality of the writing, editing, poor plot and a hundred other things that are way more important in the grand scheme of a book. Instead, this reviewer simply did not like— not even a little bit— my heroine.
On reflection—and with the perspective of my fabulous critique partner—I was able to see that not all romance readers like the same type of heroine. I’m okay with that. On further reflection, I have to be.
So, how do you take your punches without getting beat up too badly? Here are some tips courtesy of me and Deborah Schneider (my fab friend).

1. It’s just their opinion.
2. Did they say anything nice? If so, focus on that.
3. What don’t they like? Is it important?
4. Is it something that is structural or subjective?
5. Has anyone ever said the opposite?
6. Is it an issue that perhaps strikes on a personal note?
7. Could you have struck a nerve ?
8. and it’s worth repeating that it’s just their opinion.
Number seven is pretty important, especially for me and the way I write. Deb says I write the hard issues. In Dangerous Heart my hero, Cord, is becoming an alcoholic. I would guess anyone who has similar issues will either love or hate him. 

In Heaven Made, Sabrina, my heroine, runs from a man who is showing signs of being a predator to her eight year old daughter. That would certainly distress some people. And in The Scoundrel and the Saint, my heroine was physically abused by her first husband. I can only imagine how her story might upset some readers and push some buttons.

So, do I stop writing the books that may or may not offend some people? Do I only write to the same formula that thousands of other authors write to? Or do I take this Indie publishing thing seriously and write from my heart and hope that some of the time a reader will love my books as much as I do. As long as I’m not getting reviews that say the quality of my product is poor, I will take my punches and get right back up and keep writing. And, of course, I’ll cherish the good ones for all time.

 A special shout out to The Book Maven for this wonderful review of Dangerous Heart. Thank you for noting that my Indie book looked just as good as a traditionally published book.
Bio: Sheryl Hoyt was born and lives in the Seattle, WA area. She resides in the beautiful Cascade foothills with her high school sweetheart and their cats. A business professional by day, Sheryl has been writing novels in her free time for over 20 years. A lover of all things historical, she enjoys research and travel in order to expand her knowledge and add authenticity to her stories.

Links to my stuff

Twitter  @saralynnhoyt
Dangerous Heart  on
Posted March 22, 2012
4 Stars: Very interesting story.. Could not put it down!
The Scoundrel and the Saint on
Posted May 11, 2012
5 Stars: Very romantic
Loved it! Loved it! Really feel like i knew the characters. Excellent writing! I want me a Brand! Must buy!
Dangerous Heart  on
Format:Kindle Edition
4 Stars: I really enjoyed how this book is not just your typical historical romance. The characters have problems and issues that are just as relevant today. I enjoyed going along on their adventures.

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