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FAQ- Do you read reviews of your own books & how do they affect you?

I'm reminded by this question of actors being asked if they ever read their reviews. Some say never, others frequently and then there are others who have been and are deeply affected by their reviews to the extent where they have sadly taken their own life.

Imagine putting your total heart and soul into a performance, giving it your best shot, perfecting your craft night and day, rehearsing, thinking about it, reading up on the part, studying it meticulously, learning your lines only to find a film/theatre critic writes a cruel and scathing review of your performance. Many of those so called critics have never acted in their lives and yet they can destroy an actor’s confidence in a sentence or two. Actors have my great admiration for the knock backs they take throughout their tough careers.

So what has this to do with writers? Writing fiction comes not only from the mind but from the heart.You pour your soul into creating the characters and the plot. As a writer you try to do your best to get the research right and delve deeply into your protagonist and other characters motivations, and personality. There is hardly a moment when you are not thinking about your book, not to mention the hours spent bashing it out. None of this is a chore because if it were you wouldn’t be doing it.

I write because I love doing so and I love telling stories and creating what I hope are believable characters. I find people fascinating and hope to encompass some of our hopes, desires, dreams, and troubles into my fictional characters lives.

Knock backs are inevitable in all walks of life whether an actor, artist or writer and personal tastes differ, thank goodness. It would be a very dull life if we all liked the same. Art is subjective and fiction is art. Yes, you hope you have crafted your story well and the grammar and spelling etc. are correct. An excellent editor can help point out the plot holes and guide you if you have overwritten. He or she can correct grammar and punctuation and help you to polish your novel so that when it is published it is the best you can make it.


But the most nerve wracking part of writing are the reviews.


Good and glowing ones are great and a real motivator to continue writing. They give me a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I have given a reader pleasure, or have helped them escape from the troubles of the world and their lives for a while as they immerse themselves in one of my crime novels. But all writers get bad reviews. Some are motivated by jealously, as in the film critic who could no more act to save his/her life, they can be cutting and scathing and you have to learn to shrug them off and NEVER to respond. With social media so easily accessible and anonymous it is easy for someone to be vitriolic.

Some readers will find that my books are just not their cup of tea, and will say so which is absolutely fine by me. Other reviews can offer up genuine criticism that can make you think and perhaps improve.

I do read reviews of my books although I try to train myself not to but it’s one of those things where you say to yourself I’ll just have another peep then sometimes wish you hadn’t.And yes bad reviews do affect me, though I tell myself they shouldn’t, but as mentioned above good reviews also affect me and encourage me to continue writing.

The Portsmouth Murders by Pauline RowsonHere are some examples on Amazon of what I mean taken from the first in the DI Andy Horton Solent Murder Mystery Series newly re-released (originally published as Tide of Death)

⭐"If your going to place your book in a real place (Portsmouth) for goodness sake use the real names of places, in the city!”

There is obviously a reason I don’t always use the real names in all the places even though there is a disclaimer in the front of the book I could find myself in hot water. The spelling mistake is not mine.

Then to balance that here is a five star review:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐"A good story around Portsmouth and local area. A well woven plot with a number of twists and turns. A good start to a new series.”

Another example:

⭐ "I enjoyed the book but I did not liked The ending. I would have liked to know how he resolved the issue with wife.”

(Copied from Amazon as it is written)

And to balance that:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Liked the book. Want to know if he gets to see his daughter. Also. Does he get his wife back. I love this book and read it all in one day.”

How valuable is it to you when a reader posts a review?

Reviews on Amazon affect sales in that they also influence publishers to put more weight in terms of marketing and money behind you and the more reviews you get on Amazon, the more Amazon plug you for free! After all they’re in it to make money by increasing sales of popular books. It is highly unlikely that any author will consistently get five star reviews across all their titles. Mine usually average out about four and half or four stars. (The occasional one star review can pull the star rating down).

Some of my most rewarding reviews come from when someone messages me via my website to tell me how much they enjoy my crime novels and occasionally I receive a handwritten letter, which is lovely.

Reviews do count so if you have read any of my books do take time to leave a review even if it isn’t a glowing one, although I hope it will be a good one!!

DI Andy Horton - The Solent Murd Mysteries by Pauline Rowson


APRIL 11TH, 2022 @ 6:26:20 BST

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