Friday, April 13, 2012
Riding the review roller coaster
I hate roller coasters. I can't even stand near one without feeling anxious and frightened. The whole concept of a roller coaster confounds me. Why would I want to strap myself into a seat and then be propelled at high speeds as I loop, drop, and soar through the sky? I'm getting a nervous chill just writing about it!
Reading reviews of your own work is a lot like strapping yourself into one of those giant projectiles. The excitement builds as you see the number of reviews climb. The joy and adrenaline rush through you as you read the positive reviews. A smile spreads across your face when you see all the stars lighting up. Screams of pure elation escape! Giggles erupt! Your heart pounds!
After that exciting climb, you reach the peak and the ride pauses. As you sit on the top of that peak all you can think about is the plummet. You know that the floor is about to drop out from beneath you and the ground is soon going to be rushing towards you. It’s inevitable, you have to go. You can’t stay on the top of that mountain forever. So, you take a deep breath and start to fall. The air gushes out of you and the elation you felt earlier has transformed into fear. The stars aren’t nearly as bright as you watch the ground rising up to meet you. Screams escape, only this time it’s not elation but danger that’s behind them. Giggles are gone, but your heart still pounds.
I hate roller coasters.
That’s what I was thinking as I sat back and watched my reviews roll in this week. Giving away ‘A Week at the Beach’ has certainly felt like a roller coaster. I’m completely blown away by how quickly the book jumped to the Top 100 Free list and I’m even more astonished by exactly how many books have been downloaded. Obviously gaining more readers is the goal of a free promo and gaining more reviews is an expected by-product of that. I definitely got both.
I've made no secret of the fact that I take things personal. Even slightly negative statements set my mind reeling. So, despite the fact that I received many positive reviews, all I can think about are the stinkers.
That is until I did a little research.
I spent an hour or so reading the "stinker" reviews for some of the most popular books on Amazon.com right now. I even stopped by to check out the stinkers for some of my personal favorite books. Wow. I don't feel quite so bad about my own stinkers any more. Reading other people's stinkers helps me to enjoy the view a little as I race towards the ground. Instead of focusing on the sight of the floor rising up to meet me, I'm going to turn my attention to the inevitable turn that will come when I hit the bottom.
I am truly humbled by all the positive reviews that people have left for my books. It makes me unbelievably happy to know that others found them enjoyable. I have never asked someone to write a review for me. I have not created false identities and written positive reviews for my books, and I do not know any of the people who have left reviews for 'A Week at the Beach'. I'd also like to point out that the only comments that I have ever made on reviews, I did so in my name. (There is a particular review that has a very small comment discussion happening. I am not a part of this discussion and only just found out about it. While I do not enjoy reading an unflattering review, I do respect a reader's opinion and support the right to express that opinion!)
I have read discussion in some forums where the idea that many self-published authors create fake accounts and write positive reviews for their own work is debated. They also claim that some self-published authors ask their friends to submit reviews to help boost their ratings. I have not done that. I don't even review my own books on my goodreads account. If a review is not a genuine reflection of how a reader reacted to a book then its value is deflated.
To wrap it all up, I hate roller coasters but I'm determined to just shut up and enjoy the ride!