Reviewing The Reviews

Thanks to everyone who entered the 1940s giveaway in the last post. The winner, chosen by the random wheel thingy, was Fiona, who has been notified and in fact, I have posted her parcel of goodies off today.

One of the inescapable parts of having a book published is facing up to your REVIEWS! Eek.

As I type this and, erm.. not that I’m looking or anything.. I have 30 ratings/13 reviews on Amazon, 22 ratings/12 reviews on Goodreads and 29 reviews on Netgalley.(As I’m sure you know, you can rate a book on Amazon and Goodreads without giving a comment or reason for the number of stars chosen).

Some of these reviews and ratings are duplicates, as some readers post the same review on one or more of the platforms. (Ooh, get me! Not even sure if ‘platforms’ is right but it sounds right, so it’s staying).

When the reviews first started to appear (very slowly!) on Netgalley (from people who’d requested the book in advance of publication on 14th January), I was refreshing the webpage about five times an hour, to see if anything new had appeared.

I tried to take an ‘arty’ outdoor photo

Big thanks to my HQ fellow author Jane Bettany, who was one of the first to read the book and put a lovely, heart-warming review on, before anyone else, so that eased me in gently. (Jane and I are doing an event together at Evesham Festival of Words in the summer but I’ll tell you more about that next time).

Remember, if you review a book, particularly someone’s debut novel, it’s very likely the author will read that review. So don’t be mean! (If you really hated the book, probably best to … well, not leave a review at all!).

So far, no-one has been too nasty (but there’s still time, I know).

I was braced for some not-so-nice comments and yes, I’ve had them. I know I shouldn’t read them but who can resist?! They do give you a little stab to the heart though, I must confess and if you’re not careful, they can make you doubt yourself. So it really is best to do as someone on Twitter urged me, “Don’t read them, love!” Anyone else got tips for dealing with reviews? Do you really manage NOT to read them?

But for every person who doesn’t like something in the book, there’s someone else who loves that part. E.g.:

“I got no real sense of Maggie” … “Maggie is a great character”

“This book gripped me from the start” … “Unfortunately, nothing much happens”

“This book replicated a lot of previous stories about WW2”… “Fans of the WWII novel will like this for its different take on the Homefront.”

See? You can’t please all of the people all of the time!

And, as most of the reviews seem to be pretty positive, then I can cope with the odd snarky one because that person clearly just didn’t ‘get’ the book. And that’s fine. I don’t ‘get’ ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ or ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ and those books are adored by a lot of people.

We all like different things and as long as some people like my book, I can’t really complain. And yes, I’m going to try not to take too much notice of the not-so-good reviews from now on!

And when the arty photo failed, I took one of a muddy lane instead.

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6 Responses to Reviewing The Reviews

  1. Penny A says:

    Well, I am enjoying it very much! About halfway through at the mo, I can always tell if a bedside read somehow finds its way into other rooms in the house during the day it’s because I have to keep seeing what happens next!

  2. Derek Baker says:

    Wartime secret. What a great read,from page one it took me back to the war and our experience of evacuation for my brother and me. This is the first book I have read since a head operation in 2018. It has sparked me into a new reading life.thank you. It was a shame it had to end,I was looking forward to Maggies war effort, as I was in MI6 for national service in the 50’s.congrats Helen,you captured the mood of the time and the Denton romance was gripping.👏👏👏

    • Derek! Thank you so much, that’s one of the nicest reviews I’ve had – perhaps THE nicest! Do carry on reading, won’t you!? The ‘Denton’ romance though – did you mean the Ashford romance? (you’ve got me wondering now!)

      • Derek Baker says:

        Misprint,did not notice,meant gentle.just my cup of considering writing a short story of my last 6 months after being flooded out of my bungalow in June. Ended up in a village three miles away. It is true what they say,people make the village, lots of lovely thoughtful dog owning people. Helped me through the trauma . Good material for a factual story.

      • Sounds good, Derek. Definitely write it down!

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