Many a time I’ve heard writers—including some well-known and best-selling authors—say they don’t read reviews of their books. And they discourage fledgling writers to likewise ignore them.
I suppose there’s wisdom in that. After all, book reviews are nothing more than opinions. And opinions, the old saying goes, are like certain parts of the anatomy—everybody has them, and they all stink.
That’s truer than ever nowadays. Thanks to online sites that allow everyone and anyone to post a review, their value has diminished, if not disappeared.
Many writers—and I know some of them—game the system, enlisting friends to post positive reviews, which are worse than useless and a disservice to prospective readers. There are even companies that will, for a price, post as many positive—but phony—reviews as you can afford.
Then there are reviewers, cantankerous by nature, who seem to derive some perverse pleasure out of panning books and writers, and offer no basis (or have none) for their dislike.
So, it may well be best for writers to leave reviews unread. I confess, however, to reading them. Here’s a dandy, for my poetry collection Things a Cowboy Sees and Other Poems:
“Hated it. The poems are filled with all the righteous indignation of a white, Christian male who feels persecuted by society.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have read that. But you must admit it’s entertaining.
Besides, travel can be broadening, and I just can’t pass up the pleasure of taking the occasional quantum leap into the peculiar parallel universe where reviewers like that one must reside.
She’s entitled to her opinion, I suppose. But I’m not sure that particular opinion is about that particular book.
Read the book, and see what you think.