Let’s face it—takes cantaloupe-sized cojones to read reviews of your own book. Blog reviews, that is—which can be far more brutal in terms of honesty than a review from a trade publication. Sure, some are more diplomatic than others, but for the most part, bloggers give guttural reactions to books. I-loved-it or I-hated-it reviews.
With the release of my debut, A Blue So Dark, in 2010, I found myself faced with the dilemma: to read or not to read. I knew I had the option of putting a Google Alert out on my name and book title, so I couldn’t exactly just shrug my shoulders and say I’d never be able to keep up with it all, anyway. Google Alerts meant I had the option of getting the links to reviews sent straight to my inbox…
But did I want to know? Did I want to read it all—the good, the bad, the (gulp) just plain mean? And if I did read it, what was I supposed to do with it? What good would it do me?
Deciding I had to know what the response was, I took the plunge: I put out Google Alerts, and I read it. All of it.
And I was glad I did.
Sure, I read reviews from bloggers who didn’t personally connect with A Blue So Dark. But reading those reviews taught me that there will always be readers who just don’t connect with a writer’s voice—and no amount of revising would ever change that. Some people like country music, some like metal. Some people like Mexican food, some prefer burgers. Some people (hard as it is to believe) actually don’t like chocolate.
Most importantly, though, A Blue So Dark really did get some great reviews from bloggers—reviews I was grateful to have read. I even reached out to the bloggers who loved my book, sending out personal emails and inviting them to join the blog tour for my 2011 release, Playing Hurt.
In short, those reviews have allowed me to cultivate relationships with my readers in a way that I never would have had I not read my reviews.
Now that the March release of my second book is drawing increasingly closer, I’ve already put a Google Alert on the title…and I can’t wait to meet new bloggers who connect with my work…