The internet seems to hold the general opinion that responding to reviews of one’s own work is in poor taste, and I definitely understand where that comes from. But what if the response you desperately want to give is a resounding “Ohmigosh, THANK YOU!?” Because I was peeking at my books on Amazon the other day, which I haven’t done in ages, and found a whole stack of the kindest, sweetest, most wonderful and thoughtful reviews for both of my books that it was very difficult to restrain myself from posting thank-yous to the reviewers. I can only hope that maybe they’ll find their way to my blog at some point and perhaps see this post, and know how very much I appreciate not just the fact that they read my stories, but that they then cared enough about them to take the time to post such insightful comments.
Believe it or not, I especially appreciate those who offer up criticism of elements they didn’t like or that didn’t jive well for them. I actually enjoy readers’ critiques. While it doesn’t always mean I’ll agree with their opinions overall, it still often helps me identify holes in my writing that I might have the opportunity to plug up in a future installment of the series, or things I will pay more attention to the next time I’m pulling a plot together. The things that make you, as the reader, scratch your head and go, “Come on, really?” are the things I want to know about, so I can hopefully make those points stronger in the future. *grin*
Equally, of course, I love hearing what did work for readers; what specific themes or characters or situations they especially enjoyed, what they’d like more of in future books. Usually it’s right in line with the things I enjoyed most about writing the story, but sometimes readers really surprise me with these thoughtful analyses of elements that had never even occurred to me – and I love that! I also love, love, love to see how readers get so attached to the characters, which of course is one of the things I most hope to achieve in each of my stories. I get so close to the characters myself as I’m working with them, and so seeing how they then turn around and can affect readers as keenly as they did me is really gratifying. I feel like a proud mama, hehe!
I find myself wishing that Amazon reviews were considered more “legit” (and I did sneak a few of them into the SotG trailer, even) because in my opinion, who should have more credibility than the folks who are actually reading the books – the folks who read purely for pleasure and review books for the benefit of other readers and not necessarily for the author or publisher?
Anyway, I also find that when I’m in a writing slump—when my daily work and personal life are closing in around me and I’ve got no time, much less inspiration, to drag out a manuscript and plug away at it—that just one review like these suddenly makes me want to whip out my netbook and WRITE ALL THE THINGS. You guys make me feel like I might actually be okay at this writing stuff, and for that I send you the biggest hugs in the world… and hop back to my computer to get you some more of that story. <3