A Review of Reviews?
For creative writers the review is a necessary evil. We want feedback so that we can see if weeks and months of effort stand up to the challenge of entertaining our readers.
We must be prepared to take the rough with the smooth, which for some writers is easier said than done. Personally, although I feel annoyed when I see a negative point within a review, I don’t feel annoyed with the reviewer, as long as they have justified their comments.
What is my average review across all of my titles?
I have so far published: four novels, two short story anthologies and five anthologies of poetry, and my average review: 4.7 stars. Over the full spectrum of my titles, I’m happy with that result, but I aim to improve on it.
Yes, it’s great to read a five-star review that praises one of my books. Irrespective of the rating, when I see comments that are less than complimentary I still tend to question my work, even if the reviewer has not qualified their reasoning.
Up until now, when I’ve read a comment that suggested that any part of one of my stories could be improved, I’ve made a mental note for the future. This is something I intend to amend in the coming months.
I am planning to start with the reviews of my most popular book, Beyond The Law. I will read each of the reviews in detail, including the five-star rated, and then I will make a list of both the good and bad points.
A well-written piece of feedback will give both positives and negatives, but where there are negatives, the review author will suggest why they’ve raised those particular issues.
My intention is to locate, analyse and amend any offending dialogue, narrative or plot issues.
Yes, it will be time-consuming, but if it means the reading experience will be improved for my future customers, then it will be worth any time I invest.
If I find that there is a point made that nobody else has highlighted, and I believe it’s simply a personal dislike of that particular reviewer, then I’ll leave the issue unchanged.
Why have I not done this already?
Do I have a sequence for how to prioritise my titles?
My plan is to start with my most popular book, and then deal with the next most popular and so on. At time of writing, I have four novels to work through.
How soon do I intend to get underway with my plan?
My aim is to have both of my current stories published by October 2015. My review of reviews plan will begin a week after the second of my latest stories is published.
Do I have a target date for my first in-depth revision?
What are the reasons for performing such an overhaul?
First of all an improvement to any book must be a good thing for readers.
Secondly, if my undertaking to improve my previous titles then produces predominately good reviews, then it will strengthen the case for multiple beta readers instead of paying an editor. Although my books are selling, I don’t earn enough to pay the rates of an editor.