How to Hear Your Reviewers and Stay Calm
Now that you have poured your heart and soul into creating your masterpiece and made a thing of beauty from crude letters, it is time to share it with the world. Your book is complete. The meaning of your message is clear in a format that’s fun to read.
Unfortunately, the ones with whom you will share your baby weren’t there through the tears and confusion. They won’t understand the pain and love that went into this creation. They weren’t the ones sitting up nights wondering if they would ever sleep again.
They just want to tell you how to fix it.
When you have an editor, it is their job to build this into a money maker. It is rare that an editor will receive a book and give it a green light immediately. There are several processes by which the editor reviews a book and deems it ready for publication.
The process of having a book reviewed is different for every publishing house. Some will ask for chapters as they are ready, and review them one at a time. Some will read the entire book at its completion and then offer their editorial. Some get the public to review the book as it is being written in a beta-book procedure. However your book is reviewed, the criticisms may be difficult to accept. There are a few tricks you can use to help ease the process.
Remember that any review is a good review. It means that someone actually read your book and has taken the time to comment on it. Their purpose is in wanting to help you.
Hopefully, your reviewers will be from a variety of readers. You will want members of your target audience to review your book. And maybe even a few experts to be sure your content is correct.
If you get a review that doesn’t make sense and you think the reviewer is just ignorant, this is a sign that you need to really understand the criticism and see where you failed the reader. Go over the part of the book that the reviewer is talking about and see where you mayhave missed the mark.
Did you use a colloquialism that is not universally understood? Is there something that seems obvious to you, but may not be recognized by everyone? Do you need to improve on your introduction? Would a sidebar help? Ask yourself these questions while reviewing the reviewer’s review.
There are some reviewers who come across as though they think themselves superior. They guffaw at the inanities of your blunders. It may be difficult at first to swallow your pride and hear what they’re saying, but if you are able to look past the messenger to the message you may find valuable information there. Maybe the most annoying of reviewers is the “copy editor” type. They like to point out every little spelling mistake and punctuation error. They also won’t like your formatting. Double check with your publisher about house rules regarding punctuation and formatting. Re-read the proofs to be sure the issues brought out by this informative reviewer were taken care of.
These examples are a little extreme, but they do happen. Most of your reviewers will be somewhat shy of these examples. You will probably find that your reviewers are supportive and helpful. They may rave about your effort and be reluctant to offer any criticism at all. Remember to thank your reviewers for any helpful insight.
Coping with difficult reviewers may be challenging. As you tolerate another pompous know-it-all’s evaluation of your work, be grateful that the issues were brought to your attention now and not after your book went to print.