With my debut mystery due out in April, I'm in uncharted waters in dealing with reviews. I've already run the gamut--and I've only had three so far. Booklist gave me a nice review--most welcome but no pounding hearts involved, theirs or mine. Kirkus was a little snarky, though I'm told that's just the rite of passage, like the way they break a bottle of champagne on your head or whatever it is they do when you cross the Equator for the first time. I located the best adjective--"endearing," which to me is a great compliment--and I'm running with it. And Crimespree blew my socks off yesterday with a rave review tailored to my wildest dreams.

If you're curious, I've posted excerpts from all of them on my page. No BSP intended. What I'd like to hear is what everybody else does or doesn't do about reviews. Do you blow them off or throw leis or darts at the reviewers depending on what they say? Do you scrapbook them or go out of your way to ignore them? Do you send them to booksellers? to fans? to your mother? And I'd like to hear about your best and worst reviews. I bet everybody's got at least one great story.

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Some authors I know put reviews immediatedly in the shredder without reading them (if they're good, you'll hear about it soon enough). Others have papered their rooms with them. Most laugh all the way to the bank with the bad ones in hand. Anyone who is anyone has had a few wrist-slashing reviews come their way-- the more vitriol, the more bitter the author of the review probably is cuz you did what they can't.

I'm still trying to master the art of the poker face, the ironclad smile, and the prompt thank you note-- the last being the most important (as appropriate)

Mark.
The most troublesome review I got was on Amazon and gave away the end of the story. I wrote and asked the reviewer if she'd please change the review--and she did.

With any review, you'll be able to get something out of it you can use in promotion, put on your webpage, use on the back cover of your next book.

I don't keep them in a scrapbook--but I do keep them in a file on my computyer.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com
>the more vitriol, the more bitter the author of the review probably is cuz you did what they can't.<

It would be nice to think that, but having been a reviewer myself, I know that to understand it you have to pay attention to the reviewer's reasons for hating the book. I have written a few slasher reviews, and they were all for books that I would never have accepted for publication -- for reasons that were explained in detail in the review.
I, too, have been on the other side of the fence. I had a review in the last century that I bent over backwards to be fair about and tried my damndest to find something positive to say about a book that was perhaps one of the most poorly written I'd ever read --and by a Columbia graduate, no less!

The author thought he was along the lines of the second coming, and wrote the editor of the magazine a scathing novella response, and attacked me quite personally (never addressing the issues I brought up in the original review). There is an inherent responsibility in the entire editorial process of assigning, writing and editing the review to be as fair and professional as possible. In the end, it will help the writer, and the public at large.
I'm always quite careful to thank the reviewer no matter what they might have said about my book. After all, he or she took the time to read it. I'm smart enough to know not everyone has the same tastes. There are plenty of books people recommend to me that I find I don't really like--so why should I expect a reviewer to be any different?

Reviews come in very handy for promotion.
Hey Liz,
Ever see the Wizard of Oz? The scarecrow tells Dorothy, some people go this way, then again some people do go that way...
Remember when Maria gave the blessing at her first dinner at the von Trapp home? Sometimes a 'thank you' will make a more suitable response than getting upset (like when it's obvious that they didn't even really read the book).

The best thank you I ever got was a postcard from David Sedaris; it had the entire staff in stitches --and somebody promptly purloined it! It'll probably show up on eBay someday...
From by blog of 5 Mar 2007
My funny bone twanged, and I wrote a set of replies to any critics or reviewers who hate my book(s):
* I'm sorry. The sound of your mind closing distracted me from your comments.
* I guess we won't be discussing my book over drinks later then?
* Did you skip seeing your therapist this week?
* Do you have me confused with your ex-wife / ex-husband?
* Your review was witty, biting, and visceral, but was it about my book?
* I like your reviews. You don't use big words.
* Do you need soap and water to clean your glasses?
* Your prejudices must be such a help! You know what you think of a book before you've read it.
* Was it good for you, too?
* Anybody have any matches to light to clear the air?
* It's amazing how much you and my ex-wife agree. Are you dating her?
* It's a good thing you and I are such close friends, otherwise I might be offended.
* Did you forget that book reviews are supposed to be more than ad hominem remarks?
* Your review was so thorough, I canceled my annual proctologist's exam.
* It's nice to know that I can count on you when I need a kind word.
* I guess dating your sister is out.
* For your birthday, I'm getting you a new tongue sharpening stone.
* I thought your Tourette syndrome was under control.

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