book reviews km editorial

It seems there are two major camps on the topic of reading reviews from readers. One camp believes reviews are for the readers and all the feedback the author needs is that received during edits and beta-reads. The other side believes that an author can grow in their writing by reading what readers think. So which viewpoint is right? Well, that all depends on YOU as a writer. What works for some of your writing friends, might not be productive for you. It’s important that you draw your own line on what is helpful vs what is distracting.

If you choose not to read reviews from readers…

Good for you! Own your decision and be comfortable with it. Many authors go this route and feel less pressure when they are writing. Less pressure to please, and less worry about what readers are saying. While some authors don’t read any reviews themselves, some do trust an assistant or close friend to scan reviews for them, and alert them only if there is a common complaint reported.

If you choose to read reviews…

That’s great! If you find it helpful to see what readers are saying, power on. Critical feedback can be a tough pill to swallow, so make sure you’re in the right headspace when you choose to read reviews. There are certain stages in your writing when it might be more beneficial to view feedback. When you’re in the middle of your first draft for the next in series? Probably not the best time to scan reviews from previous books. This can cause you to question the direction you’re headed and be a disruption to your creative process. Reading reviews before sitting down to the first draft? This works for some authors so they go into their writing feeling comfortable knowing what readers want or don’t want, and what they liked or did not like about choices made in previous stories they’ve written.

At the end of the day consider what your writing goals are, who you are writing for and what the right balance of outside influence is for. There is no right or wrong answer.

Find me on Twitter and let me know what you think. Should authors read reviews? @katiemccoach Let’s grow #yourbeststory. 

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