Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reviews and What They Mean

When I first became published, I hung on the possibility of reviews like a pet waiting to be fed. Not quite reaching out, but with that eagerness in the eyes and that not so patient wait.

Now, I don't even see them unless someone points them out, to the point where old reviews can be new to me. Part of this is gaining perspective, part of it is the realization that a good review is not going to mean that many sales in most cases.

I also think that a good portion of it has to do with the extreme disappointment I felt when our first "major" review was badly mishandled, as Romantic Times assigned an erotica piece with a "villain" (she is more of a foil, never villified) who is a crusading member of the Christian Right to a reviewer whose profile indicated that her favorites were Christian Inspirationals. You know, kinda like asking Ann Coulter to review The Audacity of Hope. You can imagine the response that character got from her. We were labeled "anti-morality."

But even with the results of the process having jaded me to things, I still feel a little anticipation when a new one is found by Phaze or a friend and brought to my attention.

After all, feedback was one of my favorite things about writing from the very beginning. In my time honing my chops at Literotica I was an unabashed feedback slut, checking my scores and my comments constantly. So it seems to be obvious that the opinions I receive on my professional work would also give me that anticipatory twinge.

Counterbalancing this is the idea that it can be a dangerous trap. There have been numerous instances of authors getting "caught" bitching and anguishing and even looking to retaliate over poor reviews. I almost fell into that trap over the RT review, so I understand. Now, I am glad I didn't, since the internet is forever and I just don't want to be seen that way.

So, do reviews mean something? Absolutely. Do I tear my hair out over a bad one? No. Besides, the best revenge for a bad review is a good one. That way I know it's not me protecting my "children," it is an unbiased opinion. So in that spirit, I present to you what the Romance Studio thought of Artifactual, with a reviewer that was not grinding an axe....

I found this a thoroughly delightful erotic romp, complete with adventure, plenty of sex, and a few mysteries. The unusual items for sexual pleasure were especially intriguing. Amanda and Bruce are well suited to each other, playing off each other’s strengths. They complement each other well. I found a touch of comedy in one chapter that really had me going. I laughed so hard tears streamed from eyes and it took me a few minutes to start reading again. I loved it!

My thanks to Patricia at The Romance Studio ( gave me this wonderfully validating moment by writing a Five Heart review that I somehow didn't see for two and a half years.

And to all of you out there who take the time to read my books and share your opinions, good or bad ... thank you.

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