Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I don't mind what you say as long as you talk about me...

I have been following this story with interest. The story of how a bad review revealed something very interesting about an author and her fans. It is instructive on how not to behave if you get a bad review. Justine Larbalestier has been writing a series of posts on the topic of handling reviews: good, bad and indifferent, and they are full of good advice. Start here and work forward (there is an earlier post called 'What to do about cranky authors'but it is quite far back - check out the 'recent posts' column).

But author Larbalestier has also explained why bad reviews really ain't that bad. Read that explanation here. I am still too green to feel anything but stung when a reviewer dislikes my writing. After all I am not trying to write bad stuff that someone will hate. But as Larbalestier says, getting reviewed at all means someone is reading your book and feeling strongly enough about it to tell others. That is a good sign. Sometimes when I look at the reviews of the bestsellers (50 Shades anyone??) I am a) amazed that they are all talking about the same book and b) I am struck by the fact that sales don't seem that influenced by the number of stars on the reviews. What seems to count is just the sheer volume of discussion about the book. The more people talking about it the more people want to check it out for themselves. No surprises there really I guess but there are no guaranteed pathways to getting enough people to talk about your book. That is the dilemma that everyone in the book industry wants to crack (like Fermat's Theorem or finding a unified theory for everything in the Universe).

So when people unexpectedly talk about my books, especially in a very public forum I can't help but feel excited. Yesterday on National Radio they were discussing my book/app The House That Went to Sea (at around 3.15pm I think). They were saying some nice things about it and discussing the model of having the book complement the app and vice versa physically and in sales. Colour me happy indeed.

I also received a selection of cover designs from the publisher for the new novel - even though I have been working on this for so long it all feels like its happening so fast now that we are getting to the sharp end of the process. The cover, blurb, tagline decisions are thrilling. Of course now the pressure is on to go through the Editors revisions ASAP. I have also had some roughs (b&w and colour of one spread) for the next picture book. They are completely different to my other books and I can't wait to see more. It is all go in the muppet labs!!

And just in case you need a good laugh go check out this GIF about the business of being a writer over at Nathan Bransford's blog. This is the funniest thing I've seen in ages. That's me running the hurdles!!

1 comment:

TK Roxborogh said...

I have spent far too long going from one link to the other because of your blog. Shame on you. Don't you know I have cleaning to do. And dinner to cook. And a book to edit.