Sunday, October 7, 2012

Should Authors Respond to Critical Reviews? Yes

It has been a few months since my book “a child lost in flight” was published. The book has been steadily gathering reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. As any writer would, I have been reflecting on the reviews, especially the critical ones. The reviews seem to fall into a few broad categories.
Favorable Reviews
Review category 1: OMG, yet another book on grief and death. These reviews generally start by reviewer feeling sorry for my circumstance, and ends thanking me for the “happy ending”
My response: To this my response would be “thank you for sharing my journey”
Review Category 2: Accidental reviewer. Reader generally is not sure why they picked up a book on death and grief – perhaps motivated by a blog post or other reviews. They too generally end with a “thanks for the happy ending”
My response: To this again my response would be “thank you for sharing my journey”

Neutral Reviews
Review category 3: It was a fast read. In this review, the reader generally begins thanking me for the narrative without being verbose.
My response: In the book, I could have delved a bit more into the gory details of my experience. I realize I kept the narrative intentionally short.  Wonder if expanding the book from 60 to over 100 pages would leave the reader more “satisfied”?

Critical Reviews
I appreciate the fact that some reviewers have taken the time to be critical about this work. And even while being critical, they have taken pains to point out the critique is about my narrative and not about my experience or the ordeal I went through.
Review category 4: The book was focused on me (the author), my grief and how I tried moving on. It did not highlight how others around me reacted and felt.   
My response: This is right. My original intent was to focus on highlighting “my” story, my viewpoint and perhaps my grief and moving on. Even Suja, my wife, who kindly agreed to proof read it remarked how I had completely omitted her perspective and viewpoint from the narrative. After all, weren’t we in the journey together?

Review category 5: Book feels a bit unfinished. Perhaps could do with some editorial help. The narrative has a ‘blog like’ feel to it.
My response: absolutely right. I would love for a publisher to assign a good editor to work with me and help me make the narrative more readable. My guess is that the genera – story of grief and death – perhaps doesn’t have a mass market. Even folks who might read fiction about death or paranormal might shy off a real-life story of grief and redemption. If there is no market for such book, it is unlikely that a publisher will ‘invest’ in the book.

Bottomline: A heartfelt thanks to all reviewers. Please keep the reviews coming. At some point, I may revisit the book and ad a few more details. And make sure the flow and narrative reads better.

No comments:

Post a Comment