Friday, March 12, 2010

Read Reviews Before Your Novel is Published

No author enjoys reading bad reviews on their novel. I've never had to experience that since I'm not a published author, but I'm sure it's not encouraging to have worked so hard only for people to give one star and say how much they hated reading your book.

If you watch American Idol, I'm sure you're familiar with Simon's cruel, sarcastic remarks. Although most people disagree with his comments, he's giving criticism for the singers to grow in their weakness. Yes, he often goes too far with his negative reviews, but I think that's what pushes those on American Idol to keep going and to prove him wrong.

We will never be able to please everyone. It's rare for all of the judges on American Idol to have loved the performance. The "idols" may have thought they did perfect in their performance, but Simon still says something like "it was like watching a cat die".

While you work on your manuscript, keep in mind that there are many Simons out there. Not everyone will give you a five star, but you have to give it your best anyway. I haven't had anything published yet so I don't have any reviews to read and grow by, but what I do is read other's reviews. Obviously it's not my work that they're judging, but many of the comments give detailed reasons on why he/she liked or disliked the book.

You can go to and type a book in the search bar that is within the genre you want to pursue and start reading the many reviews. While you're at it, add my new account that I just created:

Here are two reviews I found on Good Reads that can be useful for all authors. The first person gave this book four stars, and the second gave it three stars. They reviewed the same YA Christian fiction novel, but I will not give the title or the author of the book.

Four stars:
"All in all a beautifully written Christian novel that is uplifting and heartwarming with out being heavy handed. In fact the author is so subtle that I had to double check to see if the book was listed as "Christian fiction" which is great because sometimes kids think these kinds of books will be corny. They will never guess...they will just read a well written, very engaging, positive story about a teenage girl who learns to lean on God and her family when dealing with her problems. "

Three stars:
"This was an interesting book, but I wanted more details and descriptions. I didn't feel like I knew the characters very well and I thought the plot could have been more developed, it was a short book. I thought ___ was an intriguing character, but I never fell in love with her and her life, I wasn't anxious to see what would happen to her next. The book also could have ended better. I probably wouldn't recommend."

Now, pretend like those critiques were reviews of the manuscript you are currently working on. How can you use that criticism to polish what you're working on now? Are you characters developed enough? Are you being subtle with religion, or are you being a little too preachy?

The people on American Idol study the judge's comments and work hard at trying to use that criticism to grow as an artist. You can do the same even before anyone has a chance to give you a one star. So go and prove all those Simon Cowells out there wrong! Remember, don't try to please everyone. That's impossible. Just read the reviews, relax, and write!


"I think you have to judge everything based on your personal taste. And if that means being critical, so be it. I hate political correctness. I absolutely loathe it."
~ Simon Cowell

For more funny Cowell quotes, visit: :)


  1. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I love the title of yours:) May you be blessed in your writing pursuits and starting so young! Wish I had!

  2. Great post, Tessa! Critiques are hard to receive sometimes, but definitely helpful, and dare I say it? Necessary.

    Oh, and I actually 95% of the time agree with Simon... even if he can be harsh. LOL.

  3. What a thought-provoking post. There's no way to escape criticism in life. It's up to us to decide whether it's going to hold us back or propel us forward. And on the flip side of it, it's a good reminder to all of us to watch our tongues. Words have power. And we want to use that power to encourage, not to break down.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Tessa,
    I just came across your blog for the first time - found you because of your interview on Beside Quiet Waters.

    So far, I really like your blog! I love reading & writing both. And I LOVE collecting quotes, lol. I'll definitely be spending time reading through your blog.

    I'm on Goodreads - it's a really GREAT site! So, you'll be getting a friend request from me. :~)
    Also, have you ever looked through all the book reviews on ?? Writing book reviews is a hobby of mine; Amazon & Goodreads are the main sites that I post on.

    Well, I'll be back soon. Have a blessed week!
    ~ Tarissa


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