One of the best things about social media is finding people who are willing to read your work and give you HONEST feedback about them. While I look about the various places that people can comment on my work I have found a lot of interesting comments. Yes I have received two star reviews and while it is a hit to the ego it is also a learning experience. If and this is the important part, if the reviewer actually gives you the reason they gave your tale two stars.
On Goodreads you don't have to leave an actual review when you star a story. I have a few low stars there that I really wish the reviewers had put down why they didn't like my tale. One thing I strive to do in my work is to get better.
Now a lot of people think that reviews that are given from free copies of a book or story is wrong but are they? Even if a story is gifted to a reviewer if the person is honest in what they liked and didn't like what is wrong? I have over the years reviewed a number of books that I have picked up during free offers on Amazon, Smashwords and other etailers.
Also I have offered a number of my works for free, either for a short period of time or in the case of my fan fiction, always. Reviews are one of the ways for a writer to learn what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. The good ones learn from these comments.
Now yes reviews can hurt. Some people seem to believe that they need to tear down writers the same way they tear down artists, singers and actors. The amount of bullying on the web is sad in my opinion. We need to find ways to uplift and not drag down.
But back to the post heading. I have a number of people who have graciously offered to give me honest reviews on both my work in progress and on the pieces I have up for sale. The WIP pre readers make my life so much easier and they will be thanked in as many places as I can get away with. Those who are reading my published work I can't thank on the reviews but I can here.
It is considered wrong to respond to a review. The rules of receiving reviews are complicated and different from place to place. With all the social media accounts out there just finding those reviews can be almost impossible. One thing I have done and plan on continuing to do is placing those reviews I give and those I receive up on my own website.
This can be tricky though. One Amazon alone I have 71 reviews. Not all of them are for my stand alone work. The anthologies i have contributed to have reviews and for the most part those are positive.
So the thing about this blog is that reviews are necessary for growth and that authors need to search out people to review them. You shouldn't expect your reviews to be all glowing and five star. You should take all comments and learn from them but most importantly don't take them too much to heart. Keep being creative and learn but don't let the trolls drag you down. Remember that the things you write, like the art or song from other creative people, is a part of you. How the reviewer sees your work is only a part of what you gave it. The rest is from them. If they are hurt, angry or just plain mean inside then they will say things that are the same. Keep writing things that lift your heart and soul and hopefully others.