Reader Spaces

Lots of other folks have been commenting thoughtfully and eloquently on the relationship between writers and readers (specifically readers who post reviews or reactions to books online). Here’s author (and reviewer) Phoebe North, and here’s author Veronica Roth, for a start.

I’m only going to say three things:

1: I truly appreciate that there are readers out there who love books so much they invest time and energy (and $$) into buying them, reviewing them, and creating entire communities to discuss them.

2: I know not every reader is going to love (or even like) my books. That’s fine. There are plenty of books I don’t enjoy! As much as I might put my heart into my stories, I recognize that they take on another life after they go off into the world. They aren’t entirely mine anymore. I have to let them go, and accept that readers will have their own relationships with them. I hope that no reader will ever feel like they are not allowed to have feelings and opinions about a book I’ve written.

3: That said, I don’t seek out reviews of my own books. I don’t find either positive or negative reviews help me in the long run (nor should they, as they weren’t written for me). I do read the professional reviews that my editor sends me. Sometimes I stumble on reviews in blogs I read anyway (which is always a little terrifying!) or bloggers tell me about them because I offered them a copy for review in the first place (in which case I am glad to know because I want to be able to thank them for their time, whether or not the review was positive). I try not to respond in public, whether it’s good or bad, because these blogs and communities are reader spaces. I want readers to be free to discuss books, without feeling like the author is looking over their shoulders.

Now go check out the Cybils finalists to see that kind of awesomeness that comes out of the generous online community of book-lovers!

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  1. Phoebe says:

    I just want to say that, as a reviewer, I really appreciated (and appreciate) your grace and generosity. <3

  2. As someone who hopes to one day be published–and someone who reviews books weekly on my blog–I've thought about exactly this. Is reviewing books a wise move for me and why do I do it? And it came down to this: I adore promoting middle grade and reading it helps my own writing grow.

    • Deva Fagan says:

      I think it's a great thing to do, both to connect with other folks online, and to learn. I really don't think that being a reviewer is a detriment as long as one reviews critically, not hatefully. I hope you keep it up!