Guest Blogger: Destiny Allison Discusses The Beauty of Review Feedback

I am very excited to present to you guest blogger Destiny Allison, author of the new dystopian release, Pipe Dreams. I highly encourage all fellow authors (and readers) to read about her experience with a reviewer who had some constructive feedback on her novel. Also, stay tuned at the bottom of the post for more info on Destiny’s book, and where to find her.

Sarah, thanks so much for hosting me today. I’m excited to be here. Recently, I had an amazing experience. Like most authors, the first month after a book launch is filled with trepidation. Will readers like the work? Will they take the time to leave reviews and tell their friends? Is my baby going to make it in the world?
 
Naturally, I spend a fair amount of time checking on it. Like a mother at a park, I watch my child play in the sandbox, hoping he’ll make friends, share well, and not get ridiculed for his quirky personality or the glasses that are too big for his little face. I don’t want to be an over protective mom, but let’s face it. I am a mom. I birthed Pipe Dreams after a long, painstaking labor and I love it dearly. So last week, when I got my first three star review on Amazon, my heart lurched. At first, I wanted to confront the bully who had threatened my child. Then I took a breath and realized that if I did, my child would never learn how to fend for itself. Finally, I had an epiphany. Instead of walking away from my computer in frustration and fear, I sent the critic a thank you note.
 
To my delight, the critic responded with helpful tips and enthusiasm. I learned a few things. She told me I had three word misuses in the book and some commas where I didn’t need them. Then she gave me some invaluable self-editing advice and we’ve been dialoging ever since. Instead of feeling hurt by her comments, I’m grateful for her friendship.
 
If you read the comment thread, you’ll see just how this conversation went and how I turned an apathetic reader into a future fan and, hopefully, a long term friend. It was a risk, but one well worth the effort. As it turns out, this critic thinks Pipe Dreams could be a best seller. She just wanted me to fix my mistakes, which I did. Immediately.
 
So many creative people only want to hear praise, but praise doesn’t help us make the work better. It only strokes our egos. When we’re willing to learn and appreciate the feedback — positive or negative — from our readers, we can become better writers and develop loyal fans.
 
The fact is, if someone takes the time to read and comment on your work, you owe them a measure of gratitude. Some people are downright mean, but most want to be part of the process. Can you imagine if you commented on one of the early Stephen King books, let him know that you liked the story but had some problems with word use or grammar, and he wrote you back, thanking you for pointing out his mistakes? How would that feel? Would you be more vested in the next book he released, or the one after that?
 
Instead of being disgruntled, accept the gift of honesty. Your writing will improve as well as your sales and fan community.

Destiny Allison

To learn more about Destiny’s works, visit her at http://www.DestinyAllisonBooks.com
You can also follow her on Twitter: @sfsculptor
Finally, here’s a sneak peak at her new release, Pipe Dreams:
Pipe_Dreams_Front_CoverBeneath the park bench a young girl cries for help, her voice a cold hand on Vanessa’s throat. The naked girl is desperate, but compassion for the Fallen is never forgiven. In a moment of hesitation, Vanessa sets in motion a chain of event that will determine mankind’s fate. Unbeknownst to her, Lewis is still haunted by her thick, auburn hair, serious eyes, and mocking laughter. She is the symbol of all he hates and her interaction with the girl is what he needs to gain control of the virus. As his plan unfolds, Vanessa is forced to flee. Escaping through the sewer, she finds love, heartbreak, and the red beam of a gun sight dancing on the slick, black wall. In the deep dark of the foul pipe, she also discovers she has been betrayed. That’s when she learns Texas is real. Pipe Dreams is a dystopian novel set in the near future. If gene splicing could merge Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Collins, the resulting author might write this book.

 

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9 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Destiny Allison Discusses The Beauty of Review Feedback

      1. Agree with both of you. What an awesome experience, for all involved. It makes me wish the world was a kinder place, and we could all sit down and have rational discussions like this. Thanks again for sharing this story, Destiny.

  1. As a reviewer, I have had this positive experience of an author understanding my complaints and working hard to correct. On the other hand, a few have taken valid criticism as an insult.
    As an author, I have received reviews that are very helpful (one early reviewer helped me focus on a weak point in my writing, POV, for example). I also had a three-star review from someone who mostly reviews apparel and footwear but said that my sentences were too short–in a YA novel! For reviews like that, your best reaction is, “Duly noted….and ignored!”
    I’m a firm believer in honest reviews. Glowing reviews from friends and family don’t count. I also believe that authors can give back to the writing community by reviewing books–not necessarily on Amazon, but in a book-blogging environment where honest reviews are posted. And authors should never pay for a review and reviewers should never charge for a review (I’m not even sure about those websites that charge a few for moving your book to the top of the review pile–that sounds unethical).

    1. Agree with all of the above, Steven. It would certainly be nice if everyone followed the same rules when reviewing, but since no two people read the same book, reviews will be as varied as the books themselves. There have been times when I’ve been tempted to reach out to a reviewer to discuss further (for honest, open discussion), but it wasn’t until I read about Destiny’s experience that I had confirmation that these can lead to mature discussions.

      I’m with ya on the sites that charge for moving it to the top of the pile…because, they could easily just not review the ones that don’t pay, but point to their policy as proof that what they are doing is “ethical.”

      1. Agree with both of you and Steven makes a good point about ignoring some bad reviews. I got a one star on my first book and checked out the reviewer. She only leaves bad reviews. Can’t take her seriously because of it. Still, when we can, it’s better to cultivate real relationships.

      2. I had one of those as well. Her other reviews were all from an entirely different genre than mine, and it made me wonder why she read it to begin with. But for every one of those, I get at least ten others who offer me a unique and useful insight into how a reader sees my work.

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