On Reviews

Recently, a friend of mine started getting reviews for their debut novel. This began the emotional roller-coaster ride of review addiction that has claimed many a writer or artist.

I don’t use that word “addiction” lightly. Reading reviews becomes almost a compulsion. It happens to the best of us. It happened to me a little, back when I was an actor. The agony of a bad review, the intoxicating high of a good one. It’s intense for sure. It lets you know you’re out there, making an impact! But in the end, even the good reviews aren’t helpful to the creators. Here’s why:

Reviews aren’t for authors. They are for people who are considering buying your book. You, as an author (or purveyor of whatever product is being reviewed) have no business reading it. They aren’t intended to help you, the writer, become better at your craft. That’s not the reviewer’s job. The reviewer is there to help readers become better informed as to whether or not this is the sort of thing they might want to buy. It’s not about the creation, it’s about the commodity. Reviews, therefore, only matter to creators in the sense that they can sell or discourage sales for a book.

Any other motive you may ascribe to it is entirely beside the point. Don’t take it personally, as they say, It’s just business.