First, let me say that I love reviews in general. Some authors avoid reading their reviews ever. But I actually would not want to never read my reviews. I like knowing that some people loved my book, I love seeing thoughtful reactions, I like knowing what generally didn't go over well, and so while I might angst about those things, I enjoy them too. I praise those who are wise to avoid them to protect their sanity, but I will keep reading reviews. I've probably read 500 different opinions of Magic Under Glass already. After awhile, any one opinion means very little, but getting a feel for the collective opinion is nice.
So this is not a criticism against reviewers. This is just...a hopefully amusing list inspired by a Tenners/Elevensies chat the other day in which we Tenners warned the Elevensies what to expect and NOT TO STRESS over it. If possible. (Probably not possible.)
All book examples are made up and resemblance to real books is purely coincidental. In no particular order:
1. The Sloppy Slam. The reviewer didn't like your book. Or maybe they kind of liked it, but damned it with faint praise. More importantly, they called your fairy character a pixie and spelled Rutherford's name wrong, so clearly they weren't even PAYING ATTENTION REALLY so how dare they say the whole thing was just dumb? Also they added an apostrophe in an ungrammatical place.
2. The Turnaround. This reviewer was so excited to read your book. They drove 60 miles from their small town to the only bookstore in their entire county, pawning jewelry they inherited from their grandmother so they could buy your book in hardcover. And they are SOOO disappointed because this book SUCKS. I always feel so, so bad, so much so that when people tell me they just bought my book and can't wait to read it I'm just like, "I'M SORRY IF YOU HATE IT!!!"
3. The Unfair Criticism. This reviewer maybe even liked your book but they think the cover is sooo ugly, why did the author let them use that cover, or the font size is too big or too small and it's not available on Kindle and why did the sequel get pushed back a season?
4. The Mind-Reader. So, the other day you were thinking about some tiny little flaw in your book or work in general that luckily no one has never really commented on or noticed, and...the very next day, someone DOES notice.
5. The Reviewer With a Vengeance. All right. They didn't like your book. Fair enough. But did they have to go comment on every good review of it all over the web and point out how they didn't like it? Did they have to say something like "every other review of this on Amazon is so glowing but that just shows the dumbing down of the American taste" or "I can't BELIEVE Kirkus gave this a starred review"? It's a little much. Dear writer, have some chocolates.
6. The Assumption. Some reviewers see context in your work you never intended or realized, which is entirely fair and a part of literary criticism. Once it's published, interpretations are out of your hands. But it does get painful when readers assume you had an agenda that you didn't actually have, or when they seem to miss the point entirely, like say you make sure to handle teen sex in a sensitive, responsible way and show birth control and everything and the review makes it out like your characters are a bunch of irresponsible whores. Or they assume the characters' thoughts and beliefs are exactly like yours. Maybe they weren't reading carefully. Maybe you could have done better. You keep thinking about it. DID you put that in there? Ugh, maybe you did. Or maybe they're just stupid. Or maybe you did. Dude. Stop thinking about it, and whatever you do, do not comment on the review for goodness sake.
7. The Wrong Reader. So, say you adore writing about sensitive musician boys, maybe you are even married to a sensitive musician boy, and the reviewer is just like "OMG I HATE SENSITIVE MUSICIAN BOYS!" Well, they were not the reader for your book. The sensitive musician boy is what kept you going when you almost gave up on this book. There is no way you can please this reader and yourself at the same time. Why does it still hurt!?
8. The Reviewer That is Obviously Wrong. Obviously Wrong, Damnit! You've gotten fifty reviews that said your ideas were so original, and then you get the one who says that your book is the most typical unimaginative piece of tripe that they've ever read. What book were they reading? Maybe one of your books was somehow printed with a different book inside? Yes. Yes, that is it.
9. The Salt in the Wound. So, every book can always be better. From the moment your book leaves your hands, you will probably already be thinking about its weak points. This reviewer gives you a critical review that you totally agree with. And it makes you cringe. Augh, you could have pleased this person! If only you could take the book back and fix things! Please will they give your next book a chance? You have realized the error of your ways!
10. The Blog You Once Loved. So, you love a certain bloggers reviews. They have great taste! They like all the books you like! Their good reviews make you want to rush out and buy the book, and their bad reviews are so witty and astute and fun to read...oh. Until they hate yours. Oh. How...how could they?
So, there you go. Collect them all! It's a rite of passage. Just like rejections.