… I had a slow day at work, so I went on-line and read all the reader’s reviews/comments on my work, on as much different sites as I could see.
Now I’m a bit happy, a bit disheartened, and a lot confused.
The good news is that some readers game me top marks! The bad news is some gave me bottom marks… The slightly better news is that there are more top marks than there are bottom ones, and a fair portion of middling scores as well.
So what do all these scores tell me? Well possibly not anything we don’t all already know before looking at stuff like this. Some people will like our writing, some won’t, and others will say “Meh…” and go on to the next. I did read some very well thought out and cohesive reviews though; and some one line ‘this is rubbish’ / ‘this is great’ stuff, that doesn’t say much; some of which gave me as much insight as a good critique, pointing out both good and bad things from the readers’ point of view. These will all be helpful, as I’m building on one of these stories to be included in something much larger that I’m currently in the middle of writing.
Reading this stuff definitely brings home the reality of letting the public loos on your story. People will hate it, with luck some may love it, and most will be mildly interested to ambivalent. If this third group read to the end and actually recommend it to others I count that as a win, and some did. What you do get are real unregulated responses from people who, for the most part, do not write themselves. So; as long as you bring a large spoonful of salt, and a very thick skin with you; there is some genuine experience to be gained from doing this, just remember to fight the urge to respond, however strong it may be, or how misjudged or put-upon you may feel. Remember these are not tame critters, these are the ‘readers in the wild’ and cornering one may set the pack on you.