As part of the continuing expansion of this lovely new website, another page has magically appeared overnight. (OK, not technically ‘magically’, but as M made the change to the menu for me, it is beyondr my lower-than-you’d-expect Clarke horizon)
The ‘Reviews’ page repeats some of the nice things people have said about my books, online and in the British press. Compiling it made me feel both pleased and self-conscious, because, hey, it’s great that people liked my stuff but, oh, should I really be boasting about it? Anyway, the Reviews page is up. Visit it, or not.
Obviously, not everything said about my books is nice. Equally obviously, I haven’t reproduced any negative reviews. For the record, I have no problem with a review that points out flaws or issues with my stuff, provided said review is accurate – a bad review in which the reviewer has got basic plot facts or names of characters wrong is not one I’ll give much credence too.
However, a review that points out a valid issue I simply hadn’t spotted is fine. If I had spotted that problem when I was writing the book, I’d have fixed it before the reviewer got a chance to find it for themselves. Having it pointed out publicly is a little embarrassing, but might help me avoid similar mistakes in future. It takes a dispassionate outsider to spot some flaws.
Similarly, some negative reviews are a matter of taste or opinion. Everyone has different tastes and is entitled to their opinion.
On the matter of reviews, good or bad, I try and follow the excellent advice given to me by fellow SF writer Liz Williams when I was just starting out:
If a review sparks a response, good or bad, go and make a cup of tea. You have until you have made and drunk that cup of tea (with optional cake/biscuit if you need the calories/emotional support) to preen (‘I am the greatest writer evah!’) or pout (‘How can they have failed to grasp my genius!’). When the tea (and cake/biscuit) are finished, forget the review and go back to work.