Every author that I know Goggles their name to see what the word is about their book. In this technological embarrassment of riches, you can even put the name of your book on alert. You get both the wheat and the chaff. I've gotten alerts where people rave about my book, and I've gotten alerts where people say that it's lousy. In fact, I got one today that said my second book was exactly that. Which, hey, part of the writing gig is that you have to accept (or it will drive you crazy) that you cannot please all readers. There is a certain percentage that you cannot win over. Your style, your voice, your pacing doesn't work for these people. You have to give it up with grace. Plus, let's be honest here; I'm not writing literature. Some people who write in this genre ARE but not me. I'm writing beach reads because that's what I have the time to write. I might be deluding myself that I could write a bigger book if I had time--I do honestly believe that--but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride shit.
Another technological bonus with this reading and writing thing are all these sites devoted to developing connections with other readers. I have a GoodReads page, and a Red Room page, and a couple of others, but mostly I stick to the GoodReads page because I have friends there. It started out as a promo for my books, but since I couldn't figure out how to showcase my books, it's become more of a place for me to gas about books I've read. It's my opinion, nothing more than that. Like above, some books work for me, some don't. I'd like to think that the years I've spent learning how to write have given me some insight into why some books work and other don't, but maybe not. It's my space. Just like this is my space. To write about books I liked and didn't like.
I try to be fair here. I KNOW how it feels to read that your book didn't work for the reader. In fact, I experienced that sense of gloom just today! So when I post a book review here or on GoodReads, I try to be careful and give an honest assessment of why a book worked and why it didn't. For me.
And this is where the foolish part comes in. Because I am both a reader and a writer, I'm vulnerable. Someone could retaliate and go to amazon.com and use their little rating system and kill my ratings. Or be affronted that I didn't write a glowing review about their friend's book so they slammed my book in their blog. Or the author themselves sets up a sock puppet to trash my book. The possibilities for sabotage are endless.
Do I intend to stop posting my opinions on my GoodReads or my blog? Nope. Because I stand behind my words. They are important to me. If I can't write what I want to write here, what's the point? But I'm also aware that I might pay a price for my honesty. Welcome to the new age of writing. The brickbats are to the left.