The reviews are in
November 29, 2010
There are only two writing days left in November. Let’s try something different today and tomorrow. You’re still going to be writing but let’s take a little break from your book.
Today we’ll dream a little bit into the future. Imagine your book is in the bookstore and has made it onto the online sites. It’s just beginning to attract attention and, of course, reviews. Write four brief reviews that might appear on amazon.com
For the first one, write as if you are someone who liked the book for the right reasons. This book was written for you and you got a lot out of it.
Second, write a review from the point of view of someone who liked the book but completely missed the point. They liked the book for all of the wrong reasons.
Third, write a review from the point of view of someone who didn’t like the book because they completely missed the point. The things they didn’t like about your book aren’t really what you were doing in it. They just didn’t get it.
Finally, write a review from the point of view of someone who didn’t like the book for the right reason. They weren’t the target audience for the book and didn’t like it.
Go ahead, take a bit of time and write two or three paragraphs for each one.
Doing this exercise between the writing of the book and the revision should help focus you. You should be comfortable with the last review that didn’t like your book because they shouldn’t like your book. But that review is also telling you that you didn’t set up the book clearly enough and so some of the wrong people wandered in. Your book isn’t for everyone. You want to make sure that the people in your target audience know that this book is for them but you also want to help people who aren’t going to like it to move along.
The third review is problematic. This is a person who probably should have liked the book and maybe even wanted to like the book. You may want to reexamine the journey to make sure you were clear on where you were heading next at each step.
The second review is also a problem. Sure they liked the book and gave it a good review and lots of stars. That feels great. But you know you didn’t deserve them. Is there a way of turning this reader into a true fan who gets it without sacrificing those in the target audience? Probably not. If you try to expand the appeal of the book to include people not in your target then you may end up not appealing to anyone. That doesn’t mean that people outside of your target can’t enjoy your book. It means that they won’t enjoy your book if you change it’s core.
The first review is your compass in revision. It reminds you who the book is for and why.