My Own Reviews: To Read Reviews … Or Not?

Sometimes I think the dilemma of whether or not to read reviews, is as all-consuming as the dilemma a despondent Hamlet pondered when he uttered the immortal words, “To be or not to be…”

I apologise to fans of Shakespeare for modifying the well-known line!

Different (and conflicting) Advice for Writers

The subject of reviews, and whether or not to read reviews, often comes up when writers get together.  We all love hearing from our readers, but not all readers are prepared to write reviews.

For any reviews I’ve been lucky enough to receive, I’ve been advised to:

  • ignore all and any reviews of my own work,
  • read only the good reviews,
  • keep the good reviews somewhere handy, to refresh my writing spirit when it gets low,
  • read reviews and take away something positive from each one to improve my work,
  • use the best phrases from every review in promotion and advertising.

So far I read every review that I see. I do try and take something positive out of each one with which to improve my work. It can be difficult when reviews are often conflicting: for example I’ve been told my pace is too slow, and too fast. Readers have told me they love my description and feel really anchored in the story, other readers have told me I have too much description and its boring.

I’m an avid reader as well as a writer. I know full well that not every story is for me. I’ve struggled through books that other people have waxed lyrical about, and have loved books that other people hate. So I know that no one book can please all readers! And this leads me to targeted marketing. Trying to gain visibility among readers that will enjoy my stories.

Promotion and Advertising

Recently I’ve been thinking about advertising and marketing more, and perhaps using the best phrases from my reviews in promotion and advertising.

I think the best reason for using quotes from my own reviews, is that I’m using language that is meaningful to readers. I don’t want to get bad reviews from readers that aren’t a good match; I want to find readers who will enjoy my stories and who will, hopefully, provide a review telling the world what they like.

What to do When You’re Not a Graphic Designer

The answer is find free or low cost tools that you like … and practice, practice, practice!

I don’t have a large budget (no budget is probably slightly more true :P) But I do want to try and build up my visibility. Unfortunately my creative ability is limited to words. I can’t draw or design, but I’ve started trying to use Canva. It’s web-based graphic design software that claims it makes design simple for everyone. Believe it or not, it’s a struggle for me. But I’m persevering!

whether or not to read one's own reviewsI do quite like this design I made in Canva. I made it to brag about a five-star review I received from Readers Favorites.  This one is for Facebook – so I had to keep the wordage low.  Other social media, such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest don’t have those constraints.

So many people gush about how easy they find designing in Canva. It’s obviously easy and fun for many people, as they also gush about how much they enjoy coming up with their own images for marketing campaigns.


Playing around with Canva takes me longer than writing a chapter!

_Easy to pick up. Hard to put down_

Here are another couple of examples – for Pinterest and Instagram …. more practice is required I think!!

If anyone has any suggestions… Please let me know. But be kind – I need all the confidence I can get 😛


Kim Cleary, Author

Kim Cleary

Kim writes paranormal stories with a intrigue, suspense and a hint of romance. She loves all animals, especially her dogs; and thrives on coffee and chocolate while writing and researching.

2 thoughts on “My Own Reviews: To Read Reviews … Or Not?”

  1. Walker McKnightWalker McKnight

    Quite a conundrum, to read or not to read, and I’ve wondered how I will handle it when I get to that stage. I think my instinct is going to be to avoid them at all costs… until I don’t. Thanks for sharing!

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