Should authors read reviews of their own work?

You know, I see authors on Twitter now and then, or on blog posts or whatever, declaring that they don’t read reviews of their own work, or that they’ve quit reading reviews of their own work, and I think, basically, Who are these people and when were they replaced by pod people from Mars? Because, hello, who can possibly stick to a rule about not reading reviews?

That’s a different question from not responding to reviews, which, yeah, no, probably responding publicly to reviews is not a good idea. Or at least negative reviews. The number of times I have been even tempted to say No, look, you’re missing the point here, that’s not what I had in mind, is zero. I’m glad to say. Because wow does that kind of thing blow up in an author’s face.

Now, responding to positive reviews, that’s different. You can’t thank someone for loving your book — I mean, obviously they didn’t deliberately choose to love your book because they want to be nice to you, right? But you can say Wow, I’m glad you loved my book, thanks for taking the time to write a review.

But! Not reading reviews, whether or not you plan to respond? Who can do that?

And who would want to?

Because if you follow that kind of policy, you are going to miss reviews like this one, which just appeared yesterday, and I’m very happy that the reviewer sent me a link on Twitter, because it’s the kind I print off to show my Mom.

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