Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Would You Rather...good reviews or fan mail?

Tip of the Day: if you like romantic comedies, don't forget to check out Cupid which premiers tonight!

Continuing along with our play-at-home version of Would You Rather comes today's question:

Would you rather have good reviews or lots of fan mail?

This is a tough one. On one hand, good reviews probably lead to more sales. Working in a library, I know how important reviews--not only good ones, but mainly getting into review magazines such as Booklist, School Library Journal, Voya, etc.--are to library sales. I imagine they are just as important for determining those ever-important bookstore slots.

And if you aren't getting reviews to get you on the shelves, then no one can see your book, can they? Or at least less people can. So no reviews would probably be worse than bad reviews. Bad reviews aren't the worst in terms of sales, even Twilight has bad Amazon reviews, and it's doing just fine. Although, I'm sure any bad reviews have to hurt the author on some level, especially if it's a review you disagree with.

So we can all agree good reviews would be awesome! Not only for sales, but to make you feel good as an author.

At the same time, I think I'd rather have fan mail. When a person takes time out of their busy schedule to write an author about their book. This speaks volumes to me. Not only did they like the book, but they loved it enough to write you about it. Hello, that's huge. I don't even do that often, and I dream about how exciting that would be as an author.

To reach teens on that level has to be extremely satisfying as an author, and in some ways I bet it means more than lots of sales. Sure you might be reaching more people with lots of sales, but I tend to like quality over quantity in most things in life.

What about you? There's definitely pros and cons to each, which is why I think these Would You Rather questions are fascinating!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kate Fall said...

This is a tough one. I think I'd choose fan mail too, although I'm not sure I can articulate why as well as you did, Em. But I might feel differently if I wasn't writing for younger people.

DeenaML said...

Kate, I agree. Writing for kids makes me want the fan mail. Writing for adults not as much for some reason.

When Cynthia Lord posts the pics of the letters she gets from kids, omg, my heart just fills for those kids! Taking the time to write and know that the book had an impact on them! It is so sweet.

Then again, if I didn't have a good review, maybe I would change my mind. Tough one!

amuse me said...

I would vote for good reviews.

But, having now said that, when I was designing patterns for national magazines, and occasionally would get feedback (calls and letters) on some of the designs from people that actually used the patterns and liked them -- that meant a great deal to me. I have kept those letters because, like Emily said, it really means something when someone takes time out of their busy life to brighten ours.

Great post.

Lisa Schroeder said...

ACK, don't make me pick, don't make me pick!

The mail I get from teens seriously keeps me writing some days. So I'm going to have to go with that. They are who I write for, afterall.

Robert A Meacham said...

I would go for the good reviews. I need the pulse of the reader.

Saw you from NB blog

Kristina Springer said...

I'm going for the reviews too I think. I think fan mail is great if your book is one that really touches on a big issue and people can relate to it (like Cynthia's) but if your book is more light and fun I don't know that the fan mail would be rolling in. Hmm, we should ask Meg Cabot if she prefers reviews or fan mail? :-)

Christina Farley said...

I just don't understand why I can't have my cake and eat it too!

Emily Marshall said...

I agree with everyone, I want both! It definitely is hard to select. Good reasons for either one!