And yet I don't plan to stop. I believe that reviewers can make a contribution. Minimally, we offer publicity; maximally, we add something valuable to the conversation. At least we try (many of us, anyway).
The thing is, I know what it feels like to get bad reviews. I know how easy it is to remember the negatives and forget the positives. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I think it's time to share some of the bad reviews my book, The Lesbian Sex Book (later updated as The New Lesbian Sex Book) received.
"Necessary but dull."
"The humor is somewhat simplistic, even embarrassing at times."
"If you have ever had lesbian sex, there will be little for you to learn from Wendy Caster's book."
"Unintentionally funny in places [with] a distinct lack of irony."
"Full of . . . useless quirky hints to spice up your love life. It's American--need I say more." (From Dublin.)(I love that last one--not only can't I write, but I disgraced my entire country.)
The book also received some good reviews and sold pretty well. Yet it's the bad reviews I remember, nearly 20 years later. (And, sigh, I don't think the bad reviews are particularly unfair.)
I would love to hear what other people have to say about the role of reviewers. Comments welcome!