I quickly started to respond to the review, but thought better. I walked away from the review and sulked for about an hour and then came back and read it again. This time, I read it without emotion and dissected the words. As I dissected the words, I realized the review was not professional, but a personal attack on me and my wife, who is one of the four editors of my book. I also recognized the reviewer was talking about an earlier version of the book that I self-published in 2001. Since then, I hired an editor and revised the book several times to its present form, which the Hollywood Book Festival and the Midwest Book Review favorably recognized.I talked to my family and friends about the review. Then, something clicked. The more I talked openly about receiving a negative review the better I felt. Then a couple of days later, I received another national review that was not as positive as the Midwest Book Review. However, it was professional and didn't read like a personal attack. I was more receptive to this review, understanding what in particular this reviewer found needed improvement in my work. I was able to grasp more readily the salient points and store them in my toolkit for future projects. That is what a credible, well thought-out review will do for an author...become a tool to teach, train, hone and push the author to be better. In summary, all reviews are subjective, and depending on the reviewer, they can be mean-spirited or constructive. It is the author’s choice to be discouraged or use it as a learning tool. Remember, one reviewer’s five-star novel may be another reviewer’s one-star reject. So my advice to authors is to judge the veracity of the review. If it’s professional, revise your work if able or use it as a teaching tool. But most of all get as many reviews as possible
In conclusion, after reading these two reviews, rejecting one and learning from the other, I made travel arrangements to California to accept my Honorable Award Recognition from the Hollywood Book Festival for my first novel, Homecoming.