There has been some discussion in the blogsphere lately concerning the honesty of reviewers. Sybil, at Romancing the Blog posed the question: Would an author prefer 5 glowing reviews or 15 honest ones that were all over the board? I answered there, but then had some more thoughts.
First off, my personal preference is 15 honest reviews all over the board. Okay...my ego loves the glowing reviews. They make me think I'm the hottest writer since F. Scott Fitzgerald. They make me feel good and encourage me to keep writing.
But I also know that my particular kink in the sexual portions of my romances, tends not to be everyone's cup of tea. BDSM isn't for everyone. In fact, I have to admit a sort of perverse satisfaction to writing out of the mainstream. I like being different and on the edge (or is that fringe?). When I started at Ellora's Cave three years ago, there were only three BDSM books. Although BDSM is becoming much more popular as a separate genre (a fact that will push me in a different direction at some point), it still isn't for everyone.
Now, if a reviewer hasn't read much (or any!) romances with a BDSM twist and they pick up one of mine as their first attempt...then I deserve whatever they give me. THAT's an honest review. Either they'll love it or hate it. I'm afraid I've seen very little in the middle.
But if a reviewer has a pre-formed prejudice against BDSM? Then please, please, please! Don't bother reading (and trashing) my book! If you've formed an opinion before you've even cracked the spine of the book, then what's the point? Just to be mean? Just to lash out at a kink you don't like? THAT ticks me off. Those are the only reviews I ignore. If you don't like the genre, don't read it.
Of course, this begs the question: what's the difference between a review and a critique? Which would readers rather read?