Thursday Tips…BAD Reviews

Thursday Tips are geared toward the newly published/contracted writer

BAD Reviews

Here’s the deal.

You will get them.  They are a fact of life.  It is impossible to please everybody and if you expect to never get a bad review, in effect, what you are expecting is to please everybody.

Now I realize this is probably a little easier for me to say than some—I’m one of those people who have gone through life fully aware of the fact that I can rub a lot of people the wrong way and while I’m sorry about that, I’ve never changed how I am to suit anybody else and I have no intention of changing that now…and that includes all aspects of my writing.

Bad reviews can suck and there’s no denying that.  I do have that knee jerk reaction and yes, it can sting. But I’m not going to let it pull me down and letting it piss you off, pull you down, pull you off your rhythm is the worst thing you can do.

Perhaps it will help to look at it like this: a review, in the end, reflects one person’s opinion.  Unless every single review out there says the same thing (ie: this person’s book sucks rotten eggs), why worry about it?  Do they really affect sales?  In my opinion?  No.

Negative reviews have actually led me to purchase books.  Especially when I find a reviewer who just happens to have taste in books that run opposite to mine.  A negative review, after all, doesn’t have to mean that your book sucks—what it can mean is that it just didn’t work for that reviewer.  What didn’t work for that reviewer could be exactly what will work for me, and hundreds, thousands of other readers.

So don’t get worked up if you don’t get a positive review.

And for the love of all books…

Don’t attack or question the reviewer!

This isn’t just pointless, it’s downright foolish.  When you do this, basically, what you are doing is telling that reviewer that they don’t have a right to an opinion.  They didn’t like your book…and guess what…they are allowed to not your book.  Have you loved every last book you’ve ever read?  If not…then you can’t expect everybody to love your book.  Just let it go—move on.  Your life as a professional writer will be a lot easier for it, and you won’t end up trotted out as one of the authors behaving badly on some blog, nor will you run the risk of alienating a slew of readers.

17 Replies to “Thursday Tips…BAD Reviews”

  1. Great thoughts there, as a reviewer, i completely agree with you, some bloggers don’t write negative reviews at all and that’s fine, what some people don’t realsie is, the hardest reviews to write are in fact the negative ones, no blogger enjoys saying they didn’t like so and so about a book, but being a blogger myself, I’m sure you will agree we feel that our readers as well authors are entitled to an honest opinion.

    Thanks for sharing!:)

  2. At Veiled Secrets Reviews we try to always include something positive even if the reviewer didn’t like the book over all. I wont however edit the reviewers opinion otherwise I might as well review everything myself.

    If it helps, as a reviewer I don’t like posting bad reviews, I certainly wont do it just because I can. In fact I feel bad because I know it might hurt the author. For this reason I let my reviewers pick their own books from blurbs sent by authors or publishers hoping to ensure a higher number of books being reviewed by people who at least think the concept is interesting.

  3. I don’t choose books by reviews anyway but it disheatens me when I read a bad review & the commenters say things like “thanks, I won’t be buying that one”. A review ahould be a review. Just tell me what it’s about. I’ll decide whether I’d like it or not. Otherwise it should be called a “critique” which has it’s roots from “criticize” which has a negative connotation.

    I enjoy all reviews because I learn something from them all (good or bad).
    I don’t have respect for reviewers that aren’t accurate & lead me to believe they just skimmed the book e.g. a bad review was given because the reviewer didn’t see the connection between the hero & the BDSM house & he was the owner! Did she read the book?

    My other peeve is is when reviewers review a genre they hate. It’s a no win situation. You know it when they start with “I don’t like …. stories” and proceed to trash it. That is not helpful
    or productive.

  4. LOL… well, Rebecca, don’t shoot me, but I get a kick out of Mrs. Giggles… something about her sense of humor appeals to my inner smart ass, and that’s on the reviews she’s done of my books-she’s definitely tanked a few, too. I don’t tend to read her beyond those reviews, for the most part.

    I’m thick-skinned so I realize, it’s easier for me to say this than some, but I’d rather read a review of hers, and I know she’s READ the books than the ‘so-called’ squealing fan-girl reviews that go up on some sites before a book is even out-you know the ones that are like… Oh, I haven’t even read this book, but it’s the bestest thing ever because naturally everything she writes is the bestest thing ever…. With Mrs. G, you know she’s speaking a real opinion and she’s not just cooing and following an endless fan-girl stream… O.o

  5. I think you’ve hit it on the head here. A bad review is simply one reviewer’s opinion on that particular book. No matter how attached an author may be to their book, the book is not a stand in for them personally, and thus a bad review is not a personal attack. (Unless the reviewer is an immature idiot.) An author who attacks a reviewer (or has their friends do it) is simply demonstrating that they are far too immature to be involved in the publishing business.

    As a reader a bad review will not stop me from reading a book. Not enjoying one book will not stop me from trying another by that author. And, not enjoying multiple books will not stop me from recommending them to a friend who I think they are better suited to. What will immediately stop me is seeing an author who has attacked the integrity, intelligence, etc., of someone who has written a bad review. I will never read that author again, and will recommend the same to others who ask.

  6. Shiloh
    Sorry I’m not going to stop my
    “squealing fan-girl” devotion.
    You are stuck with me LOL.

  7. Lol… Well, you read before you squeal, though, from what I’ve seen. And if I ended up writing a piece of crap, you’re smart enough to recognize the piece of crap. 😉 makes all thd difference…

  8. If only more authors would follow your advice!!!!
    Us readers and reviewers can’t like everything…and what we do and don’t like is probably for completely different reasons.

    I even have a tendancy to stay away from books that have ALL postive reviews. No book is loved by all, sorry. If the review is attacks the author personally, that’s one thing, but if it attacks the plot and characters I can understand and respect the reviewer’s OPINION.

  9. If only more authors would follow your advice!!!!
    Us readers and reviewers can’t like everything…and what we do and don’t like is probably for completely different reasons.

    I even have a tendancy to stay away from books that have ALL postive reviews. No book is loved by all, sorry. If the review attacks the author personally, that’s one thing, but if it attacks the plot and characters I can understand and respect the reviewer’s OPINION.

  10. Nice post! I am glad to hear you say these things. There was some time ago I read a lot of posts about authors going after reviewers and it kind of made me sad and angry. Cos like you say, people have right to opinions, and there have been books I have hated, just to like another book the author has written. It’s a matter of taste.

    And I need those negative reviews, i would never buy a book that has all 5 on Amazon cos in the end there is not a single book on this planet that everyone will love

  11. The unfavorable reviews are the most difficult to write and honestly I cringe when someone leaves a comment on my blog saying they won’t read a book based on my review. (On the other hand I love when they say they’re going to go out and buy it ASAP because my review convinced them). But I know people will make up their own minds either way, my opinion is just one of many. Great post. 🙂

  12. Well, one thing that amuses me, FV…I know one person-and before anybody gets nosy, I am NOT naming names…LOL…but I know one person who several years ago commented on a blog after reading a review on one of my books-the reviewer didn’t like it-which is fine. But this commenter decided not to try the book- at the time. .

    Now whether this commenter remembers that or not? I dunno. But she ended trying the book a while later. And she loved it.

    It just goes to show, that even when you find a reviewer who generally has tastes that are similar to yours, you just never know. Even when I’m reading reviews, if there’s something about the book that appeals to me despite the review, I’m probably still going to try it. The only time the review might change my mind is if I’m already hovering on the fence, and if I’m there? Chances are I wouldn’t have bought it anyway.

  13. I’ve grown a thick skin because quite early I learned that gaining a reading base, continuing to get writing contracts were more important to me than good or bad reviews. I know of authors who get slammed in reviews, but but have a fierce following. Others who get fantastic reviews, but struggling with sales numbers.

    Frankly the review is for the potential reader because the book is already written. Ain’t a darn thing I can do about something I wrote a year or six months ago.

  14. I think I am one of the only reviewers who *loves* when an author questions my review. It helps me put things in perspective.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, if a reviewer is just plain nasty, I think an author has every right to say something. I’ve stopped visiting a few review sites because they are absolutely bitter, heartless women who don’t deserve my time, all because of the venom they put in their reviews.

  15. I agree about bashing a review, whether it’s from the author not pleased with a negative review or from another reader who disagrees because they loved/hated the book in question.

    Reviews are subjective, and tastes change over time. A book I hated today I might love a year from now or vice versa. Reviews are personal, and just about everyone had one or more hot buttons that can impact their reading experience. It’s not always logical but that doesn’t make it any less valid. But it does make things more interesting 🙂

  16. I find that if a reviewer didn’t like a book that I had and liked in the past, then I would read their reviews and get the books they didn’t like. I do the same with movies. The movie critic in our area and I do not agree so if he gives a poor rating to a movie, I know I will at least enjoy it if not love it. It is simply an opinion and nothing more.

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