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Dealing with a bad book review

Updated on January 23, 2012

I was really happy when I got my first five star review. It made me feel proud and happy that at least someone enjoyed my work. But while I was glowing in my five star review, a week later I got a one star review on my second book. The reviewer tore my book to shreds. Basically it felt as thought the person had a personal grudge against me. After I’d read this review for the second time and it sank in, I burst out laughing. I honestly found it hilarious. Probably my way of dealing with negativity. Anyway what happened after that was interesting. My book started to climb up the sales rank slightly. So it wasn’t all bad. Bad reviews happen, brush it off and move on.

Don’t take it personally

A reviewer is entitled to their opinion. Always remember it is never an attack against you. If it feels like it ignore it. Could there be room for improvement in your writing? Perhaps. I appreciate reviewers who give constructive criticism. But when you get a reviewer who feels personally wronged because they picked up your book and read it – oh well – that really is their stuff to deal with.

It’s a fact of life that not everyone is going to like you. The world is a diverse place; people have different tastes and likes. That’s okay. The person who doesn’t like your book won’t read anymore of your books ‘Whew!’ They are not your target audience so let it go. I read someone stating on the kindleboards that they responded to a review. Personally I don’t think you should. That’s just my opinion. It doesn’t feel professional and if someone likes or hates your work that’s okay. Just let people be. Responding to a review could open a never ending debate about your work. Why justify what you wrote. If you believe in your work, then someone else will and if not then they are not the people your are writing for.

Use it as a positive

You can take it as a positive and take a step back and look at your work. Was there something wrong with the story line, can you improve on it somehow? Sometimes a bad review will point out something that’s lacking in your work, something you could’ve been blinded too. If this is the case fix it, improve it.

When my book got that review a part of me worried that people wouldn’t buy it anymore. It had the opposite effect. Trust that people will still make up their own minds in the end as to what they will buy. Also as a new author sometimes a bad review is better than no reviews at all. I read that it’s better to get negative press than to be ignored. When you get a bad review at least someone knows about you. You’re still getting your name out there. I also read that for a new author a bad review could increase sales by 15% but for a well known author it has the opposite effect and they loose sales. Just treat it as one of those things that comes with the territory.

Always keep writing.

Keep writing and don’t get discouraged. If I must be honest, I wasn’t really bothered by it. I’m stubborn that way and I also knew that not everyone will like my work. It didn’t stop me writing because I also remembered the good reviews. I remembered that they are my target audience. Why honour a negative review and stop writing? What about the ones who do enjoy your writing? Keep writing no matter what. If you enjoy what you write, I can guarantee there is someone who will enjoy reading what you write!


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    • lin8t profile image

      lin8t 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Jade, I'm happy that this has helped you, your comment has helped me too. It's why I write, hoping someone like you will find words that will encourage them. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Jade 5 years ago

      Oh, how I needed to see this today. Bless you.

    • lin8t profile image

      lin8t 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for your commetn Esmeowl12, it's true that we that our work is like our baby and we feel hurt when someone gives us a bad review. But it's just their opinion :-). All the best.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Right on -- no matter the kind of review; you've got your book out there and there's gonna be some folks that like it whether a reviewer does or not. As you say, it's only one person's opinion. Enjoyed the Hub and found it very useful. Best, Sis

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      This is great advice. I think when we've worked so long on a book and it is criticized, it is like you are criticizing our child. Of course, that feels terrible! Your tips are worth keeping in mind (maybe even in your pocket!).

    • lin8t profile image

      lin8t 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Even I know that's true, Thanks for voting up alocsin.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      And even bad reviews sell books better than no reviews. Voting this Up and Interesting.