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Respond to a Book Review?

Updated on August 9, 2012

Your Book is Published

My new book
My new book

Getting Reviewed

You've published your book. Now you are looking for reviews. You've asked family and friends to review your book. They comply and give you five stars. You're thrilled. Then it happens someone you don't know gives you a review and only two or three stars. You are shaken to your core.

Your first response is to get on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble or wherever this review was written and blast the writer. DON'T! Responding to a review whether good or bad reduces you to an amateur. It makes you look bad not the reviewer. You are now stooping to mud slinging and that never does anyone any good.

Look Carefully at the Review

Reread the review calmly. What is it the writer is finding fault with? Is it the story line? Is it the character development? Is there something else that is being objected to?

Now look at your work. Is the plot well done? Are the characters fully developed and believable? What is missing? What didn't work for this person? Have you set it in historical times and missed a significant event from that time? What could you have done better?

Make the review a lesson in improving your work. If this is a first book, take the suggestions and make the next book better. Improve those things the reader didn't like.

Not Everyone is Going to Love You

While friends and family support you and your efforts, not every reader is going to love you. Some don't like your genre but are attempting to read outside their comfort zone. Some just read for the purpose of picking apart the things you do.

The minute you respond to a review you set yourself up for ridicule. Reviewers are going to take pot shots at you as well as your book. If you must respond, write a letter to the reviewer pour out all your venom and hurt feelings, but don't send it. Put it in a file and pull it out the next time you have a bad review.

Bad reviews hurt, they are offensive, but as a writer you cannot respond to them. It only looks bad for you. It is counter productive. Step away, get some air and go back to work on what you do best.


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    • Duchessoflilac1 profile image

      Rebecka Vigus 5 years ago from Johns Island, SC

      Writing is a lot of trial and error before you find your voice, your style, and the confidence to put them together and make it work. Don't give up. Look at that short story now and see if you can rewrite it again, better.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This is no doubt where having a thick skin comes to light. A writer friend told me above all a good writer must have a thick skin because good or not everyone has their own opinion. I subjected myself to entering a short story contest awhile back. It was one of those which judged your work before even putting it into the contest. They tore my story apart. They sent it back with revisions to be made and wanted a rewrite. I was stunned. I poured my heart into this story. After reading the comments and rereading my story I understood why. They were right I went from past to present to much and my plot was very poor. I revised the story so much I did not recognize my own work. I never resubmitted it back to the contest.