Respond to a Book Review?
Your Book is Published
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.