Updated: May 2
Why are we so upset when a reader leaves a bad review of our book?
I mean, I can see the obvious reasons. All that work put into a one book. We breathed life into it, our characters, everything. We sacrificed time with our families and friends to finish our masterpiece.
Ant then someone reads it and POOF, all that hard work down the drain by one bad review...
For Pete's sake, get over yourself.
It's someone's opinion. They can love or hate your book. As an author, it's very hard not to take a bad review of our book, not us, to heart. The fact is, the minute you put anything in front of the world, you will get people who don't like it and will tell you so.
It's their opinion. They have a right to it.
Does that mean you should censor your content or not write things that others will find offensive? No. I don't think so.
Word of caution, if you write say a book about how you hate blacks, or whites, or gays, women, Muslims, Christians...you get the drift...and all you are doing is saying hateful things about anyone or any group, more than likely 1. retailers won't allow it to stay published and 2. people will slam you for it. Doesn't mean you can't write it. Hell, write what you want. Just remember, whoever reads it has the right to say it sucks...And take you to task.
You, as the author, do not have the right to tell a reviewer they are wrong. Or that they don't have a right to their opinion about your book.
You may not like it. But you have no right to belittle them or tear them down for their review.
It is human nature for us to read what everyone is writing about our books. When it's good, it motivates us. When it's bad, we end up on the floor in the fetal position. (With an empty bottle of whiskey...if you don't drink, empty carafe of coffee.)
Not a good look for anyone.
Should you always discount bad reviews? No.
If you are getting a slew of the same thing, say something like...'the story was good, but the grammar was that of a first grader'...or 'I couldn't tell who was talking or where I was in the story. I found myself re-reading passages to understand what was going on...' Those are bad. Those reviews are telling you to reedit your book. And those you should pay attention to.
One steadfast rule for me...YOU SHOULD NEVER RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEW COMMENTS. Engaging with reviewers who leave positive reviews is great. I like to thank them or share those reviews. But I don't respond to negative ones. It's their opinion and they have the right to it. It is not my place to argue with them. I'm grateful they took the time to give my book a try.
You have to learn to look past bad reviews. If they address something you can fix, fix it and republish. And keep in mind that those reviews won't keep someone from reading your book. Often, the opposite happens.
Don't let a bad review take up space in your head without paying rent.
Don't let a bad review keep you from writing.