Updated: Jul 10, 2020
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 some snot nosed communist bastard 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.
They may even base their review off of their dislike for you...WHICH BY THE WAY IS A SHITTY THING TO DO.
And no one has the right to say nasty things about you, personally ever. And they should have severe consequences lobbied against them. However, in this digital age it is very easy for people to take advantage of hiding behind a screen and leveling crappy reviews for the wrong reasons.
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.
Now 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, 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.
If those same racial slurs or derogatory remarks are made in the context of your characters and the environment of the book, and not just to show you are an asshat, well that's a slightly different story. You can write that story, doesn't mean you won't make someone angry and they won't like it. That shouldn't keep you from writing it. You just can't get mad when someone takes offense to it.
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. You may think they are stupid. You may think they are the devil incarnate. But you have no right to belittle them or tear them down for their review.
Like wise reviewers don't get to spew crap like personally hateful things geared towards the author or their family, or something not related to the book. If you do that as a reviewer, all bets are off. You no longer get to hide behind, 'Well I didn't like the book, so....'
But let's leave the trolls out of this discussion.
You have to accept that not everyone will like what you write. Some will hate it. That's the price of doing business. You have to build up a thick skin. Trust me, I cried over my first bad review...then I looked at the heading and died laughing...this is that review...
Reviewed in the United States on April 6, 2018
Decent idea written without the aid of a editor. So many commas! So many misspelled, misused, missing and/or misplaced words. Beyond the grammar and spelling issues, the author was big on telling and showing, beating the reader over the head with concepts or plot points. So often I would finish reading a paragraph or two explaining something that should have taken all of a sentence to convey, then a character would literally say it as well. Why not just scrap the descriptors and go with the dialog version? The sex scenes were decent. Strangely, they were probably the most competently written portions of the story, which is sad because many thriller fans will probably find them too explicit. I've read worse self published/unedited on my kindle, so the second star is really to connote that it could have been worse.
For the record, it was professionally edited by an editor who worked for a major publishing house...I called her up and told her she was to blame...we had a good laugh over this...Got to love that heading though...LOL!
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...YOU SHOULD NEVER RESPOND TO A REVIEWER'S COMMENTS.
If they say something inappropriate about you, contact the retailer to have the review removed. Other than that, don't respond.
You will only add fuel to the fire, you won't win, and you will look bad.
Thank goodness a few of my fans called the reviewer out for her complete lack of knowledge when it comes to the word hardily. I had to almost bite my tongue off not to reply.
I've been fairly lucky. I have had more good reviews than bad. I recently shared a review on Twitter regarding a 3-star review on Goodreads. I had a good laugh over it and moved on. I have my share of one-star reviews, too.
To be honest, I rarely read my reviews. The only time I pay attention is when I first release a book. I want to see if the reviews are based on structure, head hopping, or something else that can be fixed. I can't fix it if you just hate my book because you don't like sex in thrillers. Or murder most foul.
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.
**If you want to help an author, leave a review. Good or bad, just base that review off the book. Not your personal issues. And for the love of Mike, if you read fantasy and then read say, one of my books, don't ding it because you don't like crime thrillers with viscous killers and lots of angry sex...descriptions of books give you the reader a clear idea of what you are getting into. Don't hold that against us. If you have problems with the characters being boring or all telling no showing, or slow action...those are valid no matter what genre you read.**