Sunday, September 14, 2014

Swallowing a Bad Review

By Kristi Belcamino

My first book came out June 10 and while it has received mostly glowing reviews, I've always been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I mean, it is completely normal for an author to receive scathing reviews, right?

See, the thing is, I've been preparing for bad reviews way before I was published: I appointed my husband as my troll buster, followed @AvoidComments (Don't Read Comments) on Twitter, and stopped my Google search terms that would automatically send me posts with my name in it. Forget all that.

As of this week, I have two books out and they have a combined total of 91 reviews.

Out of those reviews, I can honestly say only two are real duds.

But here's the thing, those two stick with you.

As much as I promised myself I wouldn't read the reviews, I still do. I read them. I check Amazon a few days a week to read new reviews and to see my ranking. It's sad but true. I can't just pretend like they don't exist. At least not right now when the shine of having my first book out is still so exciting.

And here's the other thing about those two duds — more than anything I want to respond to them. I want to defend myself. Isn't that just human nature? But of course, even if I were able to respond, I know that is completely the wrong thing to do.

Before I was published, I read lots of articles about bad reviews.

I was even told that bad reviews sell more books than good reviews. (Go figure!)

A few people suggested thanking the person for reading and saying that while this particular book of yours wasn't right for them, you hoped that maybe another book of yours would be.

But you can't do that on Amazon and frankly, it sounds all good in theory, but I still think it is a bad idea. Better to just sit back and keep your trap shut.

Because there are some areas where you can respond — if a blogger hates you, you can email that person or leave a comment on the blog. But don't do it.

Or how about on Goodreads? You can message that person ... or not.

The only cure for getting over a bad review is to keep writing.

In fact, as a writer, I'd say that this little piece of advice — keep writing — is the only cure for 99 percent of the maladies we face as authors.

Scott nailed it in his post below and I love the hashtag @AlwaysBeWriting. I'm using it now too! Thanks Scott.

Dear readers, do you have any thoughts on bad reviews?

1 comment:

Alex Segura said...

Your book - any book - is not for everyone. Bad reviews are going to happen. I think the challenge is, like you note, not responding or engaging in some way, even if you're just sending a polite note. Let go and get back to writing - that's how I deal with a negative review. It also makes the positive reviews that much sweeter!