Monday, January 14, 2013

Dealing with Bad Reviews

Every person who has ever written a book has gotten a negative review...the dreaded 1-star Amazon review.  And they are hard to deal with.

It's like someone looking you in the face and telling you that your kid is ugly.  It definitely hurts.

Before I uploaded my first book on Amazon, I listened to many authors' advice on how to deal with negative book reviews and the first thing they said was "do not respond to them".

I thought that was a given.  It never crossed my mind to ever respond directly to any review, good or bad.  As I started paying attention to what other authors were doing, I was shocked to see that some authors actually respond to reviews and their responses to negative reviews are just as shocking as the review itself.

When I received my first 1-star review, I cried.

Then I stopped paying attention to negative reviews.  I've heard other authors say that you should read and digest all your reviews, good or bad, but I can't do that.

I'm not the type of person who can let things go easily.  I dwell on what the reviewer said and why they would say such mean things, even if all they said was "this book was stupid.  I didn't like it."  That sort of review helps no one.  It's not good feedback.  It's just one person being mean.  But still, that is the main kind of review that affects my writing.  It puts me in a bad place where I second guess everything I write because one person didn't like it.

I've gotten bad reviews   I know when I get them, but I do not read them.  I have someone else read it and let me know if there was anything useful in the review that I could use to become a better writer.  I also do not write negative reviews.  It's the age old adage that my mother taught me..."if you don't have something nice to say, don't say nothing at all."

Authors write books that they love.  They tell the story that is in their head.  Not everyone is going to love that story.  Not everyone is going to care.  Which is fine.  Authors should not try to write for everyone.  I don't.  I can't.  I don't know what everyone wants to read.  I can't even try.  Half the time, I don't know what my own readers want out of me, until they tell me.

I've been reading books way longer than I've been writing them.  I still read way more than I write.  And it irritates me when I find out that someone has left a bad review on a book that I enjoyed.  You know what that means...difference of opinion.  Neither opinion is wrong but, it's still just one person's opinion.  As an author, I cannot let one person's opinion completely derail my writing, especially when my livelihood depends on my books.

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