The Bad Review

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Photo Credit: Brian Cuban

I’ve written about book reviews once before, but back then I wrote about writing them. Not this time. One of the things that becomes inevitable as soon as an author’s book becomes available to potential readers is not that they will undoubtedly buy it, but that negative reviews are on the way. Just do a little searching on Amazon and find your favorite book and read a few of its reviews. Sure you might think it’s the single greatest piece of literary work in the history of the universe, but someone out there will definitely disagree. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Sorry, but this post will not be a list of things for you to do once your book receives a negative review. I’m going to talk about something I saw this Saturday that made me sick. An author who I’ve never of before wrote about a very negative review of her work. So what did she do in response to this reader’s statements? She vowed to give similar reviews in the future because there are too many books that are shit (sorry) out there that she’s read herself. But that’s not all. Her book was evidently self-published by Smashwords and she took it off. Because of one review!

No I didn’t get a look at the review or the book, but are you kidding me? She’s going into her little shell because her writing is probably terrible. Suddenly the world is after her writing career because of this single review. Quite frankly, she’s a joke and likely has no future writing.

If people hate your work, then they do. Honestly, who cares? Write something better. That’s all.

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110 thoughts on “The Bad Review

  1. Unfortunately the world of writing is not a kiddie pool and we all have to learn to have a thick skin. It’s one of the hazards of publishing a book. Heck, if you send off query letters to agencies, you learn that even faster.
    I once wrote, not a review, but a critique of a book I was reading and how the author didn’t do his research as well as he should have. It was a book that was made into the film Lawless, with Shia Lebeouf. I actually had the author come unglued because I criticized his researching. While I’m sure he didn’t like what I had done, getting upset about one little critique when you are a published (and I mean traditionally with another book in the works) becomes a bit petty. It’s all part of the process. Am I looking forward to people not liking my books? Nope, but it’s all part of the territory.

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    • I just think it’s stupid. Except for the querying process that we all know is brutal, writing is no different from other work. Everything is always criticized. Whether it’s a book, a song, or a DIY class at Home Depot. So I hate it when writers try to be the victims because they got a bad review. What crap.

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      • It really is. Life is all about being critiqued. From your boss, to your parents to your girl/boyfriend. It’s gonna happen. Going off and pouting is really quite childish. It’s like the proverbial “I’m gonna take my ball and go home.”

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      • And I’m sure you’ve seen other writers on here do it. If not, I definitely have.

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  2. A bad review doesn’t bother me. I know that people have a preference. Actually, as a reader you learn this really quickly. I have read a few books with horrible reviews and I ended up loving the book. It just depends on the person.

    As a writer, I love when someone gives me a good review. But it’s not the end of the world if someone leaves a bad one. I write for myself and decide to share it with the world. They don’t have to like it. Sure a successful career comes from people liking what I do, but if I worry too much about the people who don’t like it, I will never get better and may end up losing myself in the process of trying to make everyone happy.

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  3. I think that part of it comes from the type of review. When you get a bad review that points out actual issues it can be upsetting, but you should also be able to learn from them.

    Saying “suck it up buttercup” to someone who has received a mean, spiteful, malicious review that doesn’t serve any purpose but to hurt the author is silly.

    Yes, not everyone will be pleased, but that doesn’t excuse the behavior of vicious trolls.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If an author is “hurt” by a review then they shouldn’t read them. Someone can tell me off in person and I’ll just laugh, much less some stranger who knows nothing about me and read my book.

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      • Again, I’m not talking about legitimate reviews. Trolling reviews are more like someone going to your boss/customers and spreading lies about your work just to get you in trouble/ feel better about themselves.

        It’s not really an issue of thick skin at that point, it’s directly affecting your source of income for their enjoyment.

        Lots of times these reviewers haven’t even read the books.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m engineering a batch of super thick skin as we speak. It will shield me from crap reviews and make me say: “who cares?” If anyone needs a few sheets of thick skin, maybe I can find it in my heart to donate some… Or not. 🙂

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  5. Lol my favorite is when people take trolling reviews seriously.. Btw, speaking of negative reviews have you made any progress on my book?

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  6. It’s my personal policy not to write a review if I can’t give it more than 3 stars. As an author I know the hard work that goes into writing a book, but if author asks me personally what I thought, I will try and be as constructive as possible. Some negative reviews can be constructive, when done right. Unfortunately most 1-stars I’ve read seem to have been written by angry, disgruntled people.

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  7. I feel that everyone will not like your writing. Negative reviews happen to all authors. I do feel that authors should read them and take some as constructive criticism. I had a few bad reviews and they talked about not being able to understand my character.

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  8. Ever see a review that is almost entirely positive, and then mentions one “error” in the writing that doesn’t actually exist (“The author totally doesn’t know anything about how Vikings really lived!” in a review of a futuristic science fiction novel in which there are no Vikings), and then gives the book 1 or 2 stars based on that? Would such a review be due to the book not being any good?
    I agree with the other commenters her who’ve said that there’s a difference between a bad review because the story wasn’t to that reviewer’s tastes or because the writing was technically flawed, and a bad review left by a troll for whatever reason trolls do such things.
    If someone doesn’t like your book because they don’t like that kind of story, it’s nothing to worry about; other readers will see the review, and think, “Hey, I DO like [whatever], so I’ll read this book.” If the review is bad because the writing is flawed, the author does have the option of doing something about that: learn to do better. (In my opinion, the technical aspects of writing are the easiest to get right — no one can tell your story for you, but you CAN get someone else to correct your spelling.)
    On the other hand, if someone leaves a terrible review even though they’ve never read the book (these tend to be the 1-star reviews that say nothing about WHY they gave it 1 star — trust me, if the reviewer has a real reason for disliking it that much, they’ll tell everyone), that is not the sort of thing that any author ought to chalk up to, “Oh, well, I guess it’s just because I’m not that good a writer yet and I have to do better next time.” Trolls often give bad reviews to books that ARE good, because they want to “eliminate the competition” or whatever, or because the author once gave a mere 3-starreview to a book that the troll gave a 5-star to, or because the troll thinks no one should write time travel stories ’cause they’re all rip-offs of some movie that came out last year…
    (Disclaimer: I have no published books, so none of these ‘examples’ are based on personal experienced, only observation. Except the bit about Vikings, which is derived from a POSSITIVE comment on a short story I wrote many, many years ago… that contained no Vikings.)

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  9. Ironically, high school has made me learn this lesson. Why should I care what one individual says?

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  10. Usually, bad reviews make me want to read a book more, I guess it may have something to do with my oppositional syndrome. So my writing sux? Great! Because I never get enough of telling someone to bite me, because that’s about as much as I care 😀

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  11. So refreshing to hear someone speaking their mind about shit (sorry) books that are out there and the bizarre behaviour of other authors. I have alway been led to believe this was a massive blogging faux par – but did it nonetheless. Glad to have a fellow believer in free speech on board. Keep up the good work 🙂

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  12. Loved your blog. It helps keep this whole writing thing in perspective. Thanks.

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  13. Pingback: E.L. James Launches a Twitter Q&A, and it Goes Exactly how You’d Expect | Write me a book, John!

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