Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Book Reviews Part 1

Handling Reviews
Book reviews, they are a part of every authors' life whether they like it or not.  I admit I do often check the reviews my two books have received on the web, although as of late I've tried not to do it as often.  Like most authors, I have gotten reviews that make me ecstatic, and leave me literally floating on air.  At the same  time, I have gotten reviews that make me want to put away my computer and never write another sentence again.  Naturally, there have also been those that fall somewhere in the middle. 

Since I started getting reviews ,I have had to learn ways to deal with those negative reviews that make me think twice about my abilities as a writer.  Normally, what happens is I sulk for a little bit after reading a bad review.  Sometimes it even kills my ability to write anything else that day.  Then I look at the good reviews I have gotten from other readers.  Finally, and this may sound terrible,  I look up authors I enjoy that have made the NY Times and USA Bestseller lists multiple times and read their 1 and 2 Star reviews.  They way I see it, if fabulous authors that I love receive negative reviews from time to time, anyone can.  Once I have gone through these 3 steps, I feel better and I am able to get back to work.

One thing I NEVER do is confront the reader who left the negative review.  Sometimes the idea of doing so is really tempting.  For example, I received a negative review by someone because they said it was not a Christian Romance and should not be in that category.  I wanted to write back and tell them that it is NOT in the Christian Romance category so I don't know where the reader ever got the idea it was.  However, as tempting as it was to reply I did not.  I ignored the remark and carried on.

What about the rest of you?  How do you handle negative reviews?  I'd love to hear your strategies.

Soon to come Part 2: When/Why I leave a review and Part 3 How important are reviews to you when it comes to buying a book.


  1. christina,
    yes, i do the same thing. I go online and read the 1 and 2 star reviews on some of my fav NYT bestselling authors. It helps lessen the sting. And it helps me realize that if these popular ladies get stinkers from time to time, so can a small time author. Seems to be part of the business of wrtitng and not everyone will like a book. The trick is to not let it get you down.

  2. Love your comments Christina...but while I don't comment on a negative review I will comment on an 'odd' review: I had someone report she only got 1/2 a book when she downloaded - commented for her to contact Amazon on that...she did & reported she got the rest of the book. I also had someone leave a 1 star review because I had not updated the original paperback version of an old book she bought for 1 cent! I did leave a comment on that - that only the ebooks were updated. I don't mind helping my author friends when 'odd' reviews are posted for them either...negative reviews..I look to see what the complaint was...and let it go unless it was something I missed - like those forever typos! LOL! Elaine Raco Chase

  3. I take the issues the negative review highlighted into consideration. Most times I find I can ignore them and know that person just didn't like the book and s/he's not my target audience. The one and only time I commented on a review is when the reader noted specific typos. I fixed them, then went and commented the errors had been fixed and thanked her for pointing them out.

    One thing I will point out, if your book is reviewed by a book blogger, you should at the very least thank them for their time, whether they liked the book or not. I do a series on my blog called Meet the Book Blogger and almost every one say they like an author to acknowledge that they reviewed their book. I've had a couple less than favorable reviews, but I simply say "I'm sorry it wasn't to your liking, but thank you for taking the time to write the review."

    If they liked your book, then definitely let the blogger know you appreciate it!

  4. Yep, I do it too, and I think many of us can attest to the benefit of looking at the 1 and 2 star reviews of other writers. I personally don't comment on good or bad reviews, and Christina, I got almost the same "Christian" comment on one of my books.

    I think the best thing that helps me is the support of fellow authors. I've met some really good friends who are honest, kind, and informative.

    The best thing I found for me is to write for myself. Trying to make everyone happy is an ungodly amount of work. As soon as I see my profession as "work", I'll stop writing.

  5. I only responded once, and that was to a reviewer who gave one of my books one star because it wasn't available in digital format. Since that's up to the publisher, not me, I did respond that the book would be out in digital format next April. But those 'non-reviews' really irritate me. (And due to some alignment of the stars, I was talking about reviews on my blog today, too.)

    Terry's Place

  6. Christina, you have a great attitude. The majority of your reviews are good. People like your books. Don't let the odd one or two get you down. If there is anything constructive in them, try to learn something from them. Or probably the best thing to do, is not to read the bad ones at all.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Liberty

  7. For a start, Christina, never doubt what you have managed to achieve so far. Having had the pleasure to have read one of your books, I am flummoxed as to how you even managed to get a bad review. Your story was wonderful.

    I love your advice here and your strategies. What a brilliant idea!

    1. Thanks so much Ellem May. I am glad you enjoyed my book

  8. Just count your blessings that they won't be reviewing your next book. I've found the majority of the negative reviews on mine to be somewhat amusing. I do take seriously any constructive criticism, but the ranting and raving about what they didn't like is usually funny, especially when they've missed the whole point. However, the one star knocks the sap out of an over-all five star average. That is painful. I suppose the best and safest revenge would be to kill them off in your next novel. Of course, change the character's name.
    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt