5 ways for authors to handle bad reviews.

author,writing,review,amazon,ebook,self publishingFor any writer, be it of book, script, article or blog, reviews are not just important, they are vital.

This is especially true of those just setting out along the rocky path of penmanship and who have followed the self-published author route.

However, as much as we’d like every review to be a glowing endorsement of our creativity, the reality is that not everyone is going to like what we produce. Sadly, those readers are increasingly happy to hit the internet and slaughter both a book and its author if they feel disappointed or worse, cheated.

That is their right of course, they are customers after all, but make no mistake, when this happens to you (and it will happen) it hurts. Bad. After all, if you’ve put your heart and soul into a book, having the former ripped from your chest and publicly stamped on is not exactly a barrel of laughs.

Just one of many I’ve had over the years.

Yet the sad fact is that no matter how good a writer you are, bad reviews are an inevitability and dealing with them goes with the territory. 

So how do you do it?
  1. Accept them for what they are: an individual opinion. Yes, they’re tough to accept and trust me when I tell you that a bad review can eat away at you forever. However, if you’re happy to wallow in the affirmation of a 5* review, you’re got to learn to take the 1* criticism. 
  2. Never respond. Whilst it’s always tempting to rip into a bad reviewer like a rabid dog, leaving aside the fact that it’s bad manners, it’s also inviting trouble. Trolls love a good author spat and if they get hold of you they can do more damage to both your book and your career than you can ever imagine so don’t give them that opening.
  3. Develop a thick skin, and fast. The more books you produce, the more negative reviews you’re going to get. Conversely, you’re also going to get more positive reviews so keep re-reading those to balance things out.
  4. Be honest. Reviews aren’t just feedback, they’re market research so if you’re getting more bad than good, it might well be that there is actually some truth in what’s being said. So whereas good reviews will always tell you what works, bad ones will often tell you the rest. Use both as learning tools and use that information to help you make your next book better.
  5. Enjoy them. Even a bad review means that someone has read your book, YOUR book! Be proud of that and remember, not only does each and every review push your book up the amazon rankings, it also means income. Why do you think authors are so desperate for them? Even bad ones.

Away from books, my next movie, the thriller Three Greens, is moving swiftly toward production with casting of the major roles currently underway. In addition, I am thrilled to announce that another script has been given the green light and with finance in place, is also heading toward casting.

I can’t say much about this new project, but I can guarantee that it’s going to cause quite a stir!


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football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

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6 thoughts on “5 ways for authors to handle bad reviews.”

  1. I don’t really mind the odd bad review. If all my reviews are good then I’m not being controversial enough. One of my favourites was;

    “Garbage, the greatest load of pretentious nonsense that I ever had the misfortune read”

    And I absolutely loved this one, which made me wonder why she read the book in the first place;

    “Badly written, uninteresting, nasty attitude towards everything and everyone, except, for some reason, a few of his highly obnoxious colleagues. An altogether unpleasant bunch of people with whom to spend more than five minutes”

  2. It’s not my experience that all so-called “reviewers” have actually paid for books. In fact I’d go further: there are sad folk out there who lurk around Goodreads and so on and simply click 1 star for the fun of it. You can spot them a mile off, but they bring your averages down. Some people say it’s a great book then give it 1 star somehow – I think that’s a ‘keyboard skills issue’.

    On the other hand, a 3-star or 4-star review is well worth reading. Once.

    Interestingly, the very first piece of advice I ever received as a fiction author was “develop a very, very thick skin”. It was also the best advice I ever received.

    Good article, by the way.

    1. Gordon, I found one reviewer on Goodreads had given my book ‘Grit – The Banter and Brutality of the Late-Night Cab Driver’ a 1 Star rating, which is unusual for that book. I’m well aware that some people can get a little precious over humour they don’t ‘get’ but Grit gives you exactly what it says on the tin. Nobody who reads it can be surprised at what they find between the covers. So out of interest I thought I’d read his review.

      He didn’t write one! What good is that? He goes by a very grandiose name, by the way, and you’d think that such an oracle on books would have some constructive criticism, but GET THIS …..

      On January 22nd last year he reviewed no fewer than 154 books, and of those he rated 143 of them with a 1 Star!!!

      These, by the way, included some Harry Potter books and even a couple of Bukowski’s in there!!

      He’s given seven 5 Stars, two 4 Stars, one 3 Star, one 2 Star and 143 one Stars!

      The seven 5 Stars, by the way, include;

      • A Dr Seuss book
      • The Giving Tree, which is a children’s book
      • The Life of Pi, of all things, which is by all accounts a difficult book to read
      • Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, again not really suitable for a child
      • Two space saga type books
      • The Hunger Games.

      What kind of person would categorize that collection as the best books he’s ever read, yet rate Charles Bukowski a one Star?

      To draw a positive, at least one person on the planet rates my writing as equal to that of Bukowski!

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