For 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 have followed the self-publishing route. Like it or not, good reviews sell books.
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. That is of course, their absolute right but the problem for the author is that if someone buys a book they also obtain the right to hit the internet and slaughter both the book and the author if they feel disappointed or worse, cheated.
This is obviously great when it happens to a rival but when it happens to you, and it will, it hurts. Bad. After all, if you’ve put your heart and soul into writing a book, having the former ripped from your chest and publicly stamped on is not exactly a barrel of laughs.
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?
- 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.
- 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. Don’t give them that opportunity.
- 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.
- Be honest. Reviews aren’t just feedback, they’re market research. If you’re getting more bad than good, it might well be that there is actually some truth in what’s being said. Good reviews will always tell you what works, bad ones will often tell you the rest so utilise both as learning tools and use that information to help you make your next book better.
- 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.
On the subject of books, I’m currently working on the third book in The Crew/Top Dog trilogy and all being well, I’ll be announcing details of my next movie project within the next few weeks. It’s something I’ve been working on with a mate of mine for a while now and we have a brilliant producer and a fabulous director attached so we should cause some ripples with it. I will warn you though, it’s very different from anything I’ve ever done before.
Further information at dougiebrimson.com