5 ways 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 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.

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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. Don’t give them that opportunity.
  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. 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.
  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.

writing, hooligans, author, footballOn 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.

Exciting times.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

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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7 thoughts on “5 ways 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!

  3. I just had a geezer write to me – in relation to one of my books – and say, “Fuck off and live in a country that has shariah law.”

    I’ve asked him Why? but he hasn’t come back as yet

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