Lynda's Blog

Bad Reviews, Oh My - What’s a Writer to Do?

Ever get a bad book review?  

Every author has. What to do? Can you do anything? Should you do anything? Want my advice? Here it is for what it’s worth. First, don’t sweat it. Bad reviews happen. It’s a fact of life. Second, no matter how much you want to do it, never respond in kind. Whatever you do, don’t attack the reviewer in person, or on the internet, anywhere. In the end, right or wrong, you will lose. You will be the bad guy. Some writers have actually confronted the reviewer and it didn’t turn out well for the writer. Besides, what is one bad review in the scheme of things? If you really need to do something, yell into a pillow, or at the top of your lungs to no one at all. Jump up and down, punch a wall, or a punching bag. Write a letter to the reviewer, but don’t mail it. Rip it up. Write yourself a blog post, but don’t post it. Do anything to get it off your chest, but don’t publicize it. Then, take a deep breath and write it off. Brush yourself off and move on. After all, what is a bad review anyway even if it is made public? On amazon et al.

Face it, not everyone is going to love your book. It never fails that someone out there is just going to hate your book for one reason or another. No matter how well written your book is. No matter how good the story is, someone is going to attack it and put it down. It may not even be your book they actually hate. Perhaps, they got up on the wrong side of the bad, or lost a bet. Sometimes, that is all it takes for someone to write a bad review. Personally, after years of reading and writing reviews, I’ve come to see a pattern in reviews on line. See if you see the pattern the next time you’re on-line. Where there are a lot of good to great reviews for anything, not just books, there will always be one or more bad reviews for that same item. Usually it’s not much of a review, just a few words that they didn’t like it. Others are quite detailed and hostile. Don’t sweat the bad reviews. Any review is better than no review. As most celebrities and those in the fame game will tell you, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, except the publicity you never receive. Bad reviews-Oh My. What’s a Writer to Do? Nothing, just brush yourself and move on. That’s my humble advice anyway. Keep writing, move onward and do your best! That is all anyone can do.


S. J. Francis

Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al.

4 Responses

  1. I love this post. If you get a bad review, at least someone thought enough about your book to want to post it. That's the only positive I can think of. Getting few or no reviews may be worse. I'm still not sure about that, but I'll let you know if I figure it out. I'd be tempted to try to get a bad review removed if someone posted on Amazon or any other site because they wanted to do-me-in because of something other than my book. I'm in human resources. It's possible. I think of people going through custody battles, bad divorces. What if some of the angry parties stooped to a horrible review to exact revenge? The problem with any of these scenarios is the site probably can't get into those details and they wouldn't want to take "he said, she said" information as fact.

  2. Hello and thank you for the note about Shattered Lies.
    I'm so very glad you enjoyed it. If you ever find the time, I hope you can leave a review for it.
    S.J. Francis

  3. You speak the truth re 'Bad Book Reviews'. I was raised on the old adage 'you can't please all of the people all of the time'. I get over the disbelief then use whatever useful, constructive criticism is present in the comment to improve the manuscript. I will say that in a few instances, it becomes clear the 'expert' doesn't get the intent of the piece and in those cases, I move on knowing that he/she is out of his/her area of expertise or genre. It happens and comes down to a choice of remaining true to yourself or to someone who doesn't have any real interest in your style of writing.

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