I need to know how you all handle negative reviews. It seems that no matter how many positive reviews I receive it's the negative ones that I focus on. I know that everyone has the right to their opinion but I always take it personal. I need a little advice. Do you all read the negative reviews? If so do you respond to them?
It's natural as artists of any kind to be affected by negative criticism. I read them because even though some people are overly negative, there's always the chance that a grain of something helpful can be found if you weed through the petty stuff. After my initial read, during which I argue out loud and say everything I'm thinking in rebuttal to their critique, I take a breather and remember that even the greatest writers in our history received negative criticism. Then, I reread it to see if I can glean anything that will help me with my next book. I also reread the positive reviews/critiques (over and over again).
Thank you so much Dariel! That is probably the best advice I've received. It's my first book and my friend told me to tell the "haters" to go to hell. I respect everyone's right to express their opinion. However, some people seem to enjoy being mean. I will take your advice but I think I need to let a little time pass so that I don't address their comments emotionally.
Comment on NEGATIVE REVIEWS. I am going to offer a hardline approach: Selling books is a business! If someone does not buy my product, they don't need it. Fine! I am on to the next customer behind them who does need it, and try to make it easy for that customer to find me! Every writer has a story and only certain readers can get something out of that story. THAT PERSON IS YOUR CUSTOMER. Write for the ones who will understand and love it. Then put it out there. Give it an obvious title so your customers can recognize it easily. Price it low. Offer it constantly, trying to put it in their face, and arrange your own book reviews! I invite all she writes writers to join our MUTUAL PRODUCT REVIEW GROUP and make reviews happen yourself! We are not NYTIMes, but plenty of movies have gotten bad reviews but sold out to the public! Just remember: they hated Copernicus! But today he is VERY famous. I for one don't care if I get bad reviews. I know what my books are worth,and to whom. I am trying to reach THEM. And one more word if it helps...success is not success. Why are you writing? To be loved by reviewers, by the publishers, by the media, and god forbid by the professional marketers? What is your REAL opinion of those people? Did you write for them? NO? Then don't sell to them! Make it easy for your readers to find you. That's the only real rule. www.shewrites.com/mutualproductreviewgroup firstname.lastname@example.org
Dariel Raye gave sound, common-sense, mature and evolved advice--which I need to take.
I might read negative reviews once--but for the most part I try to ignore them--everybody wants to be a back-seat author, it seems.
One of most hurtful reviews came from the NY TIMES... The reveiwer said of my folk tale picture book-- that the illustrations were "the book's best asset"--negating the story---which was just untrue. It was my first Times review--I was so hurt--I threw the paper across the room.
The book won awards based solely on the language--but then you have another reviewer who said the illustrations were ugly and scary...there was more against the illustrator --it almost seemed personal---it was a vicious (attack) review
And then sometimes the negative reviews are just---dumb. I have some of the silliest reviews on my kid's book. Reviews which could not cogently state a critique---but used words like
--oh yuck! I wanted to read but i couldn't understand the (southern) dialect--this clearly is not for kids
Prefacing the critique with "oh yuck" seems suspect. The only time I pay attention is on Good Reads or Amazon where you are rated and your score can go down --and THE NEGATIVE REVIEWERS KNOWS THIS
That's when an author rallies up friends and colleagues ask them to counter with positive reviews to negate the bad ones.
Thank you for replying to my post. I know this is a subject that hits a nerve with most authors. The comments you described are terrible. You can't be responsible for the ignorance of others. I guess the reviews bother me so much because I would never write something that I knew would adversely affect someone.
I appreciate thoughtful, kind negative reviews. I think I can always learn from them. If it is petty or not helpful, I'll simply off a 'thank you.' No comments, no responses, no arguing. I think that just gives the person attention they don't deserve.
I guess I've always subscribed to the philosophy, if you don't have anything good to say don't say anything at all. You know what they say about opinions. But I understand what you mean. I've been pretty good about ignoring rude comments.
That's so true, Kathy! You can only escape ignorance by ignoring it. That's a whole different story. LOL. Reviews are SOooo subjective, and thankfully most of the bad ones I've gotten have been about petty, silly things like "something about the type used in the book bothered me." It was courier type. Okay??? Also, ANYBODY can review a book, which translates to people who wish they could write but can't. As artists, we are always on the front lines to be attacked by envious, mean-spirited people who wish they had the courage and/or ability to do what we do. As you see, I can go on about this for days....maybe we should write a book about it :-/
"maybe we should write a book about it :-/ "
Something to consider! Lemons into lemonade ;)
You have to learn how to read reviews, and you do so, by reading LOTS of reviews for different books. Go to your favorite authors, and see how people respond to their works. Chances are, even they have haters. Shakespeare has haters, so does Jane Austen, JK Rowling etc. Reading reviews also helps you to guard yourself against falling into common pitfalls, such as bad editing. If you read reviews of selfpublished works, you will notice that bad editing is something that really irritates people. You can guard yourself against this, by either hiring an editor or spending heaps amounts of time editing and polishing yourself.
Aside from bad editing, there are many other reasons why people may dislike a book, and even more reason why they may choose to give constructive or nonconstructive criticism (even a disliked book can earn good criticism, even with a 2 star rating; it's mostly the nasty folks who go all out destroying a book, and you cannot fight nastiness - it's a waste of energy).
So, accept the haters. That is: learn how to discern a 2 star constructive review from a 2 star destructive review. Mentally discard the destructive, and focus on the constructive ones.
I could not help it, I looked up your book on Amazon.My first response was: wow! 21 reviews (that alone is a impressive feat), and only 2 bad ones!
Then I started reading the reviews, and my conclusion is that your book must definitely have something. The most valuable review - in my humble opinion - is the 4 star with the praise on the story and the criticism on the editing. Now, had this person have a pet peeve with editing, she could have easily given you a 2 star. But she did not. She recognized the problems, but still appreciated the work on the whole.
Another way to read your current reviews: they give the impression that you must be a good writer, just not so good a publisher (yet). I cannot help but wonder how your book would have ranked had you indeed spend more time (and money, perhaps) on the editing part. I hope you will recognize this as a compliment, because that's how I mean it.
Final word, by uploading your unfinished book onto Kindle (as a way to motivate yourself to finish the manuscript - as is what you wrote on your blog) you have made yourself unnecessarily vulnerable to critique. For the purpose you intended, you would have done better had you uploaded the work to an online critique group. After all, your book wasn't ready yet...
I'd say: edit your book (or have someone else do it), and then republish.
I have found someone to edit the book and I found software that does some editing as well. I understand what you're saying the reviews could be worse. I have looked at some of my favorite authors (Trisha Thomas, Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin) I know that some of the books I adore received terrible reviews. I know I can't expect everyone to love what I write. Like I said in a previous response I need to work on developing a thicker skin. I've gotten so wrapped up in worrying about reviews that I haven't been writing. I just keep thinking about pleasing readers rather than writing because I love it.
I know how your feel. Although it can be difficult not to take the negativity personally, I keep in mind that everyone is different. If I could write a book that everyone liked I'd have the answer to world peace:) I read all reviews as some actually can offer room for improvement or at the least provide a good laugh. As for responding to any review, I don't believe in it as it is difficult to do without making the author look bad.