Negative Reviews
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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?  

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  • Hi Jorja, I recently committed the cardinal sin of indie authors and left a comment for a bad reviewer. He / She had two complaints - one was the work had too many sex scenes. Okay, I could take that one on the chin - maybe I need to move my work out of the romance genre. The other problem was editing. After shelling out a substantial amount for a professional editor and beta readers and having the work bounced around a critique group, I had to know what the reviewer saw that the other ten and myself did not. So I asked him / her point blank what were the editing issues. To date, there has been no response. For me, it fortifies my thinking that you'll get slammed simply because someone has access to the internet. It doesn't make it easier. It doesn't make me not whine and moan and cry sometimes, but I'm learning to keep writing in spite of it.

  • You said it.  Man, those Goodreads stars and their cold shoulders!  I guess I should be a grown-up about them but they get under my skin when there's no real explanation for the way they feel.  To be fair, though, lately I've been just as crazy even when they do explain.  

    There was a time when I really appreciated bad reviews, because even if they aren't necessarily constructive, they can still indicate some flaw in my approach--perhaps my book description was misleading, or the tie-ins to other stories which seem self-evident to me are apparently not.  And I frankly lived for constructive critiques because they usually pointed out some embarrassing structural deficit that'd escaped me, due to having no editor.

    Now my work is vetted by someone I trust and I have much more professional covers; I backtrack and re-write descriptions and pay for formatting.  So I suppose part of my whining is due to the fact that some folks are just not going to like what I write.  And they are allowed to not only dislike it--regardless of the work involved--they are allowed to tell the Internet.  So there ya go. 

    I will recover.  It helped to just admit it.  Thank you all, and double thank you Laurel :)

  • Hi Jorja,

    The Amazon reviews don't bother so much as the Goodreads ratings, mainly because on Goodreads you can give what I call "drive-by reviews". A reader can just drop a low review and not have to back it up with some text. Those are the ones that have me pulling out my hair! I'll just stare at them expecting a paragraph of reasoning to appear and no can do. It's like some random person on the street walking up to me and declaring they hate me with a straight face and just walking away leaving me behind stunned! Ugh!!

    However, I have to keep reminding myself that reviews are opinions and everyone has them. As a writer you have put so much of yourself out there for the public to love/hate/be indifferent about. I've found that reminding myself that I truly do rock just for taking the fantastic leap of finishing a book and putting it out there. Regardless of reviews I've accomplished something that most people tell themselves they want to try but never attempt and it gets me through the tough days.

    I usually handle bad reviews as a push to be better with the caveat that the bad review has to be at least constructive in form. I'm not going to lie and say I haven't felt like complete pooh after reading some bad reviews, BUT after wallowing in self pity for a hot minute I try to see if the critique is something I can improve on or if it's just straight up opinion that I can do nothing about. I had a reader give me two stars because she flat out just didn't like my hero. Since I LOVED my hero and he was meant to be somewhat alpha, there wasn't really anything I could take away from that but to shrug it off (after a week lol!) and walk away.

    Keep your head up and carry on! RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE and ROCK ON!!!

    ~Laurel

  • Hey ladies--I'm bumping this because lately I've been having a hard time using my usual approach re: bad reviews...  I'm unable to ignore them!  I don't know what's gotten in to me.  

    I'm thinking about asking my tech guy/partner in crime/husband to block the ip addresses of amazon/author central/goodreads just so I can't torment myself.  I think a lot of it has to do with crawling out from under a serious case of writer's block after a car accident last year; I am just not myself, apparently, even though I feel like more than enough time has passed to ditch any remaining doldrums.

    Has anyone else had to resort to these tactics?  What else has worked when it comes to just ignoring the negative?  And thank you in advance for all the awesome advice already in this thread.

    --J

  • 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.

  • 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.

  •  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  [email protected]