Authors – why you shouldn’t ignore bad reviews #wwwblogs #bookreviews

Alison Williams Writing

one-star-frown

The one or two star review. It strikes fear into the heart of every author. There are reams of articles about how to handle bad reviews everywhere. And most of them give the same advice.

Ignore them, they say. Scroll right on past. Don’t take it to heart. All authors get bad reviews. Not everyone will like your book. Maybe the reviewer had an ulterior motive. Forget about it. Move on. Keep your head up.

Well, yes. To all of these. But also, no…

Writing is hard. I know that, I’m an author. You invest huge amounts of time and effort into your writing. It can be a pain. And it’s terrifying having your work out there, where it can be picked apart. Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone could bear all that in mind when they write a review of your book?

But why should they? No one has…

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21 thoughts on “Authors – why you shouldn’t ignore bad reviews #wwwblogs #bookreviews

  1. I’ve commented over on the original post – what I’ll say here is that the Amazon-style review (which is also hooked into their ranking/visibility/recommendation system) is more akin, usually, to a blog comment than the old-school style review essay published in mainstream magazines (well, the ones that still have books columns… sigh…). The thing is that, certainly here in New Zealand, the literary world is fundamentally a bully culture in which ‘reviewers’ more often than not launch lengthy personal abuse against an author – including comments that would be defamatory outside the context of ‘review’ – and then cower behind the pretense of being ‘dispassionate’ or ‘robust’. Any who reasonably object to it risk being targeted by those doing it as ‘weak’ – underscoring the way that snobbish bullying has become so deeply entrenched over here. I’ve had my share of such targeting – and the funny thing is, not one of those doing it has had the personal integrity either to approach me for the facts about what they’re saying, or to meet me in person. Not one. Seems to speak volumes, really. I mean, what are these people afraid of?

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      • Yes, you’re right on all counts. The problem for me is that this behaviour, here in NZ, costs authors income – I’ve had one book in particular whose sales figures demonstrably plunged after a two-page piece of worth-denial abuse about it was published in the leading literary mag. I had it read for content and yes, I had a case, but I was also advised that the only people who financially win on such things are the solicitors. Sigh. The guy who wrote the abuse was my own thesis supervisor. As for the quality of the book? It was one of my titles that, when submitted to the Royal Historical Society at University College in London, led to them electing me a Fellow on merit of my academic scholarship. And yet to the local New Zealand community I was less than dirt. Um… and that, your honour, is why I also wandered off to write science fiction about hot lesbian science chicks… (this isn’t hyperbole. I did.)

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        • ‘The Establishment’ recognised the worth of your work, so write whatever you WANT to write, Matthew – Bad reviewers are 10 a penny – Good Authors / Storytellers are not so readily found 😀

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  2. Whoa, Chris…..Zoe could not WAIT to tell me! naw, I just …ahem….happened to be online. Ah well, that’ll teach me to do these high-tech things first thing in the morning. Tell me, where do I get those stickers ya’ll use all the time (and do they have bananas)?! lol

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    • Naughty Zoe 🙀 Do you mean these little icons? 🤔🤗😻🍌🦍❤️😻 They’re on my iPad – tap the little smiley icon 😃 Bottom left of spacebar and you’ll find them ❤️❤️❤️

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  3. I don’t give reviews of 1 or 2. If I can’t give at least a three, I contact the author privately and explain as nicely as possible why I didn’t review the book, thereby saving the author public embarrassment. I don’t understand why some people feel they have to leave obnoxious or degrading reviews. Author’s put a lot of time and effort into writing and not everyone is going to like it. If it doesn’t suit you, get over it and move on to something that is more to your liking.

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  4. Great article! (I’m sure that’s what Zoe meant, even as she reminded us of another’s great advice. She is nodding yes, and asked me to say that she will, in fact, reblog this piece.)

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  5. The best advice was already given here previously: “Never ever ever ever respond to a bad review!” The operative word being “respond.” Not responding is a good thing. Ignoring is not. Read them all and pay attention to the one and two star reviews. From them, take whatever will make your book a better one. And remember, every writer needs a good editor. (My human asked me to add that last bit there.)

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