I got a bad review today:
Very poorly written book with a non existent storyline. It reads as though it was written by a five year old for five year olds. The worst type of pulp imaginable, and I like chick lit!
I have had the misfortune to read some rubbish in my time but this book plunges new depths of dire.
It was so bad that I placed my iPad in a drawer, locked it and threw away the key.
It's on Dream On ~ which is one of the best reviewed of all my books, with a blah blah blah amount of four and five reviews across many sites.
Definitely a troll ~ he hated Dream On so much he bought and 'read' Full Circle, the sequel! And I discovered who it was because he added his Twitter handle to a review of another book he bought: 'How to use Twitter to sell your book'....
Second update ~ he's now removed both reviews. Turns out he was miffed at being blocked by me on Twitter.... be careful who you block! Actually, I wish he'd left the 1* ones on, they were funny (not in the way he intended them to be, of course).
....continuation of original post....
When I first read the above, it made me feel a bit pissed off (okay, and totally talentless and useless!), as bad reviews tend to. Then I looked again, and checked the other reviews by this 'Amazon Customer' - no other books reviewed that I could see, and thought, oh, might be a troll, then. Especially as it doesn't say anything about the book apart from how awful it is ~ and, really, even if it's not your sort of thing, I can't believe anyone could think it was this bad!! So my second emotion was amusement. This was followed, a few minutes later, by annoyance. Then, thank goodness, by 'hey, what the hell, nobody died'.
The purpose of this blog post is to advise anyone who is new to this game and has received their first bad review (and it ALWAYS hurts) to recognise the difference between a bad review by someone who just didn't like your book, and a possible 'troll', ie, someone who wants to do you down for whatever reason.
Troll reviews tend to trash the book totally, without saying anything to indicate that they've actually read it. Bad reviews might just say 'boring', or 'couldn't get into it'; they're not spitting venom like the one above. Bad reviews are just life; not everyone will love everything you do, and all the best writers have them. Having them doesn't necessarily make you one of the best writers, but you know what I mean!
If you don't start throwing your toys out of the pram and screaming 'troll!', you can use your bad reviews to improve. I had a two star for Full Circle that said it was too slow with too much back story. I had a three star on Kings and Queens that said there was too much telling, not enough showing. Fair enough - I learned my lesson about chunks of backstory (even though I still love it, I've toned it down because not everyone does), and took heed about the Kings and Queens' complaint when I wrote the sequel, Last Child; a couple of people had said in reviews that there was too much reporting of an event by a character, rather than showing the actual scene.
To sum up:
- Not all bad reviews are from trolls
- You can't and won't please everyone
- Some people just won't like what you do
- Learn from the bad reviews
- Ignore the trolls
And even if today's horror was a genuine bad one, it still doesn't matter that much.