As part of an author interview, I recently gave my thoughts on dealing with bad reviews. A few people said they were helpful, so I thought I'd turn it into a blog post, and add to it a bit (including some amusing examples!). Here you go, then, and I hope at least one or two of these bits of advice are of use :)
Try to accept them as inevitable, and part of the whole writing/publishing process; in other words, don't be shocked by them! I know they knock your confidence, it's never nice to get them and we all go through it, but, alas, not everyone will love everything you do. The more widely read a book becomes, the more likely it is to reach the eyes of those who won't like it.
Look up your all-time favourite books on Amazon. They will have some 1 and 2*, too. If Phillipa Gregory/Elizabeth Jane Howard/William Boyd, etc, can get bad reviews, so can you.
Don't consider 3* a bad review ~ 3* means 'it's okay' on Amazon and 'I like it' on Goodreads.
|Sorry this is a bit hard to see, but it's worth squinting at, very funny!!|
Learn from them; if more than one reader says the book has, for instance, unrealistic dialogue, they might be expressing the opinion of many; the majority of readers don't review, but will simply not buy another book from you.
Helpful though it is, reviewers are not obliged to give constructive feedback. The time for a manuscript critique is before publication. If a reviewer just wants to write 'Really boring', they have a right to do so. We don't complain about two word reviews when they just say 'Loved it!', after all... 😉
A few mediocre reviews makes the book look more credible, as if it's been more widely read. Few things look more naff than just eight reviews, all 5*, written by people who've never reviewed anything else.
As far as visibility on Amazon goes, it's the number of reviews rather than the rating average that makes a difference, I believe. So it's all good!
Don't complain to or about book bloggers who do not review your book favourably. If their terms state that they do not guarantee a good review, they mean it! Always read the terms first. I wrote a post about 'book blogger bashing' HERE
Understand the difference between a bad review from a genuine reader who wasn't that keen on your book, and a troll who is out to get you personally. Shouting 'troll' every time you get a bad review can make you look a bit petulant.
Yes, your 1* review might be from someone you blocked on Twitter (it's happened to me), but, more often than not, looking at the reader's reviewing history will simply show you that your writing style is not one that the reviewer likes. For instance, I have rarely had a very good review from romance or crime thriller readers.
Read, learn from it if possible ~ then walk away....