Author Topic: So, how do you handle a bad review?  (Read 4855 times)  

Offline David 'Half-Orc' Dalglish

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2014, 07:48:53 AM »
Try laughing. Or rolling your eyes. Or poking fun at it in a *private* group.

But coming here to then put down said review? Not the path I'd recommend. Someone didn't like your book, and they don't need to meet your specifications of what is fair for them to rank it low, only theirs. If it's a few slow intro chapters, then so be it, man. You clearly have plenty more good reviews to balance it out  ;D
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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2014, 08:12:46 AM »
I'm afraid I giggled, bounced up to my husband, and said "You're a real author now! You got a one-star review!"

After we finally stopped laughing, (ok, at least stopped except when we looked at each other and laughed), that was pretty much it. Okay, there may have been a few dramatic readings of the review in various cartoon voices. Possibly.

But seriously, don't worry. One-stars help customers know if a product is their type of thing just as much as five stars do, and help promote sales. If you get a rash of them, then if you really want, treat them like unhelpful beta readers who gave you almost no feedback - if there's anything that the majority have in common (and it doesn't really work until you have at least ten), then you might tackle trying to improve that in your next book. Sometimes it might be a category or keyword change so they don't feel like they were going to get one type of book and instead got another, or redoing the blurb (no, it's not always the text that needs changed.) Sometimes it might be "Huh. 25 people said the pacing was slow in the first half, and too rushed in the second. Well, maybe I need to check that on my next book."

But "I don't like this genre so I don't like this book" is definitely not your problem, and the rest of your readers are smart enough to treat it like the guy ranting on the corner - roll up your windows and drive on, man.

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Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2014, 08:33:34 AM »
Negative reviews always carry a little sting but after awhile you learn to shrug, tell yourself "different strokes", and move on. The only comments that don't roll off my back easily are the rare sort that get personal or confrontational. After those, I sometimes need to read a couple of my 5 stars to balance the negative feelings, so I don't go through the next half hour feeling sucky. But basically, it's best not to get too emotionally invested in reviews, or you'll spend your writing career on a never-ending rollercoaster.

Some writers find it works best for them not to read their reviews at all. Me, I read mine. I try to distance myself from the creative part me, look at reviews with a coldly analytical eye, and see what (if any) consistent points I can find in the reviews. If you can do that, reviews are a useful opportunity to pick up on the reading habits, the likes, and dislikes of your audience.

Offline ELS

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2014, 09:02:49 AM »
When I was thinking about publishing my stories, I came across an author who responded to bad reviews - and did she ever! As most people do, I started by reading the reviews. There were a few negative reviews where this author became almost combative, pointing out why they were wrong. I was amazed at the temerity. Most likely she changed her MO as she became more successful and achieved celebrity status (by being featured on TV).

Nope ... would never do that. Cry maybe  :'(  but I think I would look at the review with a critical eye. If the review mentioned anything easily fixed - I would do that. But I would never respond, because IMO a person is entitled to his/her opinion even if it is wrong.  :D

So far my lowest review is a 4 -- of course, I don't have that many yet, so my opinion might change if/when I get a bad one. So if you hear of an old woman from Tennessee who accosted an amazon reviewer...


Offline cinisajoy

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2014, 09:19:13 AM »
Off to give emarilys a one star review just so I can see what the Tennessee woman does.    Seriously, any time you want to get upset by a 1 star review, go look at any big name author's books.   Da Vinci Code has over 700 1 stars.
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Offline Sean Sweeney

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2014, 09:26:53 AM »
Try laughing. Or rolling your eyes. Or poking fun at it in a *private* group.

But coming here to then put down said review? Not the path I'd recommend. Someone didn't like your book, and they don't need to meet your specifications of what is fair for them to rank it low, only theirs. If it's a few slow intro chapters, then so be it, man. You clearly have plenty more good reviews to balance it out  ;D

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Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2014, 09:50:17 AM »
I make a call to Big Vinnie and Nine-Fingers Mike.

The reviewer then wakes up deep in a tropical jungle dressed in nothing but a loincloth and an index card taped to their chest that reads:

Quote
I disagree with your literary opinions, but am eager to see your thoughts on The Most Dangerous Game.

Then the hunting horns blare, dogs begin barking and rustling starts in the bushes.

Of course, they're really just 100 yards off the beaten path on the Big Island of Hawaii, but by the time they figure that out, it will be too late for their urine soaked and terror befouled loincloth.

Because the best revenge is the gift of PTSD.

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Offline AmsterdamAssassin

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2014, 01:40:03 PM »
There are 'bad' reviews and 'negative' reviews. Neither are handled (at least, not by me). Reviews are for readers, not feedback for authors. Of course you can treat them as feedback, in which case the 'bad' review should be ignored. The 'negative' review might give clues why your book seems to miss the mark with this particular reviewer. If several reviewers hint at the same issue, you might want to look at your book with dispassionate eyes, but that's all the 'handling' I do.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 02:25:47 PM by AmsterdamAssassin »


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Offline chrissponias

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2014, 02:30:16 PM »
Its really hard to get a negative review, but remember that sometimes these reviews are written by jealous competitors

On the other hand, there are many cruel people in this world.

I don't think that a reasonable person would post a very negative review, even if they hated the book. A reasonable person would show understanding and give you at least 3 stars. Those who are cruel usually have many psychological problems. They are not sensible.

Goodness is medicine.
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Offline anniejocoby

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2014, 02:34:50 PM »
I make a call to Big Vinnie and Nine-Fingers Mike.

The reviewer then wakes up deep in a tropical jungle dressed in nothing but a loincloth and an index card taped to their chest that reads:

Then the hunting horns blare, dogs begin barking and rustling starts in the bushes.

Of course, they're really just 100 yards off the beaten path on the Big Island of Hawaii, but by the time they figure that out, it will be too late for their urine soaked and terror befouled loincloth.

Because the best revenge is the gift of PTSD.

 :D One of the funniest things I've read all day!

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Offline Kevis Hendrickson

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2014, 02:35:50 PM »
I don't think that a reasonable person would post a very negative review, even if they hated the book. A reasonable person would show understanding and give you at least 3 stars.

You're kidding, right?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 03:19:01 PM by Kevis 'The Berserker' Hendrickson »

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Offline DashaGLogan

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2014, 03:13:38 PM »
Generally speaking (not for my actual book, so far it was treated gently), I don't get bothered by 1* anymore if I get the point, not their style, not their cup of tea, some things I take to heart.
What I have difficulty with is when the reviewer bemoans what the novel is really written about. You know, when you write about, say, a romance between a vet and a horse owner and the reviewer blames you for writing so much about horses. You just don't get it.
Should you write about their jet skis when he brings his horse to her clinic with a colic?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 03:17:32 PM by DashaGLogan »

Offline Christopher Bunn

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2014, 03:18:31 PM »
It might help to contextualize the review. That is, think of it in comparison to other situations, such as being burned at the stake, being tortured by the Viet Cong (they would do this pretty bad thing with thin glass rods--only works with men, if you get my meaning), or taking an aerobics class from Richard Simmons. Then, you can sit back and say, wow, this review really isn't that bad. That sometimes works.

Offline DashaGLogan

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2014, 03:20:44 PM »
It might help to contextualize the review. That is, think of it in comparison to other situations, such as being burned at the stake, being tortured by the Viet Cong (they would do this pretty bad thing with thin glass rods--only works with men, if you get my meaning), or taking an aerobics class from Richard Simmons. Then, you can sit back and say, wow, this review really isn't that bad. That sometimes works.

Or you can visualise all of this being done to your reviewer

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2014, 03:28:56 PM »
I look to see if there's anything I can take away when writing my next book. If not, then I ignore it and move on. Not all reviews are going to be good. That's just the way it goes.
 

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Offline Shawn Inmon

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2014, 03:33:38 PM »
I find a nice Chianti works well.

Skipping the fava beans, now?

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Offline beccaprice

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2014, 03:41:38 PM »
The worst review I ever got was a 1-star that said my story was boring. *sigh*

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Offline redacted

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2014, 05:05:00 PM »
I recently got a bad review. I've been pretty lucky with my first two books getting almost all 4 and 5 stars (mostly 5 stars). But today I got a 2-star review. I really, really resisted the urge to read it, because I made it a policy not to read reviews, but I thought, "What the hell, it's my first bad review, mind as well see what he's griping about."

It was pretty amazing, I have to admit. Almost epic. It was TWO PAGES WORTH of nitpicking. I had to press my "Page Down" button TWICE to get through it all! Now that is dedication!

Bottom line? He got some facts wrong (not important0, but the things he was complaining about were EXACTLY the things I was GOING for and what other reviewers were responding to! So that made me feel strangely good. :D

Doubly impressive: he didn't have a "Verified" badge next to his name, and my book was the only thing he ever reviewed. Which means he got my books for free from somewhere (or it was loaned to him), but he still felt so strongly he had to leave a review. Dude was really, REALLY motivated. Usually you can't even get people who bought the book and liked it to review it, and this guy read BOTH books!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 05:08:56 PM by jackcrows »

Offline Capella

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2014, 05:14:21 PM »
I just remind myself that there are all types of readers and all types of books.  My book isn't for everyone and I don't like every book.  The reader has a right to their opinion and I'm grateful they gave me a chance.  It does sting but the worst cut is the deepest and it gets better over time.

Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2014, 07:28:20 PM »
I did respond to his review. I wrote, "Thanks for your honest criticism and for pointing out that my book isn't all high speed, low drag, cover to cover, knuckle busting action. I'd hate for others looking for that to waste their money buying my books."

Seems appropriate. Thanks for all the responses y'all. And the laughs. I can see it's going to be fun being on this board.
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Offline EC Sheedy

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2014, 07:40:22 PM »
I raised teenagers. I already know how stupid I am. A one-star review? I consider it a compliment.  :D
 

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Offline Capella

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #46 on: February 06, 2014, 08:02:04 PM »
I did respond to his review. I wrote, "Thanks for your honest criticism and for pointing out that my book isn't all high speed, low drag, cover to cover, knuckle busting action. I'd hate for others looking for that to waste their money buying my books."

Seems appropriate. Thanks for all the responses y'all. And the laughs. I can see it's going to be fun being on this board.


I would take this down.  I would take it down immediately.  It does not come across well.  It could be read as sincere or really sarcastic...I know which way you mean it, but I would take it down...

Offline chrissponias

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2014, 09:28:56 PM »
You're kidding, right?

No, I'm deeply analyzing the human nature.

Most people are not reasonable at all. This is why they like to be cruel.

Goodness is medicine.
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Offline AmsterdamAssassin

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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2014, 02:29:05 PM »
I did respond to his review. I wrote, "Thanks for your honest criticism and for pointing out that my book isn't all high speed, low drag, cover to cover, knuckle busting action. I'd hate for others looking for that to waste their money buying my books."

Seems appropriate. Thanks for all the responses y'all. And the laughs. I can see it's going to be fun being on this board.


I'd take it down.

Makes you sound defensive and snarky.

Sometimes, people post negative reviews to draw out the author. You've just been drawn out.

Take a lesson from Mark Twain: "Never argue with an idiot. He will only drag you down to his level and beat you with experience."


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Re: So, how do you handle a bad review?
« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2014, 02:48:58 PM »
I think he did take it down.  It might have been helpful if he had mentioned that he responds to all reviews.  My opinion only, but he may have wanted to know how to respond in this instance, not whether he should respond.
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