We all want honest reviews and of course we love it if someone reads our book and post a great review about it. What if you got three bad review about how they feel your book; saying that they feel it was rush, a few typos (maybe you forgot to add a letter S at the end of a word or you forgot to capitalize your first one in one sentences) and that your book was okay. Would it still hinder you as a writer if they published their reviews or will you just learn from the three negatives, or just be fine with it because you have the nine readers that had posted a great review.
Bad reviews come with the territory...I mean, I feel sad -- and sometimes even angry -- it's normal and human to feel those things. But you can't let it keep you down.
As far as your specific example -- I honestly couldn't think of a worse review than being told my book was unprofessional. (Which is how I would generally categorize comments about spelling, grammar errors, and typos.) I've never had this happen, but if I did -- and if there were multiple instances of it -- I would have to seriously consider going with a new publisher in future. (Or if you're self-published, I think it would be a huge red flag that you need to hire a professional editor.)
Under no circumstances should a bad review be a reason to toss in the towel. The best bad reviews can help you become a better writer. The worst bad reviews are just something you roll with.
awsome feed back!
Don't take it to heart. Everyone gets bad reviews, even the best-selling authors who are earning millions. It comes with the territory. If the criticism is constructive - learn from it. If it's vicious then just ignore it because it says something about the reviewer.
You are right about the best-seller part, because I'm reading a book now, but her typo didn't take away from the story. and she is one NY times and Essence best seller~Go Figure!!
There is no such thing as the ultimate story, Melissa. You can't please everyone, so don't try--just do your best and strive to improve. Also, regardless of who give you their opinion, it's only that--an opinion. I was told for years I couldn't create my comic book series. Never had support or encouragement except from my wife and kids.
You know what? I proved everyone wrong. In fact, I sent a Kinko's copy to my favorite comic creator of all time and he actually took a personal interest in me during the process. Gave me pointers, redrew some of my pages or covers and told me "they're all idiots...you can compete with the best of them...go tear it up!" It took me some time, but when I finally took the comics online in 2005, I had readers in 60+ countries and 750,000+ visitors to my crappy little website by the end of the very first year. 100% by word of mouth.
Got in a car accident, can't draw anymore, so now I'm trying to write the books as a YA Fantasy series. Same support system...and then I was taken to lunch and dinner by David Farland. He said with a little work, he felt my wife and I were NYT's Bestselling material. He took the time to teach us personally (awesome guy), then set us loose. Now, we are excited, but it's still just one man's opinion. I've published 2 books so far with great reviews and not-so-great reviews. Haven't sold many books yet, and it all comes down to exposure. I'm just going to keep going until that changes. If I'm blessed, maybe I'll have a similar landslide as I did with the comic book version (crosses fingers).
Take it all with a grain of salt and keep moving forward. Learn and grow in motion. That's the great part about eBooks too--you can improve them on the fly!! All I want to know, as a writer, is who it IS entertaining. I personally ignore the rest and keep working on improving my craft as I go.
Hope that helped...God Bless and KEEP GOING!!!
That was a great story and you are right, you can't please everyone. It's good to hear others point of view.
That's awesome, Jaime! That's the way negativity works for me, too. It just pushes me onward!
I look at all reviews as helpful. Yes, it's great to get reviews that build up our ego, but when we get reviews that mention specific problems with our writing, it's a chance to learn more about writing. If the negative review is opinion based--things they didn't like about the book--then I look at it as a matter of opinion.
If you're a good reader, you can "read between the lines" of a review and tell by the way it's worded that the reviewer may have had a bad day, or an argument with someone. As a writing instructor, I've learned to read between the lines very well and can capture mood when reading someone else's writing.
Go through your manuscript, if you can, fix the mistakes they mentioned, and don't worry about it. It's all a matter of opinion.
Good point. Although, I find it easier to read between the lines when it's not about me or my own work! :)
I am also a writing instructor, which means one of the things I train myself to look for is underlying potential. That said, I don't approach reviewing books like I approach critiquing them. (I itch to sometimes -- the one I mentioned getting halfway through yesterday was one of those I wished I could have returned to the author with in-line comments because if she just fixed a few things.... :) )
My goal as a reviewer is to recommend and entertain. I hate to say it, but over the years I've gotten a lot more positive responses from my negative reviews, especially if I insert my own brand of humor into it (mostly sarcasm).
All of which means that if an author is reading one of my negative reviews, they need to understand that I didn't write it to them. I didn't choose my words to save their feelings. On the other hand, my reviews are honest and specific, so if they can get something out of it -- great! (I really do get heavy on the sarcasm, though, so it might be hard to read between those lines if it's personal.)
FTR, I don't review books I don't like if the author has very few reviews. I don't like the idea that I'm participating in silencing an author's voice before it was ever really heard. If I give a bad review to a popular author, or at least one with hundreds of reviews, then I become a part of a larger conversation about the book.
There are really good responses to this question here. Very insightful. I haven't had any negative reviews thus far on Amazon, but I imagine one will come sooner or later. Most likely, I would find it of interest rather than having an emotional reaction to it. I say this because no one is probably more critical of my work than myself. I think there is a difference between a subjective response that may be less than stellar and one that offers valuable critique. Writing, as in any form of art, is a continual process.
I agree with what everyone has said here- it comes with the territory! Don't let it get you down. Sometimes you can learn from it as well. Case in point: Stephen King has said that James Patterson is a terrible writer, but that hasn't stopped him from having a multi-million dollar book empire! I know I am my own worst critic, whereas everyone has been saying my stories are great. Be proud of your nine great reviews- that is an accomplishment- and either learn from the three bad ones, or take them for what they are- an opinion. There are typos in almost every book, including ones from Random House. Also, everyone has different tastes in writing styles, so what works for one person may not wow another. Keep in mind that the longer you write, the more you learn and the more you hone your style.
Well said, Darla! Agreed!