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.
I can answer this first hand. I sent my book The Death of Carthage to a Blogger Evan Philby for review. He objected to what he called linguistic anachronisms in the texts and wrote a negative rather nasty blog of the book without mentioning the book. He objected to terms like "debrief" "military intelligence" "talk back to" "growing like a weed" and "vent" as though the Romans had no such concepts. I don't see that the concept of linguistic anachromism even applies when a writer is using modern English to talk about people whose language is no longer spoken! Naturally you don't want to have your characters using modern slang terms like groovy, cool, geek or dude, and you wouldn't want your Roman to exclaim "Christ Almighty" when he stubs his toe, but nothing in the book was anything close to that. I felt wronged and offended but I'm not going to let it get me down.
I gave a low review on one book and the author replied with she was sorry I did not like it. I did put in the review the opinions were my own and hope it would not deter anyone from reading it. I had read the author in the past, but this one did not work for me. I gave it a three star.
No one likes to see a bad review but it comes with the territory. As a first time author I would use a negative review to try and improve some things. If it bothers me then I have to shake it off and keep going. You can't let a negative review keep you down. Now if readers mention things like typos, and errors yes that can be an annoying thing for the reader but I have seen some bestsellers with typos it happens sometimes. If you know you got a book with typos then work harder at your editing in the second book or hire a professional editor if you can (which is the problem not everyone can afford one) if you can. Typos shouldn't ruin a good story at least in my opinion. As an author I know reviews are important good and bad you have to take the bad with the good. Just hope you get more good.
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A bad review will, of course, make you respond emotionally. While writing my first book, all the way through, I would think it was a good book, crap, a waste of time and sometimes thought it was a great book. My emotional flips from 'what the hell am I doing?' to 'I am going to finish this damned book no matter what!' was a long journey. After all of that, getting a bad review may send me back into 'what the hell am I doing?' mode.
If you stuck with it, got your book done and got it out, that is a success in itself. I think my book is a good book. Of course I would love to get a lot of great reviews. I would love to sell a million copies. Ultimately, I really don't care what others think. I wrote my book for me, first. Maybe it is a different feeling because I wrote my memoirs. I already won.
The rest is gravy.
I agree with Robert. Our stories are like children to us; we're emotionally (and financially) invested in them, so of course it hurts when someone beats them up. It's even more frustrating when a reviewer doesn't state what it was about the book that they disliked so much. While I don't want a bad review at all, I'd much rather have one with honest feedback than one with no explanation.
Having said that, and getting back to what Robert's point, when an author conceives of a story, has the courage and expertise to put it on the page, and sends it out for the world to read...that's a major win no matter how you look at it.
Isn't that what a review is, a critique. As an author I believe we are supposed to accept these reviews as learning curves. Not everyone is going to like our work. We are in the entertainment business where critiques are going to happen good or bad.
Yes, it hurts my feelings but I try to take it and turn it around. Maybe use it toward the another story! Keep your head up keep going for your dream and apply the knowledge.
An author has three non emotional options on reacting to a bad review. They are: learn from the review, ignore it or consider that there is no such thing as bad publicity. If a reviewer doesn't like a book I think it could be for several reasons.
The first reason a reviewer may not like a book is that it is fundamentally flawed (as in poorly edited or written). This could be an opportunity to learn. Hopefully the reviewer gives constructive criticism and pinpoints the problems, otherwise the review it’s just worthless.
The second reason a reviewer may dislike a book is that it doesn't suit the reviewer’s taste. In that case it can be ignored as taste is subjective and no writer will appeal to everyone. There is nothing there for the author to take away. If a reviewer is not interested in a certain genre then why review it in the first place? It is a waste of everyone’s time.
It is possible that the reviewer is just “out to lunch”. It is possible to have nine good reviews and one that is at the opposite end of the scale. In that case you might want to consider the negative one in context. Nine to one in favor is not a problem! This is a case where an author should just be glad their book is being noticed. On the other hand ten unfavorable reviews might be sending the author a message about honing his or her writing skills.
My take away is, if a review is good or bad and the reviewer doesn’t give any reason for their opinion then ignore the review. You can’t learn anything from it.