For Authors: How do you recover from a bad review?

Today I got my first really bad review :(  I mean, this person did not have one good thing to say about my book, which kind of took me aback because all my previous reviewers did manage to point out my strengths even if they weren't crazy about the book as a whole. 

I'm trying to stay upbeat, however, by re-reading some of my more positive reviews, especially those from bloggers who really loved my work.  I was also able to go out with some friends tonight which took the some of edge off.  I'm likewise just wondering how other authors react to bad reviews and what do you do to cheer yourself up.  

Thanks and hope you had better day than I had, LOL ;)

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Hi, Irene,

Getting bad reviews is part of the process that makes you a real author.  There isn't an author out there who hasn't been trashed at one time or another.  One great way to feel better is to read the reviews for some of your favorite books.  Even bestselling authors who earn millions get viciously criticized.  Once you feel better, go back to the bad review and reread it.  If the review is just mean, blow it off, but if the reviewer made some good points, then learn from it and move on. 

Irina Shapiro



Thanks so much, Irina -- you're right!  That's a great idea -- I hope to check out some of my favorite books' reviews soon then.  One book already that jumps out at me is JK Rowling's Casual Vacancy.  I'm reading it now despite the dismal reviews and I like it so far ;)

I would suggest that you remember that you are not your book.  I know that it's not easy to say don't take it personally but, don't take it personally.  They didn't like your book not you.

Also remember that EVERY author has had bad reviews.  From Dickens to King.   You can't please everyone. 

Finally there are a lot of jerks out there trying to get attention.  They say bad and mean things in order for people to notice them.  Don't give them the attention that they want. 

I know that I just posted but I just watched this video and they have a whole section about how to deal with bad reviews.

Thanks so much, E Gerds -- that does make me feel better!  Hope to check out your video and the section on bad reviews soon too - just saw a bit but I'm still at work, so I probably shouldn't watch the whole thing, LOL!  Looks good though :)

Do those things that make you happy (for me..chocolate ;D, and do not have a meltdown online...those end very badly

LOL, Blodeuedd, I'll try to keep my cool and not have a meltdown ;)  Mmmm . . . chocolate does make everything better, doesn't it? ;)

Chocolate makes the world go around ;)


Bad reviews seem to be part of the landscape for authors. Most authors will not give a bad review because they are aware of the pain it can cause. They will ether not give a review or word it in such a way that it is constructive. However, readers who have paid money for your work could care less. A bad review usually means you have made it past the realm of authors and into the buying public. Mark this day as a right-of-passage.

Remember this: Dan Brown, author of (Angles and Demons) is one of the most successful authors in U.S. history. Even he gets bad reviews and some of them are nasty.

Charles Fetters

Author of "Grizzly" 

I got one lukewarm review from a publication. I got bashed a bit when I was expecting praise, but then I read some of the other reviews by the individual. She gave me two more stars that she did The Scarlet Letter or Love Story! It just wasn't her style. For example, if you gave me a romance novel, I'd probably not like it no matter how well-written. It just doesn't suit my mind frame! Purely a matter of taste. Just know you're not alone in BadReviewLand. If enough people read your book, you'll have to ride that roller-coaster at least once!

Thanks so much Charles and Henry -- I will take that advice to heart :)

I always read bad reviews with a sense of humor. Especially if the reader totally did not get the point. But honestly, you're not writing for the few who will not enjoy your work, but the many that will. 


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