Created by Melony Paradise.
Melony Paradise Sure. The laurel wreath is from pixabay so it’s CC0 with no worries of copyright blah blah blah lol. I did grab the stars from Amazon, not sure if that matters… But, feel free to use it however you wish.
AS A WRITER, I DO NOT APPEAL TO EVERYONE!
I am writing this post in solidarity with another writer in one of my writing groups, who is feeling the ouch of the first 1* review.
He/she has received a lot of good advice – from ‘consider the source,’ to ‘what the heck do they know?’ Melony created a badge to be used, because we all told the writer that it is a step every writer has to go through, and it is a badge of honor to go through the process, and that you are NOT a REAL WRITER (TM) until someone has given you a 1* review, especially a nasty one (we’re skipping the little old lady of apocryphal fame who thought she had given the writer a nice Gold Star for her book).
Every writer gets these reviews, and I took notes on mine, intending to let them marinate and simmer a while before doing anything with them, as it isn’t nice to bite reviewers back, and it is considered whopping bad form to do so (for many reasons.) If you wait long enough, and don’t name names, you will accumulate more negative reviews, and you can let off a little steam without identifying anyone.
‘When you publish, you’re going to get negative reviews.’
Notes, April 7, 2015: write your own negative review – to be prepared!
This seems to be blindingly obvious truth. It doesn’t matter what you write, someone somewhere will take exception to something in it, from your title to your name to anything in your content.
I’m wondering whether it isn’t possible to immure yourself and toughen your spirit so that you are prepared to deal with this automatic gotcha, to put up Kevlar walls before you read your first review.
Come on: be creative. You’re a writer. If your imagination isn’t up to this, there are always one-star reviews on Amazon to give you examples.
I would stop short of wishing yourself physical or psychological harm, but that’s just me. You could get creative in that part, too, and find out if you’re selling yourself short, and should be writing thrillers or worse.
There are two main things to attack when writing a negative review about a book: the book – and the author.
I’m limiting this post to the book: if you find yourself wandering off into the part of the internet mentality where you get people whose manners wouldn’t pass muster, and who think that attacking an author for writing something they didn’t like, don’t post the results below (but you may do whatever you want with them otherwise, obviously).
Getting negative reviews written by readers – or non-readers:
Notes: GoodReads reviews, a while back.
Education continues apace here at chez Liebja.
My turn finally came up on a promotional thread at Goodreads (thanks, guys). Three people had enough interest to request a copy for review purposes. They are each supposed to read and then post a review within three weeks.
Two new reviews came in today. [redacted]
I’ve never expected to appeal to everyone – that would be foolish.
That point was illustrated very clearly today, when one review was a 4* review – a Goodreads member’s first review (thank you) which said the story had pulled her in. Thank you!
And the other was a 1* review.
Reacting to a new and different negative review
I’ve had one 2* review before – I was not that reader’s taste. And I was fine with that one, as I am with the new one. I am not to this reader’s taste, either (and no, I’m deliberately not providing a link – if you MUST see it, it’s easy enough to find).
But this one was curiously different. I’m still trying to figure out whether I understand it. Not the review – that’s clear enough. Reader didn’t like it – got it. Not her style. Got it.
But she did what the other one did on a smaller scale, and which I would never do. She made statements about me, rather than the book, and ascribed a status to me based on what I had written.
We call those ad hominem attacks: about the person, not the work.
What is a negative review?
You have to remember that the review is one person’s opinion, and they are entitled to their opinion.
You asked for their opinion. If in their opinion you are a terrible writer and your book is utter trash and needs a lot of work, it’s their opinion. That’s all.
It isn’t truth you need to hew to.
You aren’t going to go out and do penance because you’re so terrible.
It’s just a review.
Go look at popular writers’ bad reviews
Pick an author you really like, one whose books you look forward to and enjoy.
There will be negative reviews. You will disagree with them.
What I consider useful information is that a popular writer isn’t affected by the reviews (too much), and goes on to cash Amazon’s money anyway. Some popular writers have more negative reviews than positive ones!
Your reaction to the 5* author/book
Is “Yeah, right. Must be all from friends and relatives.”
Adjusted reaction to your first 1* review
So go back to work, happy and secure in the knowledge that you have the REAL WRITER’s (TM) credential – at least one negative review, preferably a 1* review – and have survived your Baptism of Fire. (You did survive, didn’t you?)