Two things can ruin a writer’s day – slow sales and 1-star reviews. Hi, Al Bargen here and between the two, getting a 1-star review on Amazon or Goodreads has more emotional impact. It can cut like a knife and hurt so bad. The immediate reaction is to engage the reviewer in a verbal tussle and look like a raving lunatic.
There are better ways to deal with 1-star reviews.
- Grow a thick skin. Remember, you asked for these reviews. You were the one marketing your book to everyone and begged for feedback. Keep your emotions in check and be prepared for the worst.
- Fight the urge to respond or fight back. It’s never a good idea to respond to a negative review. It makes you appear defensive and resentful. It even makes you look a touch desperate. Just read the review, take it all in, let it sit then proceed to #3..
- Take in the good, scrutinize the bad. It would be silly to think that all reviews would be favorable. Some will be constructive, while others will be scathing. After the sting of the bad review subsides, it’s time to interpret what was said. Look beyond the harsh words and focus on the constructive criticisms. It could be about plot holes, grammar issues, inconsistencies, or editorial glitches.
- Figure out the common denominator. If you receive several negative reviews and they all point out the same thing, you might have found a learning opportunity. Here’s something you may want to work on.
- Re-assess your book and process. If you are convinced that the criticisms are valid and have merit, then re-evaluate your book and tweak your process of writing, revising, and editing.
- Keep writing. Don’t let negative reviews hold you down. In fact, they are a good motivator to do better. Just keep writing and prove your detractors wrong.
Remember this above all. That 1-star review is part of the business of putting your work in front of the world to consume. When you see a book that only has 5-star reviews, you wonder how many were simply bought and paid for. Sadly this happens all the time, but the consumer is more savvy than that. They can smell it a mile away.
That 1-star comment confirms that you are real. Write on.