Bad reviews are awful to receive. I have received some shocking ones in my time as an author. Here is one such review:
“”Strong” language and sex scenes add nothing to a mediocre story,” reads one.
Or this one: ” Such a small cast and all somehow related or linked by marriage – totally unbelievable. The story became very predictable and of course, everyone became rich and lived happily ever after. Pure fantasy!”
God help this woman if she ever reads a Jane Austen novel.
I have more good reviews than bad but the bad ones hurt. They stab you in your heart and between your eyes because you put your heart and soul into a piece of creative work and then you ask people if they will buy it and then some people say they don’t like it, and often they’re explicit and even mean in their criticism. But that is someone’s opinion and as the old saying states – I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.
Sometimes authors clap back at reviewers, and while this is their right, in the end, it only makes the author look petty and sometimes, crazy!
The only time I have ever clapped back is when someone on Twitter included my handle in a conversation about how crap my book was. This is the equivalent of being in the room during the conversation, and I politely asked them to take me out the thread. Apologies ensued from their side. It was more thoughtless than outright mean.
Sending a book out into the world and asking people to read it, and then buy it, and perhaps share with others if they liked it is an enormous test on your emotional mettle. However, what has helped me is to think that this is my career and it doesn’t hinge on just one book, unless of course, you screw it up so badly you don’t get another shot at publishing again.
There have been authors who have threatened legal action against reviewers, they have threatened to call the FBI, another posted a reviewers person phone number on her site to get people to call and abuse the reviewer, or authors publically calling reviewers too stupid to understand the book.
Okay, wow. Let’s just calm the fuck down everyone. Do I think negative reviews harm a book? No, I don’t. I sometimes read the negative ones and the positive ones and make my decision based on my desire to read the book.
Roxane Gay, one of the best reviewers on Goodreads gave a review to a YA book that I had been vacillating on reading. Her review(negative) was a thoughtful, considered piece of writing that confirmed why I might find the book difficult to read. I am grateful for that information as it saved me from being upset by the content of incest, abuse and violence.
I have read books I would never have found before, if not for reviewers on Goodreads, and I am grateful for the reviewers who take the time to read my books. I respect they might not like my writing, but I am hopeful that maybe my next book will tickle their fancy but it is fine is it doesn’t. Life would be so boring if we all liked the same thing.
As long as the reviewers have considered my books, and can write a thoughtful review on why they like or don’t like it, I don’t care. State your case for someone who is thinking of reading my books. But don’t turn into a bully, because you will lose respect, buyers, and potentially your career.
So all authors out there, repeat after me, ‘Goodreads is for readers, not for authors.’