So, you have just received your first one or two star review. Your eyes scan over the harsh criticism of your beloved story and your fragile heart shatters into a thousand tiny pieces. Most writers have been there, and you are not alone.
Reading your first harsh review is tough, but let’s look at how to deal with it. Are there any positives you can take away from it? Is there anything you can learn from it? If it is just plain rude or nasty, how do you deal with those negative emotions and soldier on?
Understand It’s Part of The Process
If you put your work out there, you are going to get feedback. Getting some critical reviews is inevitable. Writing is art. All art is subjective. Not everyone is going to like your book, and that's OK.
Don’t Dwell on the Negative
We may have lots of great reviews, but what do we all do? Dwell on the one negative review that just came through. Put it into perspective. Ignore that review and focus on the positive.
Don’t Respond to The Reviewer
Whatever you do, always refrain from responding or sending a message to the person who left the review. This is author suicide. It is not a good look. Once you have left a comment, your response is out there for all to see. You will be viewed in a negative light. More so than the reviewer. Keep your anger and frustration to yourself.
Try To See the Funny Side of It
You know the old saying? If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. I will give you an example. My book titled ‘Making March’ contains the diary entries of a negative, glass half full, and sarcastic forty something year old, who loves to rant and ramble about her everyday life.
Below is my one and only 1 star review for this book.
This book just rambles its way along. I kept reading hoping it would get better but if this a person's diary the person really needs a life. Too much rambling, not enough content to keep me interested. As a friend of mine said - it's utter drivel.
When I first saw this review, I was gutted and, if I recall correctly; I drank two glasses of wine and almost finished a one litre tub of ice-cream. There may have been a few tears, but I can’t remember. (Disclaimer: There probably was).
After I calmed down and reflected a little, I realised the reader completely missed the humour in the book. The protagonist is supposed to be negative and a bit of a drama queen. So, like I said before, your book won’t be every reader’s cup of tea.
Look For Constructive Criticism
Some readers leave constructive feedback. Pay attention. Is there anything you can improve? Learn from your feedback and write a better book next time.
Make Sure There Is a Next Time
This is big. Don’t let negative reviews stop you. Keep writing. Remember, it’s only one person’s opinion. Their option doesn’t define you or the validity of your work.
Bad Reviews Provide Legitimacy to Your Good Reviews
Have a look at the reviews for some of your favourite authors. Are they all glowing 5-star reviews? No, they are not. If they were, you might question if it’s possible that every single reader loved it. That is unrealistic.
So, there you have it. We all get bad reviews from time to time. And when you do, you know you have made it as a writer. If all else fails, pop open the bubbly and celebrate being a member of the club.