Bad Reviews

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Reviews are a part of a writer’s life. We get them whether we want them or not. We spend time getting members of the media and book bloggers to review our books. Random strangers who have read it leave reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads. Some of them leave wonderful reviews that put a smile on our faces, while others leave really nasty ones that make us think we’re hacks and should give up the writing lark.

I recently got a one star review for Shadows. It was the first one star review I’d received. Fortunately, up till now I’ve been pretty lucky on the review front. I’ve received some fantastic ones in the media as well as on some blogs. It does sting a little when someone says that something I spent years working on is steaming pile of shit. Ah! The joys of a writer’s life. There’ll always be someone who hates what we’ve written. There’s no way we can please everybody. Reviews and opinions are very much subjective and depend on personal taste.

I’m the first to admit that Shadows is not perfect. It’s not going to win any awards. It’s a first novel, after all. To be honest, I think if it were the perfect novel I’d be in trouble. I’m only at the beginning of my writing career; I’ve still got a lot to learn. I’d be seriously screwed if this was the best I could do. If I’d already written the perfect novel what would I still have to aim for? Can you imagine the pressure if your first novel is an award winning best seller?

So my writerly friends how do you handle a bad review? Do you lash out at the reviewer like some now infamous authors have done? Do you enter into a civil discussion with them? Or do you simply ignore it?

3 thoughts on “Bad Reviews

  1. They’re going to happen. None of us is ever going to write a book everyone loves. *shrug*

    As a friend pointed out, at least reviews mean someone is *reading*.

    Hannah Moskowitz did a post on writing negative reviews that also touches a little on the art of receiving reviews. I think it’s a pretty good post for writers and reviewers alike.

    (sucks to get that first one though, I think that one’s the hardest to deal with.)

  2. I personally think a honest review, good or bad is really the best way.
    I know a Author that received a few reviews that all said that the novel was a bit too confusing and had a lot of information thrown at the readers.
    I was one of those reviewers.
    Then after some time I read the Author’s second novel, and I think it was absolutely brilliant!
    I think learning from bad reviews is the best one can do.

  3. I’ve got a pile of nasty/negative reviews up at amazon right now on my new non-fiction book, out since April 2011. Several of them are deeply personal and call me names. Seriously?

    I can handle a bad review if and when it’s thoughtful and intelligently written. Most are not, but hand-flapping rants from people who can barely scrape out a sentence themselves.

    I would never bother replying to any of them. It will only hurt you in the end.

    Better to be read (and loathed)….they still had to buy it!

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