Today, we’re going to talk about opinions–specifically, readers’ opinions that are conveyed through book reviews. When you publish a book and release for the world to read, people are going to have opinions about it. Some might love it. Others might hate it. That’s inevitable. No one book will ever please every single person who reads it. So, what’s the best way to handle reviews? And how do you cope when you get a negative one? Well, there are a few things every author should try to remember:
- Reviews are for other readers, not authors. I know, I know. But you’re probably thinking… Seeing what readers do and don’t like help me become a better writer. I can fix those issues in my next book. No. Stop right there. A book review is ONE readers opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not meant to be a professional critique of your book–it’s an opinion about what that specific reader did or didn’t like. If you want to become a better writer, join a writers group, enlist the help of critique partners, hire an editor, but don’t count on reviews to help you spot issues.
- Don’t read them. Ever. Yes, this is so much easier said than done, but if you can avoid reading your reviews, then do it! But, if you must read them…
- Don’t like, comment, or engage in any way, shape, or form. Remember, reviews are for other readers, not authors. So if you want to check them out, read them and then move on. While Goodreads and Amazon allows people to “like” reviews or vote them as “helpful / unhelpful” these features are not for the author. But, you’re thinking, I want to show my gratitude for the people who have read my book. Engaging with reviews is not the way to do that!
All right, so let’s say you didn’t follow any of the advice above and you’ve been refreshing your screen, reading every single review seconds after they are posted. And then you get to that review–the one that is scathing and disliked everything about your book except the title. Now what do you do?
- Take some time to “lick your wounds” so to speak. It’s okay to be upset and even wallow in self-pity for a short amount of time.
- Share with a close, trusted friend and lean on them for support.
- Something that makes you happy. Whether that’s watching your favorite TV show or movie, excercising, taking a walk, eating some chocolate.
- Keep writing!
- Engage with the reviewer.
- Make a public rant about the review or reviewer.
- Rally your friends, family, and fans to attack the reviewer online.
- Let one person’s opinion stop you from writing.
Remember, for every person who dislikes your book, there will be one who loves it! Have you ever gotten a bad review? Tell us, how did you deal with it?