Smash the Tomatoes: Dealing with Bad Reviews

Not long after my book released, I ran into an acquaintance in Hollywood. “I saw your book on Amazon,” he said. “Sorry about the reviews. Man, that must suck!” (Geez. Nice seeing you, too!) At the time, I had two critical reviews, and over 20 positive. If there’s one thing we can be certain of about reviews, it’s that the doozies will stand out.

A friend and fellow writer recently asked me how I deal with bad reviews. I’m so glad she did, as I consider myself somewhat of an expert. 😉 I’ve likened my brain to a teflon pan when it comes to rejection and criticism, thanks to my acting and modeling days. I learned early on that my job was simply to do my best, and view gigs and pay as frosting that would eventually come if I kept at it. I still believe that.

I expected some harsh reviews and mixed feelings on my novel. I write about controversial topics in arguably unconventional ways. Writing the stories I’m compelled to write matters more to me than writing a “safe” book, or aiming to please the masses. I seem tough, right? Grrr… I can deal!

Tiger blog

Well, usually. I let a couple of reviews bother me early on. One, in particular, seemed snarky and cutting. Like obsessing over a tiny blemish on an otherwise blemish-free face, they seemed to grow and fester. “It’s all anyone will see!” No, but…

Let’s face it. There are some seriously sucky aspects of bad reviews. They affect us and others more than they should, stand out like snowmen on a balmy beach to anyone looking (geez, enough with the analogies!) and have the capacity to hurt longer and more deeply than positive reviews feel good. Blah humbug! So what can we do?

Plenty, in my opinion. I’ve found that a little perspective check can go a long way toward thriving amidst what can feel like a rotten tomato-throwing war.

Reassuring Facts About Bad Reviews

1. We all get them. The more reviews we gather and books we sell, the more likely bad reviews become. It’s generally part of the deal, and shouldn’t make us less like authors, but more.

2. Many of the most celebrated books gain a significant amount of bad reviews. Based on Amazon.com reader reviews:

When reviewers throw tomatoes, make ketchup!

When readers chuck tomatoes, make ketchup!

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 407 reviews, 66 critical (1 or 2-star)

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
590 reviews, 87 critical

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
961 reviews, 108 critical

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2,243 reviews, 256 critical

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larrson
4,107 reviews, 800 critical

Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
19,468 reviews, 7,136 critical

The list could go on, and on…

3. Many bad reviews are badly written. Nothing against people with lower IQs or limited literature savvy, but I appreciate the fact that many of the best reviews I’ve read (of my own book and others) are well-written critiques, composed by sharp and prestigious reviewers. Snobby? Maybe. But it helps.

4. The “star” system is flawed. Do you know what the 5 star levels specifically represent on Amazon? No one does, because it’s different for everyone. The layperson  could simply be having a bad day, see the star system differently than we do (consider ‘5’ the best book they’ve ever read, for example), or misuse it entirely.

5. Some bad reviews are better than none, and bad ones may even help. People tend to review books they love or hate, which isn’t necessarily negative. Numerous studies have shown that bad publicity boosts book sales—familiarity and popularity being bigger contributors to consumer decisions.

6. Price-drop promos make bad reviews more likely. When we run a price special, some folks will nab it simply because it’s cheap or free. They may not read romance novels, for example, but download yours for free, dislike it solely because of the genre, then blast away in a review. Frustrating, yes, but it’s nothing personal or worth beating ourselves up over.

(**The promotions are still worth it—trust me. It’s easy to focus on the bad reviews that evolve afterward. Focus instead on the increased downloads and positive reviews that arise.)

7. At the end of the day, they don’t really matter. My agent hasn’t seemed to care about poor reader reviews, nor have publishers who’ve picked up indie authors for mega-contracts, production companies that choose novels to base films on, or loyal readers, lovers, friends, plants or pets. If anything, beloved fans will probably root for us even more—and possibly bake us cookies.

Turning Tomato Wars Into Ketchup

(That’s my Minnesotan/optimist way of saying, turn rotten reviews into something positive, and don’t let them matter more than condiments do within a healthy diet. Even Minnesotans don’t serve ketchup as a main dish. Ew.)

  • Read reviews in moderation. It’s natural to peek in on occasion, and to read all reviews early on. But I feel that our time and energy are best saved for worthier pursuits. (There’s a reason that many celebs bypass reviews—and their careers carryon, perhaps better so, for it.)
  • Refrain from lashing out at the reviewer, or pleading friends and family to make up for it with praise. These are great ways to attract more attention to our bad reviews, and get unfriended, unfollowed and dis-liked throughout social media. (Reviews will come. We don’t need to beg.)
  • Re-read positive reviews. Read them out loud if it helps. Print them out, or paste them on your desktop. Positive feedback should empower us, so let it. By letting bad reviews bother us, we’re empowering the wrong thing.
  • Remind yourself that YOU ROCK! We all have moments or days of “Oh man, I totally suck!” But you’ve written a book! That’s a huge, admirable, worthy accomplishment. And it’s probably touched more than a few readers. True artists carry on, with or without a few tears along the way.
  • Laugh at them. Given the proper mindset, bad reviews can be downright hilarious. (If you’d rather, giggle at Ketchup Man. He won’t mind.) Giggling at famous authors’ bad reviews can also be oddly therapeutic—if only because many are insanely off-base and grandiose.
  • Stay captivated with book-writing—not review-reading. The best medicine for hurtful criticism, I feel, is focusing on writing another book. Get lost in story; that’s what counts. And since your next book is going to be EVEN BETTER than your last, phooey on whoever made you feel bad. (Did I just say phooey?)
  • Seek support. If self-encouragement isn’t enough, reach out. Most of us want to help one another, and no one understands as well as fellow scribes.

Do you read all of your reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones? Any tips to add? I always dig your thoughts.

Leave a comment

68 Comments

  1. I do not, absolutely do not, read reviews or check my rankings. Ever. The only time I read a review is if someone, friend or editor, sends it to me, and they wouldn’t send me a bad review. When my first novel came out, I tried reading reviews, and even tried to thank reviewers on Goodreads and blogs and such and so, but I wore myself out! And I noticed I was nervous all the time, worrying about reviews and blah blah blah. My editor at my publishers told me to stop, stop reading them; stop looking for them. It was the best advice ever. A ton of stress lifted from my shoulders and I was freed up to write and not obsess about reviews and rankings. After all, the reviews are for the readers and not for me, because I cannot fashion myself or my work after what people will say: good or bad.

    When I did read them for that short time, I never ever responded to a bad review, and in fact, I found that pulling myself away from reviewers was better for them, too. Who wants some writer stalking around making them feel awkward about what they have written? Just how I feel about it.

    I wrote reviews for Rose & Thorn back years ago before my books were published and I can tell you: when a writer came around trying to defend their book and calling me on something I may have said they didn’t agree with, I was offended. I never gave snarky, mean, or “negative” reviews, but was always honest.

    Reply
    • I love that your editor told you to stop reading reviews, Kat — says a lot, about reviews and the awesomeness of your editor. Such a learning curve, right?

      Thanks for sharing. We writers can learn so much from one another. 🙂

      Reply
  2. August,
    I haven’t read this post yet (I will), but I was reading this article and thought of your posts and how I think you would really want to read this and be aware if you aren’t already.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/magazine/unexcited-there-may-be-a-pill-for-that.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
    Scott

    Reply
    • Thanks, Scott! I’ve read quite a bit about this drug trend, but hadn’t seen this article. I’ve bookmarked it, as the topic may very well appear in GB-land soon. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Dan Brown’s new book is getting some awful reviews. But ya know, I doubt if he cares.

    Reply
  4. There, told you I would read it! Excellent post! I hope to have the same percentage of good / bad reviews as those greats!
    Scott

    Reply
  5. I’ll will soon be in your shoes, but I think something can be learned by criticism. I’ll never be Teflon coated. I am just not made up that way.

    The last piece I wrote for the newspaper (Prince Harry) got a nasty criticism about the content. Hours later, several commenters used the comment space to discuss open space! It was pretty funny!

    I have been in a book club for 14 years and we have seldom read a book that everyone liked, no matter who the author is. The only book I can think of that we all enjoyed was Moehringer’s Sutton and it got reamed in the New York Times! One of my friends thinks it was personal. He used to work there too.

    You mentioned the start system for Amazon, but didn’t explain it. I am curious! I would assume 5 stars = the best book you ever read.

    Like you said August, you have tons more good reviews than bad, so if there is nothing constructive about the criticism, then I would ignore it. There are a lot of lurkers who live in an angry world inside their heads.

    Can’t wait for your next book!

    Reply
    • Agreed, Susie! We can definitely learn from criticism, whether we agree with it or not.

      As for the star system, there is no explanation—that’s one of its flaws. By industry standards, 3-star and up ratings are considered positive. For readers, it’s a totally individual thing. You’ll find that out as yours start rolling in, though I recommend scarcely reading them. I’ll be happy to support you if any aspect gets tough, and have no doubt that you’ll please countless readers. 🙂

      Reply
      • You are always so positive and awesome August! I haven’t even written one review yet! Where does the time go??? I will have a lot of time soon enough….

      • I just realized I used the word “awesome.” I think it’s the first time since I wrote my “Hideous” post! Hahaha! And now I wrote it twice!

  6. I loved your #6. You know why? Because the sales person in me was nodding her head. Whether we like it or not, price equals value in most people’s eyes. So if someone paid more, they will try harder to find things that they enjoyed about their purchase.

    Back in the day, one of my sales jobs was for cell phones. I learned early on to try to stay away from the “free” phones. Why? Because people assumed “free” meant poorly made or bad quality….and were more likely to return them within the return policy. If they returned the devices I took a hit on both the product and the contract. The funny thing was that some of the highest priced devices we sold at the time had more gadgetry, but less quality…and we never saw them come back. Lesson learned.

    Reply
    • What a great point on seeking value in products we pay more for, Kitt. “Free” (and ultra cheap, for that matter) only works as a brief promo., better so if we have other higher-priced product to offer as well. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

      Reply
  7. Great advice! I especially like, “Laugh at them!” We can use that advice in many situations. Thanks for a great post.

    Reply
  8. Even if we create something amazing, not everyone agrees on what amazing is. The more we put our work out there, the more eyes it’s exposed to, the more there will be a chance it lands in front of someone who doesn’t like it.

    I’m learning to be okay with that. After all, there are TV shows I think are AWFUL, yet they are popular. Different people like different things. 🙂

    Reply
    • Excellent point, Amber. There are SO many popular shows I can’t stand, and less acclaimed ones that I adore. We just can’t please everyone, nor should we try. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Great article and tips. Bad reviews hurt, but it does help to go look at favorite books of mine and see that they, too, get bad reviews. Readers have different wants, needs, and expectations from stories, and that reflects in reviews. I just finished your book and still need to write up a review on it. Loved the intensity and mystery in it. Good job.

    Reply
  10. Lots of this sounds familiar. 😉 They’re all good, but my favorite has always been 3. I’d think that I’d almost be happy to get a bad review from someone with clearly very limited reading/writing/comprehension skills (though it’d also piss me off).

    And laughing at them, of course. It’s a bit like getting bad comments on big articles I’ve written, though there’s much more of an expectation to engage with them. It can be a LOT of fun to write out exactly how wrong and stupid they are and all the reasons why, just plain mocking them…therapeutic, I’d imagine, even if you never posted or sent it anywhere (which is probably best anyway). I mean, if you’re already steamed about a particular review…not reading them in the first place would probably be even better.

    Reply
    • That last part’s not a bad idea. I’ve only rarely read or replied to comments on my articles, but I’m sure there’ve been some doozies. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Bottom line, you have grit. It’s the gritty people who succeed in this world. You are able to filter out this stuff and keep slogging away. My son is like that. It’s an incredible trait to have, and the gritty people always win in the end. Yay for you, August! And E.L. James? She’s laughing all the way to the bank! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Reblogged this on Year 'Round Thanksgiving Project and commented:
    I’ve been seeing things on reviews on blogs lately – I think this is good advice from another writer (who has an awesome book I might add!).

    Reply
  13. lesa7515

     /  May 23, 2013

    Tendering and accepting criticism are skills that not every person masters. Regretfully, I’ve often focused on the small percentage of students I couldn’t reach rather than the thousands I have – it’s a factor of wanting to always do better. I think writing, at least for me, is no different. I love when someone enjoys a story and takes the time to let me know. When someone dislikes a story, enough that they take the time to write a review, I worry about how I could have made the experience better for them…and try to make it a learning experience.

    Unless of course there’s some utterly ridiculous reasoning going on in the reader’s/student’s head. I think it was Abe Lincoln that said people are pretty much as happy as they make up their minds to be – some folks who write mean-spirited reviews, maybe just aren’t happy people.

    Enjoyable post, August.

    Reply
    • It’s really sad how we tend to fixate on the negative. I suppose it’s human nature, but it sure moves our energy in the wrong direction. I think Lincoln had a point; we CAN choose to focus elsewhere. Thanks so much for the thoughtful remarks, Lesa.

      Reply
  14. This is a great post. I’m still in the ‘bad reviews hurt’ stage, but I’m coming near the end of it. All of my critical reviews have been by people who never made it out of the first chapter of the book. Sounded like one guy never even made it out of the free sample. It’s not a trick that I’ve done, but a fellow author/blogger wrote a poem about one person that gave me a 2-star. The reason was because the reviewer promptly gave a 5-star rating to mild hot peppers before and after he reviewed me book. We found that hilarious. So, maybe just finding something funny about the situation can help.

    Reply
    • LOL That is pretty funny, Charles. And geez — people reviewing your book after reading a chapter? Seems pretty senseless to me. If I’m not into a book, I usually don’t finish it, much less review it. I’m sure that there are many people who have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy, your work. Best wishes in keeping those reviews, and your talents, in perspective.

      Reply
  15. When I released my first novel last year, I read almost every single review. Not doing that again.
    Take them all with a pinch of salt.

    Reply
  16. Don’t read them. In the beginning I did, but then I read The Art of War for writers by the lovely James Scott Bell. James says, ‘Don’t read reviews.’ The 5* reviews skew an author’s thinking making them believe they’re better than they are. And 1* reviews can make a new author want to slit their wrists and can hit their confidence.

    The key is for an author to never ever stop learning, ever. We have many tools to master in the writer’s tool box and we tend to stick to the tools we work best with because we become comfortable with them in our hand. To expand our abilities it’s very important that we practice with every tool at our disposal. And that takes time. Time to read and time to keep learning our craft.

    Great post, August!

    Reply
    • Very insightful, CC. You’re an inspiration, and absolutely right about the growth process. It’s part of what makes the journey worthwhile–or so I’m learning. 😉

      Reply
  17. Your best advice is right up there at the top: “…simply to do my best, and view gigs and pay as frosting that would eventually come if I kept at it.”

    I have the same viewpoint and appreciate yours.

    Reply
  18. Catherine Johnson

     /  May 23, 2013

    Great post, August. I am surprised by that stranger concentrating on the bad ones. I would expect a stranger to let you know what he thought of the book. I am terrible at writing reviews even though I love books. Maybe it’s a blog post idea to let people know how to write a great honest one and find some awesome reviews as examples :0)

    Reply
    • That’s a great idea, Catherine! The acquaintance was someone I nearly dated, which could somewhat explain his remark–IYKWIM. 😉 Regardless, I agree: odd.

      Reply
  19. I haven’t gotten any bad reviews yet, only six good ones. But that’s probably because I can’t generate publicity for my book, or hardly anyone wants to read it, or maybe they were too polite and thought it would be mean to give me a one star review. If I’m ever up to 70 plus reviews (the way you are) instead of six, I’m sure I’ll get at least a few one and two star, but I’ll know that I did something right in promoting the book

    Reply
    • Book promotion can be a funky thing. And I think that most people don’t post reviews at all, whether they enjoy our books or not. I hope your book continues to gain readers and esteem—and more importantly, that you keep writing!

      Reply
  20. Yes, you really did say ‘phooey’ and I thought it was a great word for the circumstances. Phooey on them is right. I did laugh out loud at my first bad review, because I already had 12 good ones, and what the reviewer said was the exact opposite of the other reviews. Now, when I get a bad review (and I’ve only had a few, thank heavens) I look at the person’s other reviews. If they are all negative, that says a lot. If the positive ones are for a certain genre and the negative ones are for books outside that genre, that also says something.

    Btw, I don’t quite get why people would read outside their preferred genre and then blast the book because it isn’t like that genre. I write and mainly read mysteries, but when I read a romance I review it from the standpoint of whether or not it’s a good romance. I don’t blast it for not having enough suspense!

    Reply
    • I adore your attitude, Kassandra. And I absolutely agree about reviewing books out of one’s preferred genre, and trashing it. Some people seem to enjoy venting and criticizing, for any number of reasons. Your approach is spot on, IMO. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Thanks for this, August. I’m not there yet, but it’s always a great reminder.

    Reply
  22. lynnkelleyauthor

     /  May 23, 2013

    Insults always seem to stay with us longer than compliments, it seems, and bad reviews sting, for sure. Great advice for dealing with them, August!

    Reply
  23. You know, this is the second time I’ve seen Christine Mackenzie post something about James Scott Bell’s book, “The Art of War for Writers.” The first time was in a comment made to Mr. Bell’s post last Sunday on the Kill Zone. I’ve got to get that book. That said, I appreciate your article about reviews August. I haven’t published anything worthy of a review yet, but I think that what you wrote could apply to other things in our life as well. It’s really a form of criticism. And criticism is subjective, which makes it very difficult to decipher. It’s hard to say how much merit we should put into someone else’s viewpoint. As you say, it’s more important to believe in ourselves and do our very best. That’s where we gain the most satisfaction and happiness. I’m bookmarking this for the future! Thanks girl! 🙂

    Reply
  24. I’m on the run but just had to say congrats on this article. You covered every aspect of the issue of reviews in a way we can all relate. Way to go. 5 Stars… seriously!

    Reply
  25. I saw the review you mentioned; it was fake. An intended hit piece by a particular type of person who gets a kick out of hurting people. I’ve talked to some in the business and they say there definitely are characters like that that. They prey on authors, especially “indies.” They draw attention to themselves; they’re sick. As proof, look at all the 5 star reviews you got from people who very specific. You’re the real deal August. Best Wishes. Rob Riley

    Reply
  26. mgedwards

     /  May 24, 2013

    Thanks for this post, August. I remember one of those reviews. It was so awful I couldn’t help myself but to respond to the reviewer! We take care of our own. Authors should stand up for other authors and actively support each other with good reviews of their colleagues’ work. (And in a few cases, respond to those larks!)

    Reply
    • You’re such a prime example of writers supporting writers! I’m grateful to call you friend. 🙂

      Reply
      • mgedwards

         /  May 24, 2013

        Same here, August. It’s been a while since we talked, but I’ll always be here to support you! Wishing you all the best, my friend. 🙂

  27. The first thing that strikes me in the story is how onbious that acquantance’s passive agressive jealousy was. I mean, don’t people who say things like that realize we can all see through them? Sometimes I wish we could be more honest and just say “Your envy is showing.” or “Wow, that was rude and uncalled for.” Maybe if we all focused more on the positive, the tiny bit of negative wouldn’t seem like such a big deal. I do try to remember that really, we can’t please everyone. The point is to please the people who are our target audience, whether it be readers, friends, clients, etc. When the people who don’t like us or our work fall away, it makes it easier for those who will like us to find us. You definitely have the right attitude and it is so great that you are sharing it with others! It kind of reminds me of the best advice my dad gave me when I was little: If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, it’s their loss. And, really, no ones wants a re-do of the big Emily Giffin scandal, do they? 🙂

    Reply
  28. I’ve found that laughing — as you mentioned — is the best way to deal with bad reviews.

    So let’s all laugh away shall we? HAHAHAHA! LOLOLOL! ROFL!! LMAO!!!! EHHEHEH!!! 🙂

    Reply
  29. One problem I see is if you worry too much about a bad review it might cause you to change your writing style to please that reviewer. Now that would suck. Try to write in an entertaining way and people will buy your book. Everyone wants to be a critic and I’m sure leaving negative reviews makes some feel good. Fortunately readers seem to take some bad reviews with a grain of salt.

    Reply
  30. Marc Schuster

     /  May 24, 2013

    I love point #4, especially the observation that the meaning of “stars” can be subjective. On a related note, another thing I’ve noticed about some bad reviews is that the reviewers will dislike a book because it’s not in their favorite genre — e.g., “Mainly I read fantasy, but I liked the cover of this book, so I thought I’d give it a shot. BIG MISTAKE! There were no dragons in at all, and the only “wizard” was an old librarian who walked with cane — AND HE WAS BARELY IN THE BOOK AT ALL!”

    (Okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration…)

    Reply
  31. Great post, August! Really puts the “bad review” thing in perspective.

    Reply
  32. One of the first rules my agent gave me was that I wasn’t allowed to read my reviews. I assume she’ll send me good ones, but I don’t feel the need to read bad ones. I’m someone who would probably get way too sucked into the over-critical stuff, anyway. 🙂

    Reply
  33. The temptation to read every review is strongest when first starting out, especially if sales are slow and you need a little encouragement. This, of course, is the worst time to seek encouragement, because you are vulnerable. And when I say you, I am talking about me. Yes, I’m vulnerable–even though life has rode me down enough that I generally don’t care what anyone thinks of me (or so I tell myself).

    Reading the good reviews is great advice. It’s all about perspective. I would advice not reading reviews if you are presently sleep derpived or otherwise emotionally compromised. I think writers are deeply emotional people. We live on the roller coaster.

    And finally, it seems that some of the worst reviews are from other writers. They mean well, offering a helpful critique that sounds like a slam to non writers. Just saying.

    Props to everyone who commented. Good stuff. I enjoyed the different perspectives.

    Reply
  34. Raani York

     /  May 25, 2013

    I still will have to learn how to deal with bad reviews… and I have to admit: it scares me to death!!
    So far, with my blog, I’m kind of spoilt…

    But my book… it will be completely different – and of course not everyone will like it… but what if there’s not even ONE single good review?
    Holy cow… I’ll be devastated… *sigh*

    Thanks for this blog post, August… maybe it might help a little when the time has come…

    Reply
  35. Great tips. It took me about three years but I think I finally don’t feel sick to my stomach every time someone doesn’t seem to love my shit. Finally realized no one can be everyone’s cup of tea. For instance, there are people out there who hate people who use phrases like “everyone’s cup of tea.”

    Reply
  36. My first bad reviews would ruin my day…or an hour or so anyway. It didn’t take long to realize though that the good ones far outnumber the bad. Like Kassandra, when I get a bad one, I check the others the reviewer has left. One has a list a mile long of lousy reviews – for just about every book he or she has ever read. And then there are the ones who will start out with something like ‘Do we know what a preposition is?” And those ones I blow off immediately. With subject lines like that, you know the readers go into it looking for things to complain about.

    I have enough sales, and enough repeat buyers who like other books I’ve written, that I’m not bothered by those who don’t like – or even hate – them.

    There have only been three that have bugged me in a huge way. One was a bad review…but appeared to be for a sci-fi book they didn’t like…and this was not a work of fiction.

    The other two were great reviews…and I wish Amazon would take them down. Why? Because I know the reviewers couldn’t be bothered to read the books. They skimmed a few pages and then gave glowing reviews. With the first, she made the mistake of mentioning some things that weren’t in my story at all. With the second, she asked questions that were very clearly answered in the book…and in the process gave away a fairly important plot point…which I’d addressed in the second to last chapter. In fact, a good portion of the chapter was devoted to answering that question.

    Anyway…obviously I’m more annoyed over those two good reviews than I am over any of the bad ones. I’d rather someone be honest than lie any day of the week.

    So I just write for the people who like the stories I have to tell. In the end they’re the only ones who matter. And that’s something we all need to remember when faced with harsh and unkind words from others. We don’t write for them. So just ignore anything they have to say…unless it’s actually constructive criticism (not gonna happen often).

    Reply
  37. To me the Amazon-style reviews represent the democratisation of the review system – the opening up of feedback to ‘everyone’ as opposed to the old days when reviews were written by specialists in literary magazines – often, people who wanted to be writers but couldn’t quite get there and sank into critique instead. To this extent the ‘star system’ reviews are going to reflect a range of opinions and they’ll vary. They’re also not personal. The only real issue is if a succession of bad reviews damages sales – but as you point out, there’s a paradox effect there.

    Here in NZ, the old ‘literary review’ system is still very much in force, but the place is so small (about 80 percent the population of Minnesota in 2013) that reviews tend to be written by authors whose own work is competing with the book they’ve been handed to review. Some succumb to the temptation. The resulting character assassinations are not very useful assessments of the book being reviewed, but they usually reveal quite a bit about the insecurites of the reviewer…
    ,

    Reply
  38. Fantastic post, August. And when my time comes, I don’t plan to read reviews. They’ll just freak me out.

    Reply
  39. Kourtney Heintz

     /  May 30, 2013

    August, I’m bookmarking this for when mine come in. These are fantastic tips for dealing with those bad reviews. Thanks for leading us through the dark icky places of being published. 🙂

    Reply
  1. Life Learnings Gleaned through The Passage of Time | JaniceHeck

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