DEALING WITH A BAD BOOK REVIEW – THE DO’S AND DON’TS FOR AUTHORS
- Don’t Take it Personally. I know it is hard not to take any negative review or comment personally, but you can’t. Remember, that they are not reviewing you, but are reviewing the words you wrote. When you receive a book review, it is a subjective review, not about you as a person, but about the contents of the book.
- Don’t Get defensive. Many authors the first time they receive a negative review feel defeated, and then they get angry and go on the defensive. Wait! That might be the natural thing to do, but it isn’t the best thing to do. One negative comment by you and your entire authoring career can be over in an instant. I am a firm believer that authors don’t get in trouble for what they haven’t said or written; they get in trouble when the respond angrily which sets up a viral infestation of your good book. Respond positively and not defensively. You might offer a clarification. However, never belittle the reviewer, shame them, or rub them the wrong way because it will only make the situation worse. Remember, you are the professional author, and that you are a business.
- Don’t Ignore it. When you ignore a negative online review, it is almost as bad as posting a defensive statement. An ignored negative review validates the reviewer because you failed to address the issue. Second, potential readers tend to question you as to whether you even care. If you don’t care, why should they? Being unresponsive also demonstrates to the readers that you might not be an authentic author. People love to interact with authors and get to know them through their blogs and social media posts. I have more than 125,500 followers or those who visit my site, and when I don’t post for a week, I get tons of emails.
- Don’t Participate in an Online Battle. Trolls! Trolls! Trolls! Sometimes there is nothing you can do about a troll who loves to be involved in negative confrontations. Don’t engage with Trolls. Your readers are smart enough to know the difference between a Troll and an honest negative review. Your goal in dealing with a Troll is to calmly re-state the facts and then move onto another topic Your readers will identify that you are responding as a professional.
- Don’t Go on a Campaign to Beg for Positive Reviews. There is something not right for an author who begs for positive reviews or purchases them from a variety of freelance sites. These reviews stick out like a sore thumb and will back firer on an author. Don’t fall victim to this unprofessional way of dealing with a bad negative review. Often, future readers are turned off immediately to your book because of what they deem as unethical behavior of an author. The best review for your book is an unsolicited honest review. Those stand out to future readers more than the negative review.
- Forget About the Review. Make yourself a promise that after you examine the review and retrieve any reliable information to help you become a better writer, you’ll forget the review. That’s right, never reread it. Don’t go there. It is in the past, and that is where it should remain.
- Honesty is the Best Policy. In all dealings in life, it is the best policy is to always to be honest. Your word becomes a bond that your readers can trust. Most reviewers who leave a negative review are leaving their honest opinion. They may not have liked your character, the plot, or the manner in which you wrote. It is their opinion, honor that. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. When you receive a negative review, respond by thanking that reviewer for their opinion and that you will reflect on their feedback. Then thank them for purchasing your book and for supporting authors, and you genuinely regret that your book did not meet their entertainment style. In this manner, you are not blaming them, bashing them, or criticizing them. When your readers, read your response, they recognize that you are a fair an unbiased person that conducts themselves without reproach. Also, any message should be authentic.
- Promote a Positive Image of Your Book. In a separate post and without mentioning the negative review or reviewer, promote your book with an ad that includes reviews and quotes from positive reviewers. I would even go so far as issuing a press release about how well the book is selling and announce any future books you plan on writing. Put out at least ten to one positive press and posts to a negative one. Many blogs review books or interview authors, such as Absolute Author Publishing House and on my blog. Take advantage of these. Also, flood your social media sites with a new book trailer and hold the world premiere on Facebook to generate interest and create your own YouTube videos or podcasts describing your book, your writing process and a variety of interviews. I would also conduct a book Giveaway immediately on a social media influencer’s blog such as on Absolute Author Publishing House. I even host them here in Dr. Mel’s Message for a small fee. Contact me.
- Grow and Learn From a Negative Review. A negative review can turn out to be something positive if you allow it to happen. How? You must grow and become a better author honing your craft. If you have only received one negative review, then you might not need to do much growing. Also, research who the review is. Do they constantly post negative reviews or are their reviews a mixture of positive and negative. A mixture indicates that they are giving their unbiased opinion. However, if you are continually receiving negative reviews, learn to isolate what the reviewers are trying to tell you about your writing. See if there are any patterns and address them in your writing style. Also, this is the time to review your manuscript. Did you have it professionally edited and formatted? Is it written with difficult language? Are there plot holes? Again, honesty is the best policy, and you have to be honest with yourself. I have published dozens of books, both nonfiction and fiction and with each one, I learn something new. I stay on top of the latest publishing trends; I read other author's novels, I edit professionally other author’s novels. All of this makes me a better writer and the more efficient you become; you will write better books which lower your risk for any negative review.
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