Thursday, August 24, 2023

How to Handle a One-Star Review: Learning from Bestsellers by Maxine Caldwell

Every author's journey is unique, but there's one experience that almost all share: receiving a negative review. Whether you're a seasoned writer or a debut author, a negative critique can feel like a dagger to the heart. But here's the truth: all bestsellers, from classic masterpieces to contemporary chart-toppers, have been on the receiving end of less-than-stellar reviews.

Consider "Reborn" by Dr. Melissa Caudle. This book achieved an astounding feat of selling over 10,000 copies on Amazon in just one week, coming out as the #1 Bestseller, INTERNATIONALLY AT THAT, hitting it in the USA, UK, Australia, Japan, and other countries. But amidst its blazing success, it received a single review – a one-star. Does that single star undermine its achievements? Absolutely not. Instead, it offers an invaluable lesson for all authors: success and criticism can and do coexist.




The epic voyage of the interstellar Starship, the U.S.S. Dimension, and her crew begins!

In the distant future, weeks before the Great Burning War scorched the Earth in 2431, making almost three-fourths of her inhabitable, the Universal Parliament launched the U.S.S. Destiny, U.S.S. Prestige, U.S.S. Stargazer, and the U.S.S. Allure, four interstellar Starships considered arcs and humanity’s last hope for survival.

The U.S.S. Dimension, captained by Taki Gianias, was the first generational interstellar Starship deployed after the extinction level war in twenty years, harnessing nuclear fusion and solar sail energy and considered humanities last hope for survival and must blaze new trails into the far reaches of the Trappist-I system.

Mission: One-way mission to bring supplies, updated technology, and dock to the U.S.S. Allure, to begin a fifth colony on New Realm in the Trappist-1 System.

Complement on Board:

Captain: Taki Gianias – in Hibernation
Crew on Duty: 55
Crew in Hibernation: 20,225
Passengers: 375,000
Dignitaries: 13
Animals Kept on the Zoo Deck: 18,327

Plummeting toward New Realm, an Earth colony, Captain Taki and the crew of the U.S.S. Dimension must alter course when they receive a distress call from a four-hundred-year-old Earth vessel. Captain Taki orders the U.S.S. Dimension to intercept, only to encounter a hostile force that disables the starship. Silent, but deadly, the crew must uncover what can overcome the hostile force before it completely takes over. The struggle is real as they hurl through space. With the fate of humanity at stake, they must save themselves and rescue the last remaining Earth Vessel. Will they rise to the challenge? Can one crew save humanity? Find out in Reborn.

Order the first installment today of this epic space opera series.


"Caudle cements her standing as a bestselling author with “Reborn.” A true masterpiece in science fiction.” Susan Wong, Television Executive

"In the grand tradition of Andy Weir, Caudle’s “Reborn,” is one space operatic novel not to be missed.” Peter Eldridge, Award-winning Author and Screenwriter

"This is the best science fiction novel even Ray Bradbury would have loved it.” Dr. Carol Michaels, CEO, Absolute Author Publishing House

“Filled with space adventure, and unforgettable characters, this action-packed is a pulse-pounding page-turner.” Martin Hausmann, Book Reviewer

“Caudle does it again. From the opening to the last visual description, you won’t be able to put this down.” Maxine Caldwell, Founder of the Great Storyteller Contest

Another example from Caudle is her book "The Keystroke Killer, another bestseller with over 1.2 million downloads and only seven reviews. One review was a one-star, and the reviewer who gave it said, "It gave me nightmares. I couldn't sleep at night." After that "Negative" review, Caudle's book sold like crazy. So, not all negative reviews are bad ones.

Caudle says, "I don't really worry about reviews; in fact, I think all reviews are good reviews because someone took the time to offer feedback, negative or constructive. My advice for authors is not to get bogged down or overconcerned about them and never pay someone to write one. It's just unethical, in my opinion."

So, what should an author do if they receive a negative review? Here are some steps to navigate the choppy waters of negative reviews:

1. Embrace Perspective

First and foremost, remember that every review is subjective. What may not resonate with one reader might deeply move another. For instance, Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" was initially deemed "absurd" by some critics. Today, it's hailed as one of the greatest novels ever written.

2. You're in Good Company

Many bestsellers faced mixed or negative reviews upon release. J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series, despite its global popularity, has its share of one-star reviews. "The Great Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Magnum Opus, wasn't universally loved during its initial release. Many acclaimed works of literature faced skepticism, ridicule, or downright dismissal. Yet, they endured.

3. See It as a Badge of Honor

A negative review means your work is being read. No book will please every reader. The very fact that someone took the time to review, even negatively, means your work elicited a response. Engaging readers, even in disagreement, is an achievement in itself.

4. Don't Engage Negatively

It can be tempting to defend your work, especially if a review feels personal or unjust. But reacting defensively can backfire and paint you in an unprofessional light. Instead, acknowledge the feedback with grace. If you must respond, a simple "Thank you for your feedback" can suffice.

5. Seek Constructive Criticism

Some negative reviews offer constructive feedback. Maybe they felt a character was underdeveloped or the pacing was off. Use this as an opportunity for growth. If multiple reviews mention the same issue, it could be an area to focus on in your next project.

6. Keep Writing

Remember why you started writing in the first place. One review, or even several, shouldn't derail your passion or self-belief. Let criticism be a stepping stone, not a stumbling block.

7. Rally Your Support System

Reach out to your fellow authors, mentors, or friends. Everyone has faced criticism at some point. Sharing your feelings and hearing others' experiences can offer solace and perspective.

Remember the Bigger Picture

In today's digital age, reviews hold power. But while they can influence readership, they're not the sole determinants of a book's worth. Literary history is filled with works that were underappreciated or misunderstood in their time.

Take, for instance, Emily Dickinson. Much of her poetry was altered or rejected during her lifetime. Today, she's revered as one of America's greatest poets. The initial reception wasn't indicative of the lasting impact her work would have.

The essence is clear: Your worth as an author isn't bound by a single review or even several. Each negative critique is just a minuscule part of a larger narrative – one that you control. "Reborn" by Dr. Melissa Caudle and its trajectory is proof that success is multifaceted.

In the grand tapestry of literary achievements, remember that every thread, no matter how seemingly incongruous, has a role to play. Embrace your journey, both the accolades and the critiques, as they shape you into a resilient and empathetic storyteller.