Self-published authors and handling negative reviews: A few things to keep in mind
For a self-published author, getting a negative review is like having someone tell you your kid’s ugly. And stupid. It hurts and you want to argue. You want to rage against the mouth-breathing, quarter-witted miscreant who dared disrespect your baby. But here are a few things to keep in mind before you decide to brush up on your cyber-stalking skills and formulate a plan to ruin a reviewer’s life (not that I’ve ever done that…no sir, not me…):
You’re in good company
There’s one thing all authors have in common: They’ve all received negative reviews. Don’t believe me? Well, how about this:
These are all best-selling authors, masters of their respective genres, with millions and millions of fans worldwide. Something tells me they aren’t crying themselves to sleep at night over these bad reviews. Kind of proves you can’t please everyone all the time, doesn’t it? And you can’t really ask for better (or richer) company than these folks.
Just because you can argue, doesn’t mean you should
I have no doubt you could easily put the offending reviewer in his/her place. You’re a writer, for God’s sake. Executing a well-thought-out, witty rebuttal full of colorful vocabulary is second nature to you. But responding to—or otherwise engaging a reviewer—is a spectacularly bad idea. No matter how perfect your response is, I guarantee you’ll only succeed in alienating readers and looking like an asshole. Keep your righteous indignation to yourself and be the bigger person. Trust me; you’ll thank me later.
In this day and age when reviews can be bought, having nothing but positive feedback on your novel looks a little suspicious. Since we all know there’s someone out there who hates everything, having a few negative reviews keeps you looking honest.
Hey, at least it’s a review
I’m not going to blow sunshine up your ass and tell you bad reviews are better than positive ones. But I would argue that having a few bad reviews is better than having no reviews at all. Bad reviews mean people are reading your book and have strong feelings about it. I’ll take ire over apathy any day of the week.
At the end of the day, writing is completely subjective. One person’s masterpiece is another’s piece of crap. Ignore the haters, lavish praise on your fans, and feel good about the fact that you’ve done something most people only dream of: you wrote and published a novel. Bask in your own glory for a while! You’ve earned it.
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