We’ve seen quite a lot about this topic online lately, so I decided to include it in this series. Authors are naturally sensitive about their work and seek reviews to confirm not only interest in their story, but also the quality of their writing. What you must remember as an author, particularly if you’re new to this venture, is everyone has an opinion and very often it might not be the same as yours. Readers who take the time to write reviews often read thousands of books and consider themselves experts on the way an author writes a story. Expert or not, their opinion deserves respect.
Recently, I read an online post by an author who received a less than stellar review on their book. Their rant about it on social media disturbed me. In the light of presenting yourself as a professional to both the industry and to your readers, you should NEVER react to a negative review publically. Take out your frustration on your pillow, through vigorous exercise, or by talking it out with someone you trust, but DO NOT post your frustration online.
Another thing you should never do is stalk the reviewer and comment to them about their review. They are entitled to their opinion, and even if the review is poorly or unprofessionally written, responding to it only makes you look bad and adds fuel to the fire. I recommend not responding at all to any review other than to thank the reviewer for their time in reading and reviewing your book.
There are some positive aspects to a review which does not paint your book in the most positive light. First, try to learn from it. Any feedback is GOOD feedback. It gives you information you didn’t have before. If there are comments about the writing style or the editing, review the manuscript again with your editor or ask your publisher for a re-edit. Second, if the review offers an opinion on the story that you don’t agree with, move on. Not everyone will like your book. The good news here? When reviewers post what they didn’t like about a book, it often draws in other readers to see if they agree. It can lead to book sales, which is a positive thing, correct?
Bottom line, be professional. I can’t emphasize that enough. Do not respond to a reviewer, other than to thank them, if you must respond at all. Take what you can from the review, absorb it and let it assist in making you a better writer. Trust me, ranting about a review publicly will only hurt your reputation with your readers, not help it.
Copyright 2014 by Kelly Abell