Monday, March 28, 2011

Dealing with Negative Reviews

Wow! I actually had an idea for a post today! WOOT WOOT. Yeah, I been suckin' in the bloggin' world cause honestly, I'm tryin' to find some sort of unique angle/twist to my posts and nothin' has been comin' to me. (Let's see how many times I can kill the g in my ing verbs :-) ).

But, today I was lead to a blog post with a review on someone's self-pubbed book. The review itself was actually pretty good, but the reviewer did mention that some of this author's sentence structures, typos, and grammatical errors sometimes disrupted the flow of what would have otherwise been some compelling and emotional scenes. Sometimes the scenes worked great, and sometimes the reviewer felt pulled out of this author's story because of the afore mentioned problems. Overall, the review was really nice. Unfortunately, the author read the review and apparently felt a need to defend herself and her writing. As I read the back and forth posts between the posters and author's posts, I was utterly flabbergasted by her responses. She was so angry and defensive and started posting positive reivews from other places and she went so far as to start telling posters to (and I quote) "Fuck off!"

Wow. Can you say professional suicide? Turn off? Have no intentions of buying her book and supporting her career? That chick will be needing a pseudonym and some major plastic surgery to change her appearance if she has any plans on making it in this biz. I mean, she acted COMPLETELY out of line and really upset A LOT of people who follow this reviewer's blog. And you know how that goes. Remember the Faberge Organics commercial from the 80's with Heather Locklear? "And they'll tell a friend, and they'll tell a friend and so on and so on and so on."

Anyway, it got to the point where this author sounded like a little brat having a temper tantrum. She hears one review she doesn't love and she flips out completely. I mean, I can imagine how hard it is to have your book out there and even though you know there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn't love your work and will tear it up, that those negative reviews hurt. So, I started thinking that if I ever when I get one of my books published, will I read all the reviews? Will I read the negative ones as well as the positive ones? Will I ask people to just send me the positive ones to keep me encouraged or is it important to at least consider some of the points made by those who had issues regarding your writing/story telling. I guess it's hard to say/know until I'm actually there, but I do know that the bad will come with the good. It's inevitable.

My question to you fellow writers (published and wannabe published), what is your take on this? Do/Will you read all the reviews both positive and negative, when your book gets published? How will you prepare yourself to handle it? And to those who are published and have had to deal with this, please share your take on this! How have you handled it all?


  1. I'm planning on not reading reviews, because I'm afraid they'll influence my later writing too much. But we'll see if I follow through with that, when I eventually get published.

    The other thing that jumped out at me with that series of comments is that she and a few others kept saying "indie" when they meant "self-published" or POD models. There are small presses, independent publishers out there, and they don't appreciate being lumped in with self-published because of situations exactly like this.

  2. I have no idea what I'll do when/if the reviews come. Um, maybe hide under the covers and ask the kids to hide my computer?

    I need to do a blog post soon too. It's been 2-3 months. Oy!!

  3. I think I read the blog post you're talking about, and it's really astoundingly awful.

    Knowing myself, I'll probably go read even the negative reviews of my work because I'm curious. And then I'll cry and eat a lot of chocolate. And then I'll probably resolve not to read reviews anymore.

    But I will NEVER respond to those reviews-- especially in such an inflammatory way!

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I guess this is the thing I worry about most when I manage to get a book published. That someone won't get where I was coming from with the book and basically, unnecessarily, rip my book to shreds and be rude about it.

    However, though it will really hurt me, I will definitely not respond to them. Everyone has different opinions and I have to respect - however snark and rude the review might be - that not everyone is going to love my work like I do.

    That woman we're talking about above, needs a couple lessons in humility.

  5. Knowing myself, yes, I'll probably read the negative reviews. I am an emotional masochist. But there's noooo way in hell I will let myself reply. Worst. Idea. Ever!
    If I need to rant about any of the reviews, I'll just bitch to my friends, who will tell me that anyone who doesn't like every word I write is a moron, because they are biased like that :)

  6. (and really, sometimes that's a bad thing. Like when I'm trying to edit, and they're like noooo don't change anything, and I'm like but I have to it's bad!!!!! ... just saying. but sometimes the cheerleader friends are good to have :D)

  7. Thanks guys! Totally enjoying reading your comments. Guess everyone knows what blogger/writer I was talking about (yet, I didn't have to name, names! WIN.)

    @ Ellen, hey, that's what friends are for. To keep our spirits up when others are kicking us down. ;-)

  8. I actually have no idea who you're talking about, but that's okay... i tend to miss most of the drama. probably a good thing.

    If I ever got my work published, I would never insult anyone or respond back to a negative review. as for reading them? I wouldn't really want to seek out any reviews for fear of what they would say, but I suppose I'd be too curious not to read SOME, and then I'll have to try and take it all with a grain of salt.


  9. I'm sure I won't like seeing negative reviews, but I will look at them. There are things that we can learn about our work from any kind of review. Well, except the overwhelming positive reviews by people that don't want to hurt our feelings. Those may make us feel good, but they don't help our writing.

    Personally, I've had such a difficult time of getting anyone to actually follow through and read my book that I self-published it (through CreateSpace) just to try and get some feedback about it. Because of the feedback that is now beginning to come in, I have managed to identify a few problem areas that I wouldn't have seen without that feedback.

  10. I hear you Andrew. I've had 7 beta readers to tell me all the things I've done wrong and to help me with those problem areas. :-) Beta readers are great when you can find ones that you really trust to give you good, honest feedback. I met all my BETA readers over at AW (are you a member?). We have since become friends, but I know I can depend on them to give me the hard, honest feedback I need because they have become invested in my work (and me, as I have for many of them and theirs) and they really want to see me succeed. If I have to go the self-pub route one day, well, I'll cross that bridge if and when I get there.

  11. Um... no? Well, no. What's AW? I'm still really trying to figure all of this out and figuring out how to juggle my time, etc. As it turns out, writing the book was the easy part. People don't believe when I say that. heh And what I want to be doing right now is writing... :)

    heh I just even ran across the term BETA readers for the first time in the last week or so.

  12. Oh, Andrew. AW is the most amazing unbelievably supportive environment for writers of every possible genre. There's everything from brand new writers to very experienced, published writers and everything in between. It srsly changed my life in terms of my writing. YOU. MUST. HOP. OVER. AND. SEE. FOR. YOURSELF. BEST. PLACE. EVERRRRRRRRRR

  13. Mel - I just signed up for twitter - you need to put a linky on here so I can follow you!!

  14. Okay, I've sort of glanced over the site. I'm sooo overwhelmed with all the blogging and writing, I'm trying to figure out where I'll fit that in, too. LOL It looks good, though, so I'm sure I will.


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