What The *@#$ You Mean You Didn’t Love My Book?

DONE! Got the manuscript in hand, polished and “spit-shined!” Your new Masterpiece is ready for liftoff in Amazon’s virtual rocket boosters! And the cover? Three words—per-fec-tion! You can’t wait for the world to experience the thrill of reading it as much as you enjoyed writing it! Nothing else to do but expect … er … wait for 5-star reviews to roll in like that big-ass boulder in the movie Indiana Jones.

And that’s exactly what happens. Yeah, you saw it coming.

Always thinking ahead, you already had reviewers lined up before showcasing your baby to the world, so in no time the reviews waltz your way one by one, all blinged-out with shiny words like “excellent read,” “page-turner,” “couldn’t put it down,” and “can’t wait for the next one!

Four and five-star reviews induce a euphoric bliss. I’m sure you’ve felt it. So much so, you share your joy on Facebook, Twitter, email—even smoke screens if you could. Readers are lovin’ your story! And you’re lovin’ that they’re lovin’ it!

Until … (inject “doom” music here) you get that dreaded … two or even one-star review. Shoot, what about FOUR one-star reviews? And how about two of ’em back to back? That’s exactly what my second baby A Hard Man is Good to Find got.

Damn.

As authors, we want people to love our babies, but straight up, it ain’t gonna happen all the time. Once someone buys your book, you risk the chance of receiving a review that may rock you to the core. You may even question your skills.

No way around it, a granite punch of reality will remind you that not everyone will glorify your work as much as you do. You may try to suck it up, but most likely, it’s gonna hurt. Some people may rip your book to shreds, using every word in the dictionary to describe your book as purified sh**.

Granted, A Hard Man has 34 five-star, 19 four-star and 3 three-star reviews—out of 61 reviews—but what sticks out more are the 1 two-star and 4 one-stars. “I was turned off from the first page” and “this is so juvenile” are just a few of the hard-to-take comments. Kinda cuts deep, ya know?

Out of four books, A Hard Man is the only one with two and one-star reviews. I knew I was taking a chance, especially with its second-person conversational tone and focus on erotica humor. And being a man writing from a woman’s point-of-view, I also knew a few readers would call me out on some of the words I used (from reader response, I did a great job with Sellout, though). But I believed in my work, and literally put it out there. To my relief, most readers absolutely loved the book. I’m glad I took the risk.

You gotta have thick skin to withstand the hurt of a bad review. I know of one author who put an entire book club on blast via Twitter because most of the members didn’t like the book, apparently. The author warned other authors to “stay away!” Wow.

Hey, maybe you’ll be lucky and not get the one-star bomb slammed on your head. Still, you can’t please everybody, so if you do get one (or more),  the way you deal with it may determine how you move on in this rough biz. If you can’t stand rejection or bad feedback, you might want to try sumn’ else. As for me, I do what I always do–lick my wounds, brush it off, and keep it movin’. And of course, try to learn from the criticism for the next project.

So it’s all good! I damn sure won’t stop writing! 🙂 But how do you deal with it? You ever get a two or one-star review? How did you react to it?

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2 Responses to What The *@#$ You Mean You Didn’t Love My Book?

  1. Shawn says:

    At least you got 61 reviews. That means your book is being read. As for bad reviews, I haven’t gotten one yet, but I have no doubt it will happen. I rarely agree with bad reivews. I’ve read books that I’ve loved, but they were ripped apart by reviewers.

  2. Michael says:

    I had a dozen or so 5-star reviews on Amazon for my rather politically sensitive book. All was fine. But then I was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer during a smoking ban battle. The next day I found a one-star review from someone posting anonymously under the name of a local car dealership, “Marion Sales.” Here’s the review:

    “The paper on this vanity press production is soft and absorbent, but despite repeated applications, this never leaves me feeling completely clean “down there.””

    Heh, I actually thought it was quite cute, but Amazon suddenly decided, after about five years, that they didn’t think it was appropriate and removed it without notifying me. ::sigh:: Since Mr. “Sales” I ‘ve had another dozen good reviews and three more reviews by people who clearly never read the book. My response to the negative reviews has simply been to hit the “respond” or “comment” button and hope that readers realize the option is there and appreciate my responses. If the right tone is taken I think readers will react positively. Judge for yourself if you like:

    http://www.amazon.com/Dissecting-Antismokers-Brains-Michael-McFadden/dp/0974497908/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332764384&sr=8-1

    Hmmm…. OK…. I just checked your reviews and see you’re dealing with a very different situation. Both of those reviews ring sincere and both are by people who’ve reviewed other books. Best suggestion I’d have for you is to call up an old friend or two who’s never bothered to actually sit down and give you a review and remind them that they owe you one. At least that’ll move the buggers off the top of the list.

    Heh, great title btw, though it looks like it’s been used before. At least that’s one problem I didn’t have with “Brains” LOL!!!

    – MJM

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