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 How do you handle bad reviews?

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Duncan Pile
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PostSubject: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:04 am

Hi folk,

I'm just wondering what tactics anyone has for dealing with bad reviews. It's weird really - on the UK Amazon site I have 14 good reviews and 3 extremely critical ones. Although it's 14 to 3, the negative reviews are really extreme and make me doubt myself. I feel like I should be able to rise above it and look at all the great feedback I get, but in reality I take it all quite personally.

Any advice?

Duncan
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:36 am

Best advice I can give is: Get over it.
Most everyone on this forum have had bad reviews. Even top selling authors have them. Accept it as the nature of the game.
There is a thread on this forum where much of that has been discussed.
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:41 am

I agree with Abe. The Chatterbox discussion is here

This was my longest response. It might help.

Quote :
It seems to me that one of the most difficult things for us to grasp, especially as writers is that no two people will perceive our work - our communications - in exactly the same way. What each reader sees will be based on that reader's perceptions, and that reader's perceptions are based on her or his own history and experience.

Once we put our words "out there," through whatever means, they are no longer solely our own. They belong, in some part, to every person who hears or reads them, and in that exchange, they are forever changed from what we had intended them to mean.

That's the tough thing about making the decision to publish. Publishing, making our work available to the public, whether we realize it or not, is letting go of control.

A review of our work, whether it is a print book, an ebook, or even a message board post, is not about us as writers, but is about the reviewer as reader, and we generally have no knowledge of that reader's experiences and perceptions. So, whatever the reviewer writes, however many stars the reviewer gives the work, be it five, three, one or none, has far less to do with the quality of the work than it does to the perspective of the reviewer.

We have to accept that, and usually, let it go. However, since other potential readers may be swayed by that review, we may choose to find some means for challenging that particular perspective, and that's OK too.

Just me.

Ann

Ann
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Duncan Pile
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:48 am

Thanks Abe and Ann. Ann I particularly appreciate your insightful comments about giving up control, and will check out that link.

Best, Duncan
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:58 am

If you are going to take the reviews personally, then they really should be personal. I have two one star reviews and a two star review on my book of short stories. These are not the best short stories you will ever read; they are very diverse and one is flash fiction. It would be almost impossible for one reader to enjoy all four stories. It sells for 71p and had 2,891 free downloads (in the UK) and was #1 in Short Stories for ten days. The free downloads received the low reviews. You can read them here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B004NIFTHY/

I promoted the free book on amazon.co.uk forums, which is guaranteed to produce one star reviews apparently. I haven't quite got a grip on why customers make the effort to write a review for a book they didn't enjoy reading that cost nothing. If they are saying: "don't read this book, it will waste your time," fair enough. It's just one person's (or in this case, three people's) opinion. 2,888 readers didn't say whether the book was worth reading or not.


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Last edited by Shelagh on Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Duncan Pile
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:01 am

Thanks Shelagh. I posted a comment on the thread Ann provided. Apologies - didn't realise there was already a topic.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:39 am

We often repeat topics as one thread sort of gets hijacked by an idea and moves into something already said.

I presented at national and state conferences. They always had review sheets with about a dozen categories to rate. A top review averaged ten and it went down from there.

We would pick up the rating sheets and sort them from high scores to low scores and figure out which were the majority.

Then we would take the low scoring sheets and pour over them like they were gold to see where we went wrong to do better the next time. When I returned to the lonely hotel room on the road, I would often stay awake nights worrying about the two - yes, often two, of over 200 rating sheets that had negative comments.

It was good preparation for how I respond to negative reviews of my writing. It hurts. I want 100% of the people to enjoy my writing with the emotion and enthusiasm with which I sent it into the public arena. So far, I was coasting along with fives (the highest Amazon.com) until I received a three. Oh my word, it was like the world came crashing in - even though the three customer reviewer had valid reasons for their opinion - though of course I don't agree with their rating - I respect their opinion.

If you want to feel better, pick a famous author and take a look at their reviews on Amazon.com , especially if it's a controversial book.

Other than that - what Ann said. If you are a writer, keep writing. Every challenge has a gift; every gift a challenge. The ability to write is a gift - the fact that going public brings criticism is the challenge.
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Duncan Pile
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:48 am

Good thoughts D.K. Thank you. I've received some helpful critical editorial commentary from agents, which are helping me make the sequel a better book. Some of the 1 star reviews do seem to be more trollish though, and no amount of digging will find me some gold!

Ciao for now! Very Happy
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DMPierson
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:20 am

The way I handle critical reviews is two ways. If they make good points, I listen to them and apply them in future projects. If they are just rants, then I ignore them. Simple as that.

Don't take someone's negative comments seriously if they don't back up their claims. They are just trying to insult you, so don't give them that satisfaction, they're just loosers. Loosers who hate on everything that is even remotely popular.
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GrantCostello



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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:38 am

Keep in mind that some negative reviews are simply competitors or trolls. They are everywhere, and part of the game. Ignore them, and move on. The critical reviews that pinpoint valid errors or discrepancies are gold, however, because they are an opportunity to improve. Strength comes through damage, not praise. Besides, reviews mean little in the grand scheme of things. Hype and product visibility will bring the numbers.

Grant Costello
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matthewkeith

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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Thu May 02, 2013 7:12 pm

I'm in the pizza business, it is how I make money to earn a living. Writing is my passion, my escape, the luxury I afford myself for an hour or two each night instead of sitting in front of the television.

In the pizza business, I operate 12 locations and I'll tell you what I tell all of the general managers of those locations; your sales are your report card. Duncan, in another post of yours, I read that you'd sold over 600 copies in less than a year and you self-published. That is outstanding! You may not be selling millions of copies, but you are miles ahead of most self-published authors.

To anyone who has given you poor reviews that weren't in any way constructive, I say the same thing that everyone else has already said to you on this thread: ignore them.
If the criticism is constructive, on the other hand, use it on future projects.

You will never write a book that everyone likes, simply because people are different and like different things. And thank God, because if that wasn't true we'd all write the same book.

I'm impressed with your progress thus far, Duncan, and you should be too.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: How do you handle bad reviews?   Fri May 03, 2013 6:05 am

Advice that is applicable to many who lose their writing spirit along the way due to criticism that stings.

The proof is in the the sales. Sometimes, though, the sales are impacted by advertising or lack of advertising. I notice that Patterson is advertising on television with book trailers...he has a track record that should speak for itself...
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