Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What to do when you get a bad review.

Yesterday I got my first review on my recently released book, 'Tripping Through Time'. You all know how it is. You work hard on a book, sometimes for years. And you do the best you can, learning all the way in the process. Your heart is in your work. It means so much to you.

And then somebody trashes you in your first review.

I don't know about the rest of you, but my parents always taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. And there is something wrong when a reviewer ignores that unspoken consideration, when she does a review. Especially when they have not published a book yet, and knows how hard it is and how important it is to you.

Well the first thing I did was to cry hysterically for about twenty four hours. And if I think about it I could still cry. Now I know I am sensitive and need to toughen up, but come on. Then I read the many kind comments people have made to me to make me feel better. They did. Even Christina Dodd got terrible reviews for a book that has been a best seller for years, my critique partner told me. Just ignore it. Well I'm a tryin'.

I know that different people have different tastes. I have read a lot of books I didn't go crazy over. But I would never, ever, trash someone. I have a heart.

Now I'll be honest I uttered a lot of expletives over the the last twenty four hours, toward the person who wrote the review. But only in front of my husband. I also sent out vibes. But all of that is a waste of time.

I decided I am gonna listen to the comments from other writers that are positive. And to give a lot of those comments right back to them. Because I always thought that was what it was about. Writers supporting writers. That's what I choose to do after getting a bad review. I have been told by several others that it's not about what people nay say, it's about sales. And for the whole month of January, I have been the number one best paranormal book sales writer, for the fabulous Wild Rose Press.

That's what I will focus on, while I kick that niggling review right out of my mind every time it try's to get in there. While I thank God for the many wonderful and hugely talented writers, who have been so supportive of me. Thanks guys I love you.


  1. Aw, darn it, Mary, I saw the review, and I thought it was awful. I've had one, and believe me, I know what you mean. My heart goes out to you, and I'm sure there will be others that are much, much better. Everyone has different tastes, and that's really something reviewers should keep in mind.

    Bess McBride

  2. It must be the most demoralising thing - to have your very first review be a bad one - I can remember how nervous I was about looking at my first review - which thankfully was good, but the last one I had was terrible, one just never knows how a particular reviewer is going to take ones book, there's a lot of luck attached.

    As Bess says, evereyone has their own taste. The fact that your book has been selling so well means a lot more than just one person's opinion.

    Keep your chin up and move on, like you're doing. Sales speak louder than words!

  3. I'm sorry, Mary. Yes, this happens to everyone. Reviewers are human too. But they need to be kind. You can't dwell on someone's opinion. Opinions are subjective... Critique partners, agents, and editors tend to offer objective opinions you can rely on! Stick with your tried-and-true critique partner and editor. ;)

    Congrats on being the number one paranormal seller at WRP this month!

  4. Hi Mary,

    I know how this hurts...believe me, been there, done that, as the saying goes.

    I think the thing is...We can respect someone's opinion if they disagree with us (or what we write.) It's the way they go about shouting their disagreement.

    But really, I'm sure other, satisfactory reviews will come along and just blow this one out of the dirt!

    So, keep on keeping on, gal. We're in there with you. :)

  5. I'm nervously awaiting my first review, so I can't say I've been there - yet. Don't let one reviewer take away your joy in having your story published. You know how much work you put into it, and other reviewers will see it. There's no pleasing everyone, as my dad always said. Let it go, don't waste any more energy on it. The important thing is your story's doing so well in sales.

  6. mary,
    I know how tough it is to get a bad review. my first review for my Wayback story wasn't the greatest either. I cried too. I've received some very nice reviews as well. It's those that you have to remember. everyone will always have an opinion one way or another. Yes, they should be nicer, but some aren't. Unfortunately, it's the bad reviews that stick out in our minds. Forget them. :-)
    I remember griping about a review on another loop and an author commented that she doesn't read any reviews. I've thought of doing that too, but what if the reviewer enjoyed my story? That's always a posibility. :-) So i guess the choice is ours.
    Hope you have a good rest of the week.

  7. Your best revenge is having great sales, Mary! Congrats on your book being the number one paranormal in January. The review is only one person's opinion, and even though it hurts, YOU know your book is a good one. Reviewers who trash a book have no business being reviewers, my opinion.

    Lucy Kubash

  8. Hi Mary,
    I got a little upset to hear how this has affected you and I had to say something.
    Firstly, this is one persons opinion from a review site that is owned by a single published Wild Rose Press Author. It has only been around for a little over a year with a mere total of 186 or thereabouts reviews.
    As for the reveiwer, she is not published, or an editor, just one single person that seems to be having trouble writing reviews, as her use of grammar isn't spectular at all.
    I wouldn't take any notice of such a small site who appears to have jumped up from one single published novel with no credentials whatsoever.
    Look forward to the bigger review sites that have been arouud for at least five years. Even then, it is again, one persons opinion.
    Straighten up your spine and get on with your writing. An author has to have a strong backbone in this industy.
    We also should remember that reviews do bring personal taste into their reviews. I am intrigued to find out just what type of novels this reviewer reads. She may not even like time travel and prefer old fashioned romances where no touching is allowed. I could go on and on with many possibilities but I have much work to do.
    Good Luck, :)
    Who is an editor, and a published author and has been for the last nine years.
    One more thing. Your editor has liked your story, why let a reader spoil it. Your editor is a person who knows much more than a mere reviewer. She has status and knows a good story, one good enough to bring to publication.

  9. I'm so sorry, Mary. I had another writer friend who got a couple of horrible reader reviews on Amazon.com and was devastated. These people are just jealous, so they'll trash your book to make themselves feel better.

    But I'm with you, if you don't like a book, just keep quiet about it. What you dislike, someone else will absolutely love.

  10. Hey, Mary. I support your effort to look at the positive feedback and trash the rest if it's not constructive. That reviewer was just one opinion--don't let it discourage you! If your book was good enough to beat out umpteen others to get published at TWRP, then you should be proud. I got your back, girl!
    Kaylea Cross

  11. I'm so sorry about the review, Mary. The best revenge IS great sales, and you've done that. You can hold your head high. That reviewer's head is in the sand.

    Susan ')

  12. Oh, hon, we've all been there. That doesn't make it any easier, though. It seems fundamentally unfair that writers, who have chosen a path fraught with subjectivity and rejection, also have the thinnest skin of all human beings! But that's the beauty of it, in a way. We feel. And without that, Mary, we can't write.

    Remember that ;).


  13. (((Mary))) Opening any review is difficult but to open a bad one must be devastating, I feel for you and know that you have to ignore the bad stuff. Really, build that thick skin and move on (after a good rant). Don't allow one person's opinion to crush your spirit!!!

  14. Hey, Mary, I'm sorry. We all want good reviews, but I really wonder how much they matter. I never read reviews before I read a book. Too often I've seen Reviewer 1 likes a book because of xxx and Reviewer 2 hates it for the same xxx. I look at the blurb, the line and read the excerpt. I think a lot of people do the same.

    When it comes to the bottom line, a lot of a review is personal opinion, and whether or not you can trust this person's opinion. I wouldn't trust someone who trashes an author's work. Not liking a book is one thing; abuse is another matter entirely. And in the end, the only people who count are you and the readers. And the next review, with a different reviewer, will be great, I'm sure.

    And thank you again for the wonderful review you gave to my "Lady of the Stars".

  15. Sorry about the review. They can really pull you down. Don't let it. Rise above it (I know... easier said than done). I've been the recipient of less than stellar reviews and it's never easy to read. Over time you grow a tougher skin and these things don't affect you as much (they do bother you, just not to the same extent).
    Sorry again. These can really spoil your day.

  16. Listen to Karen. Your editor knows a good book when she sees one. Have faith in yourself and your writing and better reviews will come.

  17. Mary, I'm really sorry about the bad review. Count me among those who know how it feels.

    But to reinforce what everyone else has said, it's only one person's opinion. You've cried, you've cussed, and soon enough you'll have plenty of good reviews to make you feel warm and fuzzy. :-)

  18. I am gonna listen to all of you, hold my head up proud, and remember all you have said. I am so lucky to be a peer to all of you. It is now and has been the best thing to happen to me in my life,just knowing all of you.
    I am a published author, ain't that the greatest!!
    No one feels as deeply an author.
    Thanks so much for the support, I will never forget it. I'll be there for all of you, I promise!

  19. {{{Mary!!}}} I am so sorry. :( But as has been said here over and over... that's just one person's opinion. Who knows, maybe she was in a bad mood, too.... :( Don't you dare let one---ONE!!!--crummy review discourage you.

    And hey, your *editor* liked it, and liked #2 enough to contract it! Who counts more? [grin]

  20. Hi Mary,
    Don't let one review spoil the highest possiblities of your writing career. I have already had one not too good review. So what? My editor loved my story and she is a multipublished mystery writer. It's very true what Karen said.
    Chin up and glide. :)

  21. Mary,
    I so agree and have told you so. I don't believe a reviewer should proceed with a review if they 'hate' the book. I've had one such review, as well, but the difference is when the review caught up with me--I found it by accident, actually--I'd already had six very good ones, so though it made me snarl, wonder, and depressed, I thought, well, six other reviewers loved the book so this one doesn't count.

    It does hurt and it does make you question you talents in the craft, but as you said, everyone has an opinion and some should be kept to one's self IMHO.