Five ways to cope with a bad review

Writers write so readers can read. But what happens when readers decide to do some writing of their own?

Reviews and ratings. The only type of feedback that’s available for everyone to see. And, of course, from time to time, someone writes a bad review and gives you a one star rating. The review may be a long, essay-like exposition on how bad your writing is, or just a one liner filled with spelling errors. A really bad review might be enough to make your heart throb inside your chest. Tears might be involved as well.

Well, I’m going to tell you some of the best ways to cope with bad reviews. All of them have been properly tested.

1. Sit down, count to three, relax, close your eyes. Think of something funny. Build a happy place inside your head where that bad person who gave you a one star review on Amazon can’t reach you.

2. Walk it off. Go for a stroll in the park. Take your dog with you. Don’t have one? Take your cat, your parrot, etc. Half an hour of aimless wandering can do miracles for your blood pressure.

3. Write a new story. Yeah, simple as that. Start something new, something better.

4. Go to the Amazon page of your favorite novel and read all the one star reviews that are there. Bad reviews are everywhere, and even a masterpiece has to have some really bad ones. No book has ever pleased everyone. As David Gaughran once said, great books tend to divide people.

5. Read your five star reviews. Read some fan mail.

What you DON’T want to do is:  reply. Never, ever do that. Not when you get a good review, because people will expect you to answer to all of your reviews, and especially not when you get a bad one. If a reader is confused as to what the hell where you trying to say in your story, don’t try to explain. Not even in a cheeky, cheery manner.

The thing is that, okay, you write a story. But from the moment someone buys that story, it’s theirs. And they can understand as much or as little as they want/can. They can love it or hate it. But your job’s done. You can’t possibly expect to be there when someone reads your story and explain all the bits that they didn’t understand.

Don’t try to denigrate the reviewer, don’t hire the mob to kill him.

Because bad reviews also lend credibility to your book. Having only five star reviews is a bit suspicious.

We’re all different. We all have different preferences when it comes to literature. So, maybe, just maybe, that person who gave you a bad review did so simply because he didn’t like the story, not because it wasn’t good. It just wasn’t his cup of tea. It happens.

The thing is that people tend to write reviews for the books they either loved or hated. To let others know that the book is worth reading or to let others know they should stay away from it.

So, relax and drink a beer or something.


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