If you’re a new author, or even if you’re not, bad book reviews can be truly devastating.
They can make you question your writing, your story, and even yourself. But the truth is that bad book reviews are inevitable. Even the most successful authors have experienced the sting of a negative review. But don’t let a few negative words discourage you. Instead, use it as motivation to keep writing and improve your craft.
So how do you handle a bad book review?
1. Take criticism seriously, but don’t take it personally.
It’s important to remember that not everyone is going to like your book, no matter how good it is. A bad review is not a reflection on you as a person or an author, so try not to take it too much to heart. It’s just one person’s opinion, and it doesn’t mean anyone else has to agree with them.
2. Respond professionally.
If you do choose to respond to a bad review, make sure you do so in a professional and courteous manner. Don’t respond in anger or frustration. Take some time and think about what you want to say before hitting “publish” on any comments, no matter the platform. Responding in anger will only lead to drama for both parties involved. It may also end up hurting your reputation as an author more than it helps your cause!
3. Look at the review objectively and use it as an opportunity for improvement.
If someone has pointed out something specific they didn’t like about your book, ask yourself how you could have improved upon that aspect of your story (and if possible, make changes accordingly). Also, consider whether there were any other things they didn’t like about it and see if there was anything else you could have done differently that might have improved their experience with your book.
4. Consider the source for credibility.
Not all reviewers are created equal, and some are more credible than others. If the reviewer is someone whose opinion you respect, then their criticism may be worth taking to heart. On the other hand, if the reviewer is anonymous or someone whose opinion you don’t value, then you can probably safely ignore their review.
5. Move onward and upward.
In the end, the best thing you can do is simply move on from any negative reviews and focus on writing your next great book! Take what you learned from this experience of receiving a bad review and file it away as valuable knowledge and feedback. It will only make you a better author in the end as it helps you fine-tune your ideal audience and reader.
Final takeaway: A negative review does not mean you’re a bad writer; it means that person didn’t like your book or couldn’t connect with it on any level. That doesn’t mean that person won’t like another book by you or anyone else for that matter.
Bad reviews are unfortunate but inevitable. They are part of being an author. But, there are ways to handle them in a professional and constructive manner. By following these five tips, you can minimize the damage and even turn the situation around to your advantage.
Next time you see a negative review of your book, don’t panic or fret—just remember it’s part of the process of learning and growth that’s shaping you into the amazing author you’ve always wanted to become.