Handling criticism is part of the game and reviews can be painful. One should not engage with a critic. However desperate you are to, just back away from the keyboard because it’s a game you can’t win. Indifference is your only weapon. Don’t read them, would be my advice. At least not after the first few good ones that you hope you get and will cushion the blow. But we do… we do!!!
So if you must read them, then it’s important to know that sometimes bad reviews tell you far more about the reviewer than the book. Sometimes, it might make you feel better to know that a reviewer isn’t singling you out to throw crap at you and that’s because they HATE EVERYTHING. It just might make you feel better to check what else they review. Sometimes you can claim comfort from the fact that they’ve slagged off authors who are massively successful (‘Bible – too far-fetched.’ Look at the reviews on the Bible, if you don’t believe me.) Is there only one review to their name and it’s a crushing critique of your work (old enemy?) Sometimes it can just make you laugh that the reviewer has given you a one star review (because they couldn’t give you no stars) but their wart remover has received the full five star she-bang… that can release some pressure. We all get them, so deal with it. Know this: you just can’t please everyone and you never will. That some people will hate your books and want to tell the world to avoid you like the plague (not playing fair)… but if you keep getting the contracts and keep selling… that’s what you should concentrate on. Personally, I wouldn’t write a crap review for a book even if I hadn’t liked it. I’ve read too many that I’ve not enjoyed but other people have raved about and genuinely loved so who am I to stop a reader from possibly enjoying a story they’d love.
But, for the sake of a lesson (and an idea I nicked from my wonderful friend Debbie Johnson to showcase some bad ones) these are some of my favourite horrors and, in the arena of my website, I can answer them without engaging in a web-war.
‘Disappointed damaged when I received my book.‘
Oh flipping spare me!
I am in very good company. This person doesn’t like anything – all her other reviews are ‘dreadful’ ‘awful’ BUT she really did like her halogen light bulbs and gave them 4 juicy stars.
English? Would she rather I wrote in Swedish? I presume she means swearing. People swear in real life, so they swear in my books. You can’t have a nasty villain who shakes their fist and says ‘Blimey.’
‘I was so looking forward to this book I didn’t realise that this book dealt with assault!! If I would of known this I wouldn’t of bought this.
I have my copy to second hand. So misleading especially as it had a lovely cover.’
Even in books with lovely covers, some action has to happen. If the cover told the whole story, there would be just three pregnant woman posing for 400 pages. (ps – pet hate… that ‘of’ word instead of ‘have’!)
‘I have not got this yet I know what happen I would like my money back.’
‘I read this book in a few hours. What a load of predictable drivel! I would not recommend it to anybody.’
Why not just give up if you hate it? Reading should be about pleasure surely?? Interestingly, it’s the only book this person has ever reviewed so I feel kinda special… Maybe an old enemy from years past!
‘I found this book slow going and unfortunately it didn’t get any better. I found the whole concept unrealistic (a Christmas theme park?!).‘
Once upon a time, Alton Towers was just a field. And yep, there are Christmas theme parks in Britain – and that’s fact. Even if I do write fiction. Escapism. Did I say fiction?
‘…Actually don’t remember buying this?’
I have no words.
‘I can’t believe I spent 49p on a few pages – don’t bother – I thought i was buying a a short book not a few pages – this is a rip off’
It’s a short story, love. It costs 40p to have a wee in King’s Cross Station. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
‘What an utter waste of time! Won’t be buying any more of this author’s books!’
It was free. Some people, eh!