Today I'm talking about negative reviews.
We've all hopefully experienced the joys of receiving a positive review - when a reader has not only liked your book, but liked it enough to tell the world they did and why. We've also (or at some point will) experience the lows of a negative review. The question is how do you as a writer handle those negative reviews?
To answer that question, I'm going to break negative reviews down into two types:
- The one or two-star review that gives you no indication as to why they disliked your book, other than to say it was rubbish and/or to avoid it.
- The one, two, or three-star review that tells you why they didn't like your book.
My opinion with regard to the first type is to just ignore them. As painful as they are, there will always be people who do not like or get your writing. It's a fact of life. Most importantly, do not comment on or react to these reviews. Take it on the chin and accept it will happen.
With regard to the second type of negative review, treat it as a type of constructive criticism. If a reader has taken the time to say what they disliked, pay attention. Of course you may not agree with everything they say, but is there anything in there that actually may hold some truth? In a recent three-star review I received for Passing Time, a reader said they felt my stories were rushed and needed more time. One thing I have heard from friends who have read my stories is 'make them longer'. So, I have taken their advice and the negative reviewers comments seriously. I am working to ensure my stories are longer and do not leave anything out.
No writer wants to hear someone disliked their work. It does hurt. We are human, and we have fragile egos. But we can choose how we react to them, turning a negative into a positive.
What about you? How do you handle negative reviews?