Book Reviews: What When It’s a Poor One?
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Last Updated on March 22, 2021 by Mileva Stankovic
If you’ve opened this blog post, you’re probably a published author and you’ve had some bad book reviews.
We know how hard it is to expose yourself through writing. Still, negative book reviews will keep on happening until there are people who read books.
We know how it sounds, but listen to this – it is possible to feel okay about a bad book review.
Read on to see how to handle negative book reviews.
To understand how to handle a bad book review, you need to realize that you’ll always have those, right?
The wider the audience, the bigger the possibility of getting a bad book review.
So what even is a book review in the first place? If we’re on the same page, we are speaking of the book reviews your reader had left on a platform where your book sells. In that regard, we won’t define a book review as a literary criticism a person passed on to you upon analyzing your book, but as an opinion of a reader.
Let’s repeat this.
Not a criticism after a book analysis but an opinion of a reader!
But there’s more.
Book Reviews vs Critiques vs Opinions vs Hate comments
How are these different?
In some countries, a book review is paid for, and it’s supposed to be done by a well-known author (the more famous the better) and/or a university language professor. It’s sent along with a manuscript to the desired publisher if they ask for it.
Once the manuscript is accepted for print, the review(s) go to the appendix and serve for a reader to learn more about the written work.
Critique is given by, let’s say, a public authority, such as book magazines.
Both of these are not subjective (at least they shouldn’t be), but are based on experience and knowledge a specific person has about literature.
What we’re usually faced with on publishing platforms are opinions of readers and/or hate comments.
These are highly subjective, based only on their feeling about the book.
While some of them might have previous experience in book reviewing/critiquing, their motif to leave a review is an important factor to observe.
Book reviewers and critique experts we have mentioned above have money as a motif, either directly from you as an author or from the readers of their blog/magazine/newspapers and their subscriptions.
The only motif of a regular reader to leave a review for your book is to show you that they either loved it or that you could work on some aspects of it.
And those opinions are sometimes what hurts us the most.
A hate comment is easy to cast away once we notice it, simply because it’s obvious that it’s helpful.
It’s not constructive for us to lean on hate comments and there’s nothing in them to help us improve.
But an honest opinion is could be something that kicks us down as authors. We may think we’re not good enough and we should rush to change our whole writing style, but why should we?
Even if you change it all and that reader returns to buy your new book and he loves it, there will come another who might ask a simple question such as “Why did you change your writing style?” to make you rethink it all and send you down the rabbit hole again.
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How to Fight Awful Book Reviews
You can fight bad book reviews in many ways:
- Take a fresh look
- Write more
- Someone will always dislike your work
- Focus on readers who love you
- Trust in your family members
Before an attempt to delete poor book reviews, you might try to separate your feelings and observe it from another angle. Maybe the person who left a bad review hated your protagonist because of personal reasons.
Or maybe something else happened to your reader on that particular day when they decided to leave a bad book review. Sometimes that’s all that people do – they shake off their bad days on someone unrelated. What if your reader left multiple poor book reviews that day to various authors?
Move on to writing more. Thus you’ll improve your writing. There’s not a stronger “cure” to poor writing than to write more and learn about your mistakes. If the book review you received pointed out some mistakes, writing more will correct them in the future.
Realize that there will always be people who won’t like your work.
Maybe your book cover or a book blurb made them think they’ll like it.
Maybe your returning readers come back one day and buy a book and they decide it’s not as good.
The more books you write, the bigger the chances that this will happen.
Let them. Thank them. Once your readers feel they’re heard and understood, they’ll probably come back and see if there’s still something you wrote that they will love.
Show that review to your most valuable and closest readers and ask them what they think.
Discuss it with a family member who you trust and who read your works.
Do your best to take what you think is positive from bad book reviews and think about what can help you move forward with your writing.
Unpleasant book reviews – final thought
We can all learn from each other and maybe that person was sent to you so that you can really improve some aspects of your writing.
At the end of the day, you still made a sale. And that’s something you should consider to be a small win.
How did you handle your bad book review? Let us know in the comments below.
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