Friday, December 6, 2013

How do you handle bad reviews?

With a smile and a grain of salt. It's not the end of the world. In fact, getting a bad review may lead to good things, like more sales. I'm serious. Reviews are not the be all and end all of your writing career. Everyone who's been in the business long enough will have gotten bad reviews. It's inevitable that unflattering things will be said about your work so you might as well get used to it. 

Is there anything you can do to make yourself feel better after getting a bad review? 

Of course there is. You forget all about it and keep on doing what you're doing. How you forget about it is up to you. Alcohol might help. Going for a run might help. Writing a story about it might work too. It's up to you what action you take except for one.

Do NOT under any circumstances respond to a bad review with a diatribe of venom, how dare yous or explanations about what you meant to convey in your work and how misunderstood you are. I completely get how, in this here world of instant cyber connections, this strategy might be tempting, but don't do it. You can't win. You will only inflame the situation. 

Your replies to disgruntled readers (a well-constructed, meaningful argument that in your mind is meant to counteract somebody's poor opinion of your work) will not do you any good. If you defend yourself by replying to comments or in forums at the point of sale channel (Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc) in a misguided attempt to 'set the record straight' on your book, you will attract more haters and they will post more bad reviews in places you've never even thought of, as these folks will stand by their opinion and will get more invested in getting it heard. So if you cannot handle more criticism (deserved or otherwise) of your work, do not go there. Remember, you don't have to defend your creativity, you only need to grow thicker skin. 

But it's not all bad news. Let's put bad reviews in perspective. Funnily enough, bad reviews will often bring more traffic to your book and maybe even generate some sales. People (meaning me) love reading one star reviews, especially if they're witty. I haven't been that lucky; my one star reviews are all gripes about the books not having an ending in a freebie... Well, dah. Forgive me for not giving my work away. How silly of me. I do ask for a few bucks per download for my work. It's a well-trodden path I'm taking here; it's been done before (by many a greedy and ungrateful writer) and it's not as if I'm keeping it a secret. I want to be paid for my work. I would have thought by now folks have cottoned onto this strategy so many writers employ nowadays - you give book number one away for free, with the story continuing in subsequent books which are for sale - it's the only way a self-published writer (this one anyway) can sell books these days, if they're lucky which, just for the record, I haven't been. Must be the lack of reviews, good or bad. Or maybe I'm writing dead boring stuff. You be the judge. (Yes, this is a link to Amazon right here).

So, back to bad reviews. Embrace them, folks. They're just somebody's opinion. It's not the end of the world. Have a laugh. Love you, xxoo, Ivana

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