Allen J Johnston

Author of The Divine Series

The official website of Allen J Johnston, the author of The Divine Series.

How do I handle negative reviews?

In a previous blog, I posted tips on how to deal with negative reviews but it seems to come up so I am posting a blog specifically about reviews.

I hate this book and wish I had never spent the $.99 I did. I can't believe how bad this book was. I would not even use this book to line my cat box. This book would be best used for kindling. Poorly written. Bad character development and no plot.

Now, tell me that you don't fear seeing a post that really tears into your book. If you are an author, your reviews are critical to you. We all want to see glowing reviews, but no matter who you are, it won't always be five stars. You must be content with the overall review average. The more reviews you get, by the laws of statistics, the more chance that someone will leave you a negative review. There are a few things I suggest. Check with the reviewers history and see if they are fair or if they are just a Simon Cowell wannabe. Yes, he helped pave the way for many reviews to think it is something special to tear apart someones work. Some reviewers can be harsh and even down right mean. Try to see if what they are saying has any validity. I had someone, who wrote like they did not pass third grade, give me a bad review while everyone that appeared to have a high school degree wrote amazing things about my book. That helped me just shake my head and move on.

I hate to say this but when asked by other indi authors to review their work, I cringe. It would blow your mind to see how many authors don't understand that a plot needs to emerge prior to almost half way through the book. Just the other day I had to explain to an author that I need a reason to want to read his book. His character was predictable and very cliche. It was boring and a third the way through the book I would not have cared if the main character died. My point: Some books deserve the reviews they get. I really hope yours is not one of them.

Now, what can you do if you get a bad review? You can respond. Almost all sites allow for comment on a review. The reviewer will get a notice that their review has received a comment. Okay, DO NOT respond in anger. It would surprise you how many people respond harshly. This will only show people that you are bitter. When you respond, be polite and be appreciative, even if you want to lay the most vile curse on them and their entire family line. Here is what I said to someone who was not pleased that my writing style was not like Stephen King.

Thank you very much for buying my book and taking the time to read it in such detail that you were able to give such a complete and in depth review of my work. As for other reviewers and their opinions, their input needs to be respected as does yours. Not everyone is going to like all books. For example, you cite Stephen King as a great read while I wish I could get back the time I spent reading The Eyes of the Dragon. You also rate Ender's Game as a 2 star while it has exploded so much so that it was even made into a movie. This shows it comes down to personal taste, which is the way it should be. With that said, your input gives me some things to consider. I do appreciate it and welcome all constructive input.

Since you took the time to post this review, I would gladly be willing to send you a signed copy of book one, two and three to see if it addresses any of the issues further in the story line that you find fault with in book one. Feel free to go to my website and send me an email. I would enjoy receiving your feedback on the entire story line.

In conclusion, I would say that all readers should take a look at my sample chapters and decide for themselves if they like my writing style. Thank you all who take the time to leave honest and constructive reviews.

This got me very positive feedback and some reviewers even stepped up to admonish him for his criticism. I even got emails from people who saw his review telling me how much they love my work and to not let this review bother me. No matter what you do, do not advocate another reviewer tearing into another reviewer. Thank them each for their input. Also, see how I ended my comment? I encouraged all readers to judge for themselves. Feel free to copy my comment and use it yourself. I used this negative review as an opportunity to get people to consider my book themselves. I turned this negative situation into as much a positive situation as possible.

If you use my response, tailor it to your own needs, but do your best to keep any negativity out of it. If you want to be taken serious as a writer, you do not want a reputation for being argumentative or jaded. If readers see that you took the high road, they will respect that. There will be NOTHING gained from being offended and responding in anger. Now, if you read my first paragraph, you will see that I found a way to weaken his review against my book. It is a valid point, but it does allow me the ability to speak up for myself. Be gentle and make certain it is constructive and respectful.

I hope this has helped calm your nerves and relieved some of that sick feeling many will feel due to a bad review.

Please comment below with your input so we all can improve our careers as writers. Thanks for reading and may your writing career flourish.