Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Three things not to do when you get a bad review

 I have been lucky enough to have some wonderful reviews, but let's face it, however brilliant your book you may also get some painful ones. For example, Catch 22 is some people's favourite novel, yet I detest it and would produce a blistering review were I to be writing it up.

So what shouldn't you do when you get a stinker?
  1. Don't take it to heart - I know this easier said than done, but bear in mind a review is a personal opinion, not fact. You can revel in the fact that not many people read reviews any more. Then you can play the 'out of context' game. Find some snippets of the review you can use in a positive way on your website. So, for instance, if it says: 'Absolute rubbish. This is a brilliant novel compared with a heap of used toilet paper, but nothing else.' put 'a brilliant novel...' on your website. That'll teach the reviewer.
  2. Don't email the reviewer - unless it's an online review containing a factual error that can be corrected. And 'This book is rubbish' isn't a factual error. To argue about that would be to argue with opinion which is pointless. What's more, the same person may review your next book. Why make enemies unnecessarily?
  3. Don't set up a web page dissecting the review and attacking the reviewer. Someone did this about a review I wrote recently and it really isn't a sensible move. At worst you will end up facing a libel action and at best you will end up looking a sore loser. Once again, you could be reviewed again by the same person. Feel free to tell your friends and relations what you think, but don't go public.
I know it's annoying. I know it hurts. But the best thing to do with a bad review is to ignore it and move on. Some people just don't look at their reviews. I can't do that - I have to peek. But I can shrug my shoulders and think 'They don't get it' without carrying forward a grudge or making a fuss.

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