How do I deal with bad reviews?

Poorly. That’s not the point.

In the past few weeks, I have received some of the most beautiful reviews of my books. A few have even made me cry. I have also received some of the worst reviews, ones I really never expected to get. A few of those have also made me cry.

I know I can’t please everyone, and just in case I didn’t know that, people are constantly reminding me of that when I tell them about a bad review. But people can be hateful! And WRONG*! And (literally) spoil-sports. Multiple people think it’s okay to ruin the ending for people just because they didn’t like the book. I, on the other hand, do not. I would never post a spoiler in a review– especially on Amazon. I truly believe that, by posting these spoilers, these people are costing me readers– and while they’re happy about that, I’m not. The majority of readers do like the book, too, so give others the opportunity to find out on their own.

Last week, someone who was planning to read my books learned of a spoiler, and actually said she didn’t think she wanted to read them now because she knew too much. I think a lot of people feel that way. But for the people who enjoyed book one– even if they hated the ending– and continued with the series, they really loved the other books and the series ending! Time Stands Still has a 4.59-star rating on Goodreads. Never Look Back has 4.56 stars. Not Today, But Someday has 4.71 stars. Lost and Found just seems to be a bit polarizing. It still has 4.18 stars.

I think one of the most frustrating things is that some of these people who hate the first book so much say I’m a good writer. If I was a reviewer, I’d give one star to someone who couldn’t write worth crap– not someone who can, who just happened to write a book with an ending I didn’t enjoy or sex scenes I felt were too explicit.

The sex scenes in book one are critical to character development. That is who Nate is. I apologize that he couldn’t settle on a girl– it’s because the one he wanted was unattainable for so long. Guys like that exist. They aren’t horrible guys, either. Some just haven’t found what they’re looking for. One rule in writing is to show, not tell. That’s what I did. And I think the scenes are much more tasteful than you’d get in many, many books.

The ending in Lost and Found is part of Emi’s journey. It’s called Emi Lost & Found. So what if Nate narrates the first book? It’s a story-telling device, to use other narrators. To me, it gives a full picture of how these men feel about Emi. It gives a perspective you wouldn’t get if Emi narrated the whole series.

Love them or hate them, they’re my books. These characters are my children. Think about that when you write a review. Have some tact, and know that there is a person behind every book you read. If you couldn’t tell that I have feelings, well… then maybe you didn’t really read the book at all.

*I do not mean that they’re wrong in having the opinion they do. Some of the spoilers they describe are assumptions of what they think happens… hence, they are wrong.

4 thoughts on “How do I deal with bad reviews?

  1. You make me terrified for my book to finally be published. If you ever need cheering, just look up your favorite books, and see the horrific reviews that are up there about them. That’s what I’ve started doing when I panic about reviewers hating it. You have readers who honestly love your work who aren’t just relatives or friends. Embrace them!

    Thanks for the honest post. Scared for October.

    1. It’s so funny that you recommend that! I spent about a half hour reading one-star reviews for the Hunger Games. I felt a little better.

      I’m not going to lie- it’s tough. But the good reviews are wonderful, and I’m very happy I have many more of those than the bad ones. My skin grows a little thicker everyday, and yours will, too.

      I guess it’s just good to prepare yourself, and anticipate a handful of those reviews because you CAN’T please everyone. I didn’t anticipate one-star reviews… but obviously people have different criteria for the ratings. Some people who loved the series gave it three stars. To me, that’s mediocre, but to them, it’s something better.

      You’ll be fine. 🙂 It just takes some getting used to.

  2. Honey, you can be the ripest, juiciest, tastiest peach in the world and there are still going to be people who don’t like peaches.

    Let. It. Go.

    You’re a fantastic writer and those who don’t think so are the ones losing out, not you. Don’t let their criticism get to you.

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