When you receive a bad book review, it can be hard to figure out how to react. We say ‘when’ and not ‘if’ because every author gets bad reviews. While it hurts to learn that someone wasn’t a big fan of your book, we have a few tips on how to handle the situation in a positive way.
Tip #1 - Celebrate it. Yes, celebrate it. As unfortunate as bad reviews may seem in the moment, they can actually help you in the long run by legitimizing good reviews. Having a negative opinion or two in your book’s review section usually inclines readers to believe the positive ones. If every single review was a positive 5-star rating, people would be less likely to trust them. Keeping negative reviews visible also inspires readers to buy the book in order to see for themselves whether or not they agree with the reviews - and who doesn’t want to sell another book?
Tip #2 - Don’t fight back. A lot of authors want to defend their work immediately after receiving a bad review in an attempt to prove the reviewer wrong. This isn’t a smart move; engaging with the reviewer just makes you look confrontational. You’ll impress more potential readers by leaving the negative reviews alone than by attacking people who disagree with you. By leaving them alone, you can focus your energy on creating and sharing other work - work that might gain countless positive reviews. It’s also key to remember that different readers like different content, and that you can’t please everyone all the time.
Tip #3 - Shake it off and move on with your day. Don’t let one person get you down. Allowing a single bad review to ruin your outlook won’t help you in the long run. We’ll say it again: bad reviews happen all the time, to every author who has ever published a book, and each second you spend worrying or ranting about negative comments is a second not spent marketing your book to people who will truly appreciate and love it. It comes down to focusing on the bigger picture - despite bad reviews, there are still plenty of good ones.
Here’s what indie authors need to know about new trends in book formats and marketing.