Friday, February 24, 2012

Negative Reviews

Everything you send out on the Internet could go from here to China in less than a minute.

Even if it is a private message to a select group of persons, what is to keep one of those persons from forwarding it or posting it to their blog? Nothing. Personally, I think there is no excuse for writing a nasty email, or tweet, or Facebook update. That's the beauty of writing. You always have a chance to go back, review and edit before clicking that "Post" button. So think hard before you click that mouse button.

No, this is not a fun Friday update, but something to think about. I was just tooling around on Goodreads and found a discussion about a book. The reviewer gave a lengthy one-star review of a novel. Some of the comments were harsh, but also valid with excerpts of the text to back up her opinion. In response, the author, who claims she intended to only send a message to her friends, sent it to the reviewer as well, calling her names and claiming she only gave the review because she was jealous and wanted to drive ratings down on the book. The email included a secondory plea to spam Amazon with five star ratings to change the overall rating.

*head desk*

This email was then forwarded by the reviewer, who was understandably upset. And the author, in the backlash, sent an apology email...too little too late.

I can understand the author's point of view. How hard it must be to go to your Amazon book page and see a bad review at the top for everyone one to read after going through the lengthy trials of writing, editing and finally getting published. But every published author is going to get at least one bad review. And there are better ways to deal with it than by insulting your readers, especially those who have a connection base of thousands.

I personally, will never read this book or another book by this author. I'm not going to say who because I'm not stupid. This is the Internet! However, if speaking with one of my friends offline, you bet I'll steer her away from the novel and not only because of the low-rating.

The best way to deal with negative reviews is to ignore them and continue promoting your book. Many authors don't even read reviews. And by God, if you simply can't keep your fingers away from the keyboard, then think hard before you send something. If I were in the author's position, I might respond with, "I'm sorry you didn't like my book, but thank you for your insightful review. I hope you'll consider reading my next book..." And I bet the reviewer will read it. (Although you might not want her to.)

I'm curious about you, though. Am I the only one who won't read a book because the writer made an Internet snafu? Or does a lack of professionalism leave a bad taste in your mouth too?

1 comment:

DRC said...

I don't think I'd let something like that stop me from ever reading her work, but it would have to be something good for me to pick it up in the first place.

I don't usually follow reviews. Everyone has a different opinion. They're entitled to it. What one person thinks is fantastic and the next best thing to Harry Potter, another may think it's awful and they're bitter for having wasted time and effort reading it. Me: I like to read thing (or watch, for that matter) and make up my own mind. But I think any one who puts their work out there for the general public should realise that they're not going to please everyone, as hard as that may be. Except it and move on.