I have been on a few different forums lately, talking to other authors about whether or not we read our reviews and then how we react to the bad ones.
Some are fine either way, while other others can’t stand to look at all and a handful only look at the early reviews and then move on.
Me, I read them and while the first poor review I got was disappointing, it was soon squashed down by a whole host of glowing reviews that made me realise that perhaps, as I writer – I didn’t totally suck.
Bad reviews seem to travel in groups. I don’t know what it is, but I notice that whenever I get one poor review on a title, a whole bunch of them come on in to join it. But, for me, as long as overall I have more good than bad, it’s not a big deal.
Let’s have a look at my latest bad review on Amazon for A Beautiful Struggle, it’s actually what prompted me to create this post because it is the complete opposite to what a lot of my other reviews have to say –
1.0 out of 5 stars Corny
Not a big fan of this one. It was very long drawn out and corny. Very predictable ending I am afraid.
Now why shouldn’t I be upset by this? Let me show you why.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Struggle
This was a really great book I highly recommend it to be read. A good love story with twists that you do not see coming. Would love to read the back story.
I suppose I could have found one of those 5 star reviews to show you that rave on about how awesome I am, but I chose this one, because it was short, sweet and to the point. The 1 star thought I was predictable, but the 5 star didn’t see the twists at all – it’s all about perspective really isn’t it?
What is it about the 1star review that makes it more valid than the 5star review? Does the fact that that person could break down my plot and not be surprised at all make her a better judge of my work than the reviewer who fell in love with my characters and was shocked by the turn the plot took?
The answer is each review is valid in it’s own right – it’s simply someone else’s opinion. One reader loved it, the other reader hated it. But you know what? I didn’t like Pride and Prejudice. I know, I know, I should be drawn and quartered for that, and I’m so so sorry, but I just didn’t enjoy it. I love the premise behind it, but as a page turner – it just didn’t work for me. But me thinking that, doesn’t make it any less of a masterpiece right?
You see what I’m getting at? A bad review (or even 20) doesn’t make your own ‘masterpiece’ any less of one in someone else’s eyes.
Overall, A Beautiful Struggle has a rating of 3.8 out of 5. It was my very first work of fiction and I’m damn proud of it. Someone telling me they thought it was boring or predictable, isn’t going to change my opinion of it. Just like someone telling me it’s fantastic isn’t going to make me think I deserve a Nobel prize. I love my characters and I love the story. More people like it than they do hate it, so that’s a pretty fantastic thing in my mind, and I see very few books out there with a one star rating, so there are readers out there for all of us, who hear our voice and see our vision exactly how it was meant to be – but that 1 or 2 star reviewer, just wasn’t one of them.
So what if someone hates it? I hate grapefruit, but that doesn’t stop the shops from selling it.