Handling a Bad Book Review

Last week, I wrote about the importance of getting book reviews for your novel. One thing you have to be prepared for is the dreaded negative review. Every author at one time or another will get a less than stellar review. However, you get to choose how to handle it.

1.) You could ignore it and chalk it up to someone just not liking your novel because face it – not everyone likes the same things. Most readers understand that no book pleases everyone and that any book reviewed often enough will occasionally get a bad review. Actually, multiple glowing reviews often are dismissed by readers as reviews by family and friends. Negative reviews are taken more seriously because readers usually believe they represent an honest review from a disappointed reader.

2.)  Remember that a negative review may actually make your book sell. A negative review might pique the interest of someone. I know several romance writers who say that they sometimes see an increase in sales if someone complains about the graphic nature of their novel. While descriptive sex scenes may turn off one reader who swears it is porn, it may cause another reader to read it just to see if the reviewer is correct in their assessment.

3.) This one deals more with a professional book review rather than one that you got off of Amazon or Goodreads. You can turn the negative review into a positive because most reviewers will still list some good points. You can always use those positive words in part of your marketing. (The film industry does this quite a bit.)

The one thing I would caution is not to respond to the negative reviewer, unless they have stated something that is just not true and that untrue statement could hurt your book sales. An example would be for the reviewer to call your book erotica when it clearly is a wholesome Christian book with nothing more risqué than a simple kiss on the lips.

As tempting as it is to fire off a scathing rebuttal, your best bet if you want to respond at all is to say, “Thank you for taking the time to read and review my work.” And then move on. Your response – or better your lack of response – can certainly affect how well your book sells, perhaps better than a mediocre review. When you take the time to tell someone that their opinion is wrong, you risk not only the loss of that reader but the other readers who hear about your tirade. It also can affect future book sales because now you have a reviewer who may be just waiting for your next novel to bash you some more.

If there is anything you should take from a negative review is that your book provoked somebody enough to write about your book. Remember some of the greatest authors have had their works torn to shreds. So don’t fear the negative review. Either let it go or find a way to use it to your benefit because as they say any publicity is better than no publicity.

The importance of getting book reviews

One of the best and most inexpensive marketing tools for your novel is a book review. Before shelling out money for a book, many readers like to know ahead of time if it is good. Reviews give those readers an ideal of what others liked or didn’t like about the book. Reviews add a level of credibility to your book.

So now that you have written your book, how do you go about getting book reviews?

1.) Friends and Family – I hesitate to suggest you start by asking family and friends to review your book because readers can usually tell when there are a lot of five-star  reviews gushing about how great the author is that those reviewers know the author. However, if you have a family member or friend who will write an honest critique of your work – listing both the good and the bad – then go ahead and have them write a review.

2.) Book Blogs and Online Reviewers – The best bet is to submit your book to as many online book reviewers who review your genre as you possibly can. Finding these reviewers will take a bit of work, but it is well worth the effort.

You can find reviewers by searching Google or Yahoo for “Book Reviewers” or “Book Review Blogs.”  Make sure you read their submission guidelines before submitting your book. I have found that many book bloggers do not take e-books, and some will not review independent authors.

You can also check out forums relating to your book topic to find someone to review your book or even e-mail other reviewers who have reviewed similar books on Amazon or Goodreads.

Reviewers are also often bombarded by review requests daily. They may not be accepting new requests or have a long back list of to-be-read selections. Even if they do agree to review your book, it may be several months before the review appears online.

Some reviewers will list their review on Amazon and Goodreads while others will only post it on their website. If they don’t put it on Amazon, you can still pull a quote from their review to include in your book description.

3.) Paying for a Review – I don’t suggest this method at all but there are sites where you can pay to have reviews written. There are more than enough readers out there willing to write a review for just a free copy of your book that you shouldn’t have to pay for a review Plus paying for a review is not an objective opinion of your book and readers will not give it the same credibility as other reviews.

When it comes to book reviews, the more the better. So devote some time into recruiting people to review your book. Once you have some reviews, make sure you are using those reviews or quotes from those reviews in your marketing campaign.

If anyone loves dragons, cats and sword fighting and would like to review my book on Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes and Noble, I would be willing to provide a free copy. Contact me through my “About Me” page.