This article will give the Top 10 best tongue-in-cheek tips to authors for how to deal with negative book reviews:
1) Don’t take criticism personally
2) Don’t take life so seriously
3) Don’t ignore the value of crying
4) Use reverse psychology
5) Burn an effigy
6) Hire a Private Investigator
7) Call the Police
8) Name and Shame
9) Don’t underestimate the power of violence
10) Write to your Member of Parliament
There will be a hidden BONUS (!) at the end of the article if you stick around, too. So, let’s begin.
Total Reading Time: 9.7 minutes
Total words: 1262
I know it’s hard, but try not to take criticism personally. The reviewer doesn’t know you personally, for a start. Of course, your entire existence is probably in that book of yours, in your opinion, but if you’re not a very good writer, let’s face it, it probably isn’t as much as you think it is.
As a writer, remember, you have written quite a few pages, and just the act of doing that will have made you think that even by volume alone, it must be worth something, right? It would be nice. But, let’s be honest: Think again: Not Necessarily!
Look what happened to Encyclopedia Britannica. How many pages did those bad boys have? If you’re reading this born in the age of Google, you might miss the reference, but if you got a negative review, the chances are you probably aren’t.
The point is, if you look too hard for information, and one of those bad boys falls on your foot, get out the wheelchair, count yourself lucky and don’t take life so seriously, ever again!
Obviously, check if anyone else is around first, but don’t hold it in: Blub like a baby because … they insulted YOUR book baby! This is worse than insulting a fur baby, because you may not have actually given birth to your fur baby but you will definitely have given birth to your book baby, even if you’re a bloke (!) and the delivery did or didn’t stretch the parts other parts just can’t reach; a breach by any other name would smell as sweet.
Have you thought about using reversing psychology by printing out the negative review and placing it in a gold frame? Stephen King famously said when you get too many rejection letters, ‘buy a bigger nail’. You’re probably not good enough to get that many rejection letters, especially after that last one you got, so why not frame it for posterity and make it look bigger. You could always hammer a nail through it to be ironic!?! Take a photo and tweet, “What does SK know about horror!”
These days with the availability of straw, and online instructions, effigies are increasingly popular to make, and burn remarkably easily. All you need do is attach a printout of the photo of the reviewer to attach to the straw doll, with a bit of sellotape behind the head, chant a few curses to their eternal damnation, and Bob’s your uncle! It probably won’t make any difference, but it may satisfy that internal urge of yours for revenge. Obviously, keep it to yourself, though. It doesn’t look good on Breakfast News if you do ever make it for viewers to see you torturing straw effigies over their cornflakes.
It is ridiculous to think of tracking down a reviewer yourself, but with professional investigative help anything is possible. First, track down all the evidence you can from their social media posts, friends and family, and people that might recognise them in their locality and, ideally, workplace, before you go out in the field yourself, or throw good money after bad, by hiring a private detective.
If that fails, call the Police. You will need to give them the time, place and exact details of what was said. Spell it out for them. Literally. A.M.A.Z.O.N., and motive: D.E.S.T.R.O.Y..M.Y..B.O.O.K. – D.E.S.T.R.O.Y..M.Y..L.I.F.E: M.U.R.D.E.R!!!
If you can’t beat them, join them. Review their book. If they haven’t written anything, review their review! And if you still feel bitter, write a book in their name, and then give them an even worse review than they gave you! This has the added advantage of probably being true, in terms of the quality of the writing, so they can’t argue with you.
Hiring a hit man may not immediately seem like the proportionate response to a bad amazon review, but what if it happened when you were already having a bad day? Obviously I’m fr*gg*ng kidding, who has to wait for it to happen on a bad day?!? If you know an ‘uncle’ who other people walk wide around on the sidewalk, he’s your man! Just whisper how many stars in his ears, and watch his eyelids flicker.
Now, you may have thought some of my suggestions were a little wide of the mark, but this one really is! If you think that a professional politician is likely to care about what someone thinks about your book, when even your own family and their dog, couldn’t give a damn, you should probably consider a political career?
I don’t want to be mean, especially on the final note, but in all honesty, don’t you think that negative KDP reviews are a kind of rough justice for the kind of writers that post in social media groups about their ‘memoir of their reservist great grandpa growing carrots from his wheelchair during the second world war’ or ‘the hottest romance between hunky personal trainer and spiritual healer who is also secretly a brain surgeon, and the girl on the checkout at Tescos’?
It could be karma. I’m just saying, don’t shoot the messenger … unless that is the only solution!
In all honesty, someone gave my book a three-star rating without any words and I was in bed for days plotting the above!
BONUS FOR READING THE WHOLE ARTICLE
Of Henry James Twain said, “Once you’ve put one of his books down, you simply can’t pick it up again.”
On George Meredith, Oscar Wilde wrote, “As a writer he has mastered everything except language; as a novelist he can do everything except tell a story; as an artist he is everything except articulate.”
On Hall Caine, Oscar Wilde wrote, “Mr. Hall Cain, it is true, aims at the grandiose, but then he writes at the top of his voice. He is so loud that one cannot hear what he says.”
On George Moore, Oscar Wilde wrote, “He leads his readers to the latrine and locks them in.”
And J.D. Salinger is my hero! And Norman Mailer! I love them both, so I don’t know what that says about my writing. But if you are interested, my new novel, “The Knock: A True Story of an Innocent Man, a Twisted Accusation and the Fight for Truth is out now on Amazon here.
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