Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When an author gets a bad review

Recently I attended a Seattle book bloggers function in which reviewers, a publishing rep and an author were present and we discussed how we review books, should one be honest or not, and about being sensitive to the author and the book. There was NOT a person in the room who I felt would ever be so critical as to hurt or be cruel in writing their review. However, recently I realized that's not always the case as I feel there are some out there who actually enjoy going off on an author!

Today on two highly respected blogs, I was appalled how the reviewer trashed a New York Times Best-selling author and on several other blogs and Amazon how utterly cruel the reviews were for a debut author and a highly respected contemporary romance author. These comments were posted on July releases.

In light of the recent RWA Convention in Washington DC, these same bloggers smoozed it up with these same authors and publishing houses and return home to write such critical and cruel comments……amazing. I just don't get it!

So here are some articles and tips for those of you who might receive a bad review and I hope it helps.

Reviewers are entitled to their opinions and that’s the name of the game in publishing. I hope my readers understand that I didn’t mean to hurt anyone and I’m truly sorry if I did.

Alice Hoffman has been critized for recent post on Twitter here

On Murder she Writes, the phrase the author doesn't deliver, blog post

How to Respond to Bad Reviews gives one some advise if you're so inclided, post


There may be times when you need to stick up for yourself. If someone leaves comments that are untrue and damage your character or brand, go to the Web site to find out if you can have those comments removed. Before you pursue, ask other writers what they think of the comments first, or consult your publicist.

As Gena Showalter once said in a blog post, on Romancing the Blog

“Ouch! Books are products, authors aren’t. We may wish otherwise, but feelings do become involved. And let’s be honest, some comments are so bad they can make us:

1. 1) cry
2. 2) depressed
3. 3) want to give up and never write again
4. 4) all of the above

We can’t give up, though. Writing is in our blood, it’s what we love. So here are four ways to try and beat the bad review blues:”

Gena's post

When Book Reviews Go Bad, article

"Negative reviews and how to cope nobody likes a critic, particularly an author who is on the receiving end of a negative and very public judgment. While some authors can shrug off a poor review with ease, other authors feel as judged as the book itself."

For a little humour, I'm Sorry You Feel That Way, at The Worst Review Ever!

If you’re an author (or an actor, musician, or any other kind of artist really) and your work has been publicly ridiculed or met with some other form of extreme criticism…email me ( alexajoy@socal.rr.com) the worst review you can find along with your answers to the following questions*:
1. When and where did this review appear?
2. How did you happen upon the review?
3. How did you feel immediately after seeing the review?
4. Did you do anything in response to the review?
5. If you did something in response, how do you feel about said reaction in retrospect?
6. What other steps did you take in an effort to assuage your pain?
7. How long did it take you to get over the pain and humiliation of the review (assuming you got over it)?
8. What, if anything, positive came from receiving your WORST…REVIEW…EVER?
9. Anything you’d like to add?
* NOTE: If filling out the full questionnaire is adding insult to injury, just send me the damning review with any additional comments you want to appear with it.

I closing, if you’re a debut author, a published author, hopefully there are more of us out there who are responsible and respectful of your work and appreciate the time and effort you put into your writing...


Jessiecue said...

I always try to say what I like and dislike about a book. I as well try to put a positive out look on something I have reviewed. Personally I try not to go by how something is reviewed. Every person is an individual and should make up there own mind on what they want to read. I do feel that you should consider how what you are saying may affect other people. The authors and editors deserve very high praise for spending the time and energy that they do on a book. It isn't like they set down and right it all in one setting. Even if you can read it in one setting. Things take hard work and time. The person who accomplished should feel appreciated for what they did. Not feel like no one appreciates it.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I'm a true romantic and I tend to review from my heart. I feel an author has taken the time to write a book to make a difference and so I treat it in that way.

All I know is that when my husband died suddenly, the author community rallied and I was never without love and support. Just a wonderful group of people!

Jessiecue said...

No problem... When I read it, it automatically reminded me of a post the author Lyn Cote posted the other day. I dunno if you saw it or not. I told her how I felt about it as well. I just hate when I start to read a review and it is hurtful to someone. Not liking it is one thing but people can take it way to far.
Here is the link to the that Lyn posted.


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