Marketing Basics - Responding to Book Reviews

If at all possible, try to avoid reading your reviews about your book. That will prevent you being tempted to respond to them. But, we’re all human and we want to know when someone talks about our work. I can safely assume that you will ignore this advice completely. 

So, once you’ve read a review on your work, you might be tempted to respond. The best advice I can give you for that is, no matter if they are good or bad, is to leave your book reviews alone.  

Firstly, reviews are not written for you, the author. They are the reader’s personal interpretation of your story. They need to feel free to share their thoughts, good or bad without fear of harassment. 

On bad reviews:

Not everyone is going to like your book. A bad review does not mean the reviewer is personally attacking you.  It’s simply an opinion from one reader. You’ve heard the old saying about opinions, right? Everybody’s got them… 

It’s human to feel upset when you receive a bad review. After all, you did labor over this project for countless months, revision upon revision. It’s ok to be angry, hurt, disappointed, and any other negative emotion that hit’s you. Your work is your baby and a bad review is akin to someone calling it ugly.  As the author, you feel like any negative is a personal attack on you.  Just feel it in the privacy of your own home. 

Lashing out publicly is never going to bring back positive results for you. In fact, it’s going to push people further away from you and your books.  Case in Point:  Recently, an author disagreed with a review posted by a blog Big Al’s Books and Pals (dedicated to indie books). What started as a simple disagreement between the author and the review blog, quickly dissolved into the author throwing a temper tantrum. This tantrum was tweeted, shared, linked and spread through the internet like wildfire. The author’s book took the brunt of the backlash and was flooded with thousands of negative comments and close to 100 1-star reviews.   

The internet is like an elephant, it never forgets. Any comments you make, whether bad or good, will be stored online, on servers, and can eventually be accessed and be dragged out again when you least expect it.
Instead of channeling the negative energy into an online temper tantrum, which will only make you look bad, why not try to look for something you can take back from the review. 

Did the reviewer point out any typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, etc? Think of this as an opportunity to improve your work. The nice thing about being an indie author is we have the ability to update and improve our work. With ebooks, it’s as simple as uploading a new file. The update cost us nothing and will correct the mistakes for any future books purchased. With POD books the same principle applies (but due to cost, you might wait until you have significant improvements before uploading new files.)
Read more tips and tricks in my handy dandy little guide.

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Comments

David S. Leyman said…
Absolutely agree with you. I was going to say that I could not have put it better myself but, in fact, I probably could! Just joking with you - well put. I shall retweet.
Katie Salidas said…
Thank you David!! And thank you for the RT's too!
KiaZiShiru said…
great post ;) And yeah, great advice on replying to bad reviews :)
Marion Sipe said…
Great post! Reviews are terrifying--from both sides of the coin! :-D