How To Deal With A Negative Book Review

how to deal with a negative book review. change to negative to positive.

What Happens If You Get A Negative Review As An Author?

Negative Reviews happen. It’s just the way it is. There are negative people who enjoy being critical; who like to take things apart and nit-pick. 

The only way to never get a negative review or endure criticism is to not publish your writing. Not the best option, is it? And then the negative people score. Definitely not what we want.

Negative Reviews Are Really Not All That Bad

It means you stand for something. If your book can’t be criticized, then you don’t have a firm opinion on your subject. Who wants to read a book that says the sun rises in the east and sets in the west? Nobody cares.

On the positive side, your work has value or importance. It means you are offering a point of view or challenging a belief that not everybody shares. 

In my book Silver Butterfly Wings, someone wrote a review that questioned my belief in signs and messages my late husband was sending me from the Other Side. I get that. Totally.

I questioned those signs early on. How can a Spirit send messages Across the Veil? To our Earthly plane? Didn’t make sense to me at first. But over time I learned to trust those messages. They brought me comfort and hope during a grief-filled time in my life.

It’s Fine To Admit Negative Reviews Hurt

Was I upset with her review? Yes, at first. I’d received some glowing Reviews on NetGalley, on FB, and also some beautiful endorsements for my book before it was published.

And then Pow! I felt as if someone had just punched me in the gut. Oh no! Did that mean they didn’t even like it? Didn’t believe me? After all the work I put into that book? 

After taking a deep breath, and settling down, I realized it had nothing to do with me. Everything to do with that person, who, BTW is entitled to her opinion. 

It’s good to remember that if people are upset by what you’re saying, it’s because their ideas or philosophies are being challenged. And that’s important because if everyone agreed with everything there would be no progress, no evolution. 

Can You Learn From Negative Reviews ?

Try to be objective about the negative reviews. Are they right about anything? Or just a difference of opinion? Does their opinion give you pause to widen your own perspective?

If you can remain objective, there are usually valuable lessons to be learned. Try picking up a book from an author you like. Read any negative reviews and see what grabs your attention. Do you agree with some of the points made in this negative review? Do they seem out of step with the book’s message? Intention? 

After doing this a few times, you will learn to be objective and not emotionally attached or defensive to the writer’s perspective. Give it a try. Worked for me!

Should You Answer Negative Reviews?

That depends. Are they really out to get you? By trashing your book and/or your writing skills? Then it’s best to ignore negative reviews. Let them go. 

Or do they just think differently than you do and so your book does not resonate with that person? If you want to answer, that’s fine. Just remember not to answer defensively. That’s not the purpose of addressing the negative review. It’s to validate the person leaving a critical review (not a hateful one) and perhaps clarify things, so the reader is left with a positive perspective.

I had someone who left a mixed review of my book Reading Between The Lines. She said that I used too many cliches. 

Oops, I didn’t realize that. I justified (to myself) that cliches work. That’s why they’re used so often and everyone understands the meaning. I actually thanked her for pointing this out to me. 

She also said that Chapter 4 was too long. Well, I actually agreed with her. It was long and rambling and if I were to re-write my book, I would shorten it.

Now, every negative review is not as constructive, so my experience will not speak to everyone. I just use this as an example of what’s possible.

Last Thoughts On Negative Reviews

Nobody wants to read reviews that criticize their work, but if you can turn it into a learning experience, if some of their points are valid, then it might make you a better writer in the long run.

Wendy Willow, author of Silver Butterfly Wings

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