I've said it a ton of times, when I thought about publishing Being Human, I knew I would get bad reviews. People wouldn't like it. People would say nasty things about both it and me. I prepared myself for it the best I could. I understood my feelings would be hurt and I would want to vent. But I vowed to do it privately. I would not write a blog post crying foul. I would not rant on twitter or facebook. The most the internet would publicly hear was this: I got a bad review. *sad face*
To me, this seems like not only common sense, but common belief. Time and time again, I have seen others state: Do NOT respond to reviews. Do not even respond to good reviews. It is best for the author to stay silent. They have a point. The reader didn't post that review just for the author's benefit.
So will someone tell me why I keep seeing author meltdowns? This week I commented on a blog that was ranting about a two star review. The review wasn't even scathing! But it was from another author and the author of the blog's opinion was authors should only give support publicly. Criticism should be done in private. In another tweet I was linked to a website about stopping bullying on Goodreads. But the people linking noted the site seemed to be the one doing the bullying. I've seen authors melt down in blog comments as well and on twitter.
Bad reviews are going to happen. Not all readers will like your books. Some low reviews will be nice about it. Others will rip the book into shreds. Then there will be the ones that attack the author and suggest not buying from that author. Guess what?
That's their opinion!
Yes, reviews do influence readers. But there are over seven billion people on this planet. Say that number out loud. Seven billion. That one scathing review is pretty insignificant compared to that. And yes, I know not all are readers, but my point is authors are not going to run out of readers anytime soon. There are plenty to go around. Meaning there is no need to get your panties in a twist because someone thought your main character fell flat.
But, Patricia, you haven't gotten a scathing review. You don't know what you're talking about.
No, I haven't. I have only gotten a few low reviews. One was from a friend I asked to review Being Human. I had been hoping for at least three stars, but I got two. I was bummed and upset. But I didn't blog about it. I whined to hubby and a few friends. I drank a little. I got over it and looked at it as a badge of honor. My first low review! I saw the silver lining. I had seen people say a book with all glowing reviews made them wary. They wondered if the reviews were from family and friends. I had a friend give me a low review. I hoped that would be proof to others that the reviews they see about my book were honest. And you know what else? My friend still said he curious about Being Human's sequel. Yes, he hated the ending and hated Sunlight, but he wasn't completely turned off.
You can bet your sweet ass if I had melted down publicly he wouldn't be interested in reading anything else I published. He wouldn't talk to me on Goodreads. We probably wouldn't be friends. But even if he had ripped me a new one, I wouldn't have publicly melted down. I wouldn't have called him out. Like I said, I'd pout privately. Then I'd get over it.
That's what I think other authors should do. Yes, you can be upset when a reviewer bashes your book and you. We are human and mean words hurt even those with the thickest of skin. You can even rant to a friend. But vent privately. Away from Facebook, twitter and your blog. Surround yourself with friends or go out for a walk. Write all the mean things down on a piece of paper and then crumple it up. Toss it in the trash or burn it. Laugh manically while doing it too. Go read a glowing review of your book. Anything, but publicly melt down. I saw a comment the other day concerning author melt downs. It stuck with me so much I mentioned it on another blog. I'm going to say it here.
Bad reviews don't stop readers from buying books. Bad author behavior does.
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