Since it has been almost 2 months since I published my debut psychological thriller book, The Long Shadow on the Stage, I have received more than a few reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, and various book blogger and reviewer’s websites. In fact, I just reached 10 reviews on Amazon and have a 4.2 average rating on Amazon currently. However, despite the majority of the reviews being wonderfully positive, I have also received a few not-so-nice, negative reviews.
As an author, dealing with negative reviews is inevitable. Just take a look at any of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, or JK Rowling’s books and you’ll see plenty of nasty reviews, sometimes not even directed at the book, but at the author. This is the first way to make yourself feel better after receiving a negative review; realize that you’re not the only author who has ever received a mean review. Even famous, wealthy, incredibly successful, talented authors receive negative reviews.
Another way to handle negative reviews is by reminding yourself that your book may not have been the right genre for the reader. Every author has an “Ideal Reader,” but sometimes people buy books outside of their normal genres or they don’t know what genre the book is in and purchase a book with a different expectation. For example, thriller authors would hope that readers wouldn’t purchase and read their book if they don’t like books with death, violence, and gore. Adult thriller books typically have profanity and many have sexual situations as well. Readers of the thriller genre know what to expect when they pick up a thriller book, but someone who normally reads romance books or fantasy may be shocked at the content in a thriller.
If you come across a particularly rude review that feels like a personal attack, then it might be best to stop reading your reviews. Even if it’s a temporary break from seeking out new reviews, you will feel better if you take a break from reading them, especially if they are impacting you a lot. Taking a break from social media and stopping yourself from checking your reviews constantly is a healthy choice, so the reviews don’t negatively impact your mental health.
You can also talk to your fellow authors and ask how they deal with negative reviews. Some authors don’t read their reviews at all and others only check them once in a while. No matter how you decide to handle negative reviews, it’s important to remember not to respond to the reviews. Commenting on someone’s review or social media post where they belittle your book or your writing style isn’t going to solve anything.
You poured your heart and soul into your words. Many people say they’re going to write a book but never actually finish it. But you wrote and published a book and that’s something to be proud of. Every artist encounters critics. Most art forms are extremely subjective. That doesn’t mean you need to listen to the haters and let them get you down. Instead, focus on the readers who love your book and can’t wait for the next one. If you take anything from the negative reviews, maybe there is a piece of their review that can help you improve your writing.
Please comment below if you have other tips for authors to help them deal with negative reviews. Feel free to share your own experiences with negative reviews and how those reviews impacted you.