So I got my first 1 star review …

That’s right — Imminent Danger has officially acquired its first 1 star review. I won’t post the link here, but if you hop over to the Imminent Danger Goodreads page, you can check out the review for yourself.

As you can probably imagine, it makes me sad that someone out there paid money for my book and didn’t enjoy it. It also sucks because no one likes to hear their work merits a mere 1 star rating — essentially, that if the book were graded as a test, it would get a measly 20% and flunk the course.  And I’m not going to lie — it kind of crushed my emotions when I first saw the review. But then I remembered that I’ve weathered much worse than this — namely, receiving a bad review in person to my face — so I think I’ve calmed down. More or less. Mostly.

Now, it’s not very classy to go line by line through a bad review and dissect it, potentially shaming the reviewer in the process, so I’m not going to do that. The only thing I’m going to bring up is this — that I really don’t understand why people feel the need to leave nasty reviews when they haven’t even read the entire book. The reviewer admits they stopped at chapter 10 … which is like reviewing a song when you’ve only heard the first 45 seconds. I just don’t get it.

I mean, yes, if the book is truly so horrendous that you literally can’t bring yourself to read any further, and feel it’s your civic duty to warn off other readers before they spend their hard-earned free time and money on a disgusting and despicable piece of literature … sure, go ahead and leave a review without reading the whole book. But I’m pretty sure (like 90% sure … maybe 85% …) that Imminent Danger isn’t a hate-filled, vitriolic piece of filth.

Okay, fine, I’m a little upset. But I guess that’s what happens when you get a bad review. I’ll get over it! I had some gravy-smothered mashed potatoes and watched an episode of Chuck, so I’m well on my way to recovery. Just needed to vent a little bit. I’m better now. I just need to remember that different people are different, and that there’s no such thing as a book everyone likes.



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97 thoughts on “So I got my first 1 star review …

  1. Stephen King and other popular authors had received worst reviews. I know it’s saddening but you should just shake it off. That shouldn’t put you off writing though. Some readers are just mean and horrible. I’ve read books that I didn’t like, rather than post the review, I declined to, because I know the hard work involved in creative works!

    • Thanks for the kind words 🙂 I think I’ve more or less shaken it off — and you’re right, it’s impossible to find a famous book that doesn’t have hundreds of one-star reviews. I’ve been keeping that in mind the past few days, and I no longer get the urge to eat a large amount of chocolate when I think of my review, so I think it’s going pretty well!

  2. Hmmm people are strange. Everyone is entitled to their opinion I guess but I think if you have nothing constructive to say, say nothing or try and focus on something positive from the text and build on that. It is cowardly to dismantle someone’s hard work without actually coming up with any specific criticism. You have so many great reviews so I hope your Chuck viewing gets you back on track soon 🙂
    Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media

    • Haha thanks 🙂 Chuck has indeed helped — how can a bumbling computer geek turned spy not bring a smile to my face?! As for the reviewer … I mean, I suppose she did say what she didn’t like about the book, which could technically be considered “constructive criticism”, but the general tone of the review is anything but constructive. Plus the whole “only read 10 chapters” thing.

  3. Well, boo on them. You’re handling this in a very mature manner, though. I think one star reviews are inevitable, no matter what you write or how well you write it. Sometimes stories and characters just don’t click with people. Now, I would never leave a one star review for anything that wasn’t full of grammatical errors and just horrible writing (which your book is NOT). Actually, I almost never review if I can’t give four stars, but some people feel differently. Also, some people are jerks, so there’s that.

    I… I probably won’t be this sanguine about it when I get a 1* review, myself. It sucks. I’m glad you’re okay, though. You are strong. You are amazing. Now give me more books, thanks.

    • I was worried I was actually being immature about handling this, so I’m glad to hear that you think otherwise 🙂 Phew! And you’re definitely right — one star reviews are inevitable. They’re going to happen, and they’re going to be cruel, and I guess there’s not much to do about it except sigh, shake your head, take what you can from the review, and move on.

      Also, thanks for the sweet words 🙂 I’m working on the give-you-more-books thing, promise!!!

  4. I looked at the review, and checked out that user’s other reviews, and I see the problem–you didn’t write a historical romance. I’m not entirely sure what this user thought that she was going to get, but evidently she wasn’t looking for a humorous science fiction novel.

    On the plus side, that user also rated “To Kill A Mockingbird” at one star.

    So you can say that you have a GoodReads user who thinks that your novel is as good as “To Kill A Mockingbird”, not too shabby!

    • Perfect response.

    • I like this way of thinking! Maybe that should be the tagline for when I relaunch Imminent Danger — “As good as To Kill a Mockingbird!”. I think people might question that a little, though … 😀

      And now that you mention it, yeah, she’s very much a romance lover, isn’t she? Aha! I’ve officially figured out why she hated it. Chapter 10 is the point where Varrin betrays Eris. No wonder she was ticked off. So I guess yay me for writing such a stunning and shocking betrayal that she literally couldn’t read further?

  5. Hang in there, Michelle. That’s just one person our of potentially thousands. HUG

    • Virtual hugs are the best 🙂 Thanks! And I guess the shiny silver lining is that I have no idea who this girl is, which means that random strangers are actually taking a chance on and buying my book. Which is kind of cool!

      • She may not have even have bought the book, or read it. She may just be one of those random people that ‘get their rocks off’ going around and posting bad reviews. Either way, she doesn’t matter. Shake her off. Don’t let her get under your skin and create the doubt that she hoped this would create in you. 🙂

  6. I just read the review and did what Misha did. Honestly, this is a milestone because every author gets a mix. Judging by the review, you simply weren’t the reviewer’s taste. That line about wondering if the positive reviewers read the same book is very telling of her.

    • Yup, I’m trying not to take it too hard — a one star review was inevitable. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for it to be so soon 🙂 And you’re right — the reviewer seems to be a diehard romance fan, and Imminent Danger, while possessing a romance, certainly isn’t a traditional bodice ripper. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

      • I’ve gotta remember bodice ripper.

        Seeing how long your book has been out, you’ve made it a lot longer without a 1-star than most people. I think I made it a month.

        • Although, one could argue that a fast bad review is an indication of the book’s popularity. As in, the book has already reached such a wide audience so quickly that it’s ferreted out the bad reviewers and called them to play!

          • Maybe. Though it could also be people only reading the sample. I think we can both agree that it isn’t any fun no matter how long it takes. 😉

  7. Happens to us all. Remember that everyone has an opinion, and this review is just that – an opinion. ONE person’s opinion. Plenty of other people will enjoy it (and have done, by looking at the rest of your reviews!)

    You haven’t come on here, spouting a lot of nasty comments about the reviewer, throwing your rattles out the pram because someone didn’t write you a five star review (unlike some authors, whose names I will not mention) This shows your maturity and that you take your writing seriously. Could you imagine if some of the best-sellers went off on one, after a bad review? No one in the world of publishing would want to work with them, because it’s bad publicity, and shows an author can’t take any criticism.

    By all means, vent whatever you want in the privacy of your own home – it’s OK. How you behave in the ‘public eye’ of social media, says a great deal about you.

    You need a thick skin to be an author, and put your work out there. You’ve done that. It’s something to be proud of 🙂

    • Haha, believe me, I wanted to “throw my rattles out the pram” (I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds awesome!), but I forced myself to take a few calming breaths and reminded myself that ranting and raving like a lunatic over a bad review is slightly tacky 🙂 Thanks for your kind words!

      • Throwing rattles out the pram is a British saying lol. It means being a baby and throwing your toys (in this case rattles – a noisy toy that ‘rattles’) in the midst of a temper tantrum 🙂 The English language is a funny thing haha.

        Hope the review is becoming a distant memory.

        • Slowly but surely 🙂 Although I’ve noticed that I keep checking back to Goodreads to see if I missed any other bad reviews … hopefully I’ll get over that soon!

  8. It cuts with a very sharp knife, Michelle. Unfortunately, the wound lasts a while. Been there done that. Still doing it if I let myself dwell on it. Better reviews ahead! 🙂

    • I certainly hope so!!! And one bad review amongst 20 or so isn’t the worst thing in the world. I’m slowly recovering. Thanks for the encouraging words 🙂

  9. It bites. It hurts. It thickens our skins. As an author, I won’t leave a review of a work if I can’t say anything good about it. On the other hand, I don’t want all glowing reviews. I want honesty, and if people think it stinks, well then, say it stinks. I’d be very skeptical of a book with nothing but 5 star reviews. No single book, like you said, is perfect for everyone. I like what Anthony Hopkins said: “It’s none of my business what other people say of me and think of me.” I think that applies to our books. We write the best we can, do the best we can and as long as we’re happy with it and we know we’ve touched someone along the way, nothing else really matters.

    • You’re absolutely right — a book with only 5 star reviews is incredibly suspicious. So I guess the one star review is actually lending credibility to my book? Hey, I’ll take it 🙂 And my skin is definitely thickening as the years pass and the reviews come in … I think I just need to remind myself not to automatically dismiss one star reviews. They might be cruel, but they also sometimes have decent feedback in them. Not often, but sometimes 🙂

  10. That’s one opinion among many good ones. Try to focus on the good and go from there.

  11. Phhhhbbbbbbtttttt! Her review doesn’t even make sense! She complains about not knowing where the book is going, but doesn’t finish the book? Well, that’s certainly no way to find out where things are going.

    I know you’re the author, and it would be bad form for you to trash the reviewer, so I’ll do some of it for you: Her grammar is stinky and her words make little sense. 😉

    This just means you’re fabulous enough to have haters! 😀

    • I KNOW!!! It turns out Chapter 10 is the point where a certain massive betrayal occurs between the two main characters — I have a feeling she didn’t like the betrayal and stopped reading the book in disgust. Had she kept reading, of course, she would have seen that everything works out, lol. That’s why I don’t leave reviews for books I don’t finish. But each to their own? 🙂

  12. Aww, I’m really sorry to hear that, Michelle. 😦 I can absolutely sympathize, as I’ve had two people give me 1-star ratings even before finishing. I don’t know how they can do that. I’ve read many books that start out as 1 or 2 stars before eventually developing to 3 or 4 stars. Similarly, I’ve read books that start out as 5 stars and then end up being 2 or 3 stars. It’s not fair to judge a book before you finish it completely, and should you decide to stop reading, feel free to do so but don’t leave a review! *hugs*

    On a different note, those horcruxes are GENIUS. Voldemort’s colossal ego eventually led to his downfall; he just could not settle for normal items.

    • YES! That’s exactly what I was thinking — you can’t judge a book until you’ve read the whole thing. It’s like ordering a three course meal at a restaurant, trying a lackluster appetizer, and declaring the whole meal disgusting. Gah. Thanks for the virtual hug 🙂

      Haha, yeah, the horcruxes are pretty fantastic. But that’s the thing with evil megalomaniacs — they can’t help but set things up for their own downfall. Although it would have made the book of a heckuva lot more interesting if Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to figure out how to build a spaceship and go after the Voyager 1 spacecraft horcrux!

  13. Bad reviews hurt, no doubt about it. Since I write Christian fiction, I hear all kinds of things, believe me. I heard Liz Curtis Higgs speak and she gave some advice which I’ve always remembered. Don’t take the bad reviews to heart, nor the glowing ones. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Thick skin required in this business!

    • Interesting! Do you think maybe I can take the middle reviews to heart, but read the glowing reviews every now and then when I need a quick ego boost? 🙂

  14. Bad reviews are part of the game, just as the ones are that rave about how good you are. Think of it as a learning experience. Why was the review written? What points did they make? Then, whether you agree with them or not, take the thoughts into account for your next book. But don’t dwell on them. I have a blog scheduled for later this week that talks about that nasty little beast called “self doubt.” You might enjoy it.

    • All excellent points — although it’s easy to say “I’ll take constructive criticism from this harsh review and not dwell on it”, but then actually not dwell on it. Although considering I got my last bad review right to my face, I’m finding it a lot easier to deal with a written review from a random person on the internet 🙂 Thanks for the supportive words!

  15. One bad review sucks, but they all even out. If it’s only one out of 10,then you have 90% GOOD reviews. Like Ron Herron says, they are part of the game. In my experience, I’ve seen reviewers writing just to be critical or because they are frustrated (bad) writers. Easier said than done, but don’t let it get to you. The only writers who didn’t make it are the ones who quit!

    • Hey, good point 🙂 Percentage-wise, I’m still doing pretty good! That actually makes me feel a lot better. Thanks for the kind words 🙂 No quitting for me!

  16. I don’t have any reviews yet, and this is a fear of mine. I can handle a bad review, but I’d kind of like some nice ones first. Recover quickly, and don’t let it keep you down.

    • Will do 🙂 And if you’re looking for reviews, have you considered giving out some free promotional ebook copies? There are hundreds of sites out there who’ll write a review in exchange for a free ebook!

      • That’s what I understand. I’ve yet to do the research, but it’s on today’s list. Time to stop whining and start working around my house.

  17. Bad reviews are part of the process…but you know that. I got a one star on Goodreads and them I realized the same reviewer had one starred all my author blogger friends’ books, including one friend’s books on Physics and the fourth dimension, golf and chess…maybe she’s a physics teacher who read historical fiction and plays golf and chess…I dunno. A two star showed up on Amazon by a friend of a friend. She was brutal and the review was tacky and needed editing, yet she said I did…the review sort of speaks for itself. It smacked hard the first time, but not so much the next. (BTW, this woman has a book listed at number 2,000,000 published in 2008 with one review.)

    • I do know that — it just sucks to finally start getting said bad reviews 🙂 And I guess that’s the crucial next step when you get a bad review — look up the reviewer and see if they have any idea of what they’re talking about, or if they’re just generally mean people. In your case, it sounds like you got hit with someone who just writes bad reviews for the fun of it. Too bad Amazon doesn’t have some sort of policy against that!

  18. I feel for you. I’ve yet to receive a one star review on Amazon or Goodreads but I have, like you, received a one-star to my face. It hurts. A lot. There are two ways of dealing with it. One is not to pay attention to reviews. A number of authors do this. If you are particularly sensitive then this may be the way to go. The second is, as many other contributors have said, listen to what the person says. If it is a question of taste then so be it. If what they have to say is illogical or just plain wrong, ignore it. If, however, they have a valid point, then take it on the chin and learn from it.
    That was my easier said than done advice for the day. I’m off to hide in a cave to avoid any potential bad reviews…

    • Hahaha. Easier said than done, indeed. And yet, very true 🙂 Emotionally I want to just ignore bad reviews, but logically I know that I really love writing, and that if I want to make it a career one day, I need to learn from my mistakes. Sigh. Got any extra room in that cave?

  19. You haven’t made it as an author until you’ve had a one-star review. Towering works of literature gather one-star reviews like a bellybutton gathers lint. Brush it off, keep writing, and carry on. All the same – have some Ben & Jerry’s *proffers ice-cream and a big spoon* and take some you-time. I hope you feel better soon.

    I don’t understand why people leave reviews when they haven’t even bothered to finish the book, either – so her review says more about her than your book, perhaps. I also wanted to say that I think your ‘Unrelated Media of the Day’ is the best thing I’ve ever seen. Besides Benedict Cumberbatch. But it comes a close second.

    • The real tragedy here is that I’m lactose intolerant, so ice cream provides no comfort, lol.

      Yeah, leaving a review without reading the whole book baffles me. Unless, of course, the reason you stopped reading is because it was an absolute butchery of the English language and you literally couldn’t keep reading because the words on the page made no sense.

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂 I am also a Benedict Cumberbatch fan. Especially in dragon form!

  20. That is a harsh review, Michelle, but as others have said, it’s the only one-star among a constellation of 5 and 4-star reviews. But I know it must have been an unpleasant jolt to read it.
    I’ve had one 2-star review (also on Goodreads), which upon analysis suggested that The Friendship of Mortals was outside of the preferred genres of that reader. I suspect that’s what I get by giving away a book for free. I just wish I had more reviews; I’ve heard that people often don’t even read free ebooks, which is kind of discouraging.

    • Thanks for the kind words 🙂 And that’s a really interesting point — I wonder if free ebooks generate more bad reviews than paid ebooks? My mentality is that, if I read a book, I’ll review it … but perhaps people don’t bother reviewing free ebooks because they’re free? If so, that’s a real shame. A book’s worth isn’t determined by its price tag!

  21. Meh, in the end you still get to know that your book is in fact, awesome! So they can go on being miserable if they want. Its much less fun to not like things.

    • Aw, thanks 🙂 It is indeed no fun to not like things. There’s the short-term feeling of superiority, quickly followed by emptiness and despair. I’d rather surround myself with things I enjoy!

  22. Bleh. :/ Would it make you feel any better if I remind you that you’ve got an extra prize from my most recent giveaway coming to you? ^^ Just lemme know what you want; art print, author or character commentary… the choice is yours.

    • Oh yeah!!! You know, I swear I chose my extra prize … did that happen in a dream? I do that from time to time. Sometimes I’ll wake up and my brother will be in the kitchen and I’ll be like “Dammit, Jesse, why did you steal my potatoes?” and he’ll be horribly confused because we don’t even own potatoes.

      Right! I’d love an art print! Surprise me which one 🙂

      • Hah, I’ve for sure had dreams like that. XD A surprise art print it shall be! I’ll let you know when your goodies are in the mail.

  23. kingmidget

    Several comments. The first is this and it will seem contradictory. Anybody who can make it through an entire book should not give a book one star. That said, if a reader doesn’t finish a book he or she has no right to write a review. In other words, in some respects, a one star review is impossible. 🙂

    That said, here’s the second thing: Congratulations. You have arrived as an author (say that with a snooty English accent, please.) Even the great writers have one star reviews. I just read Misha’s comment. I did a more cursory review of her other reviews and didn’t notice. She gave a one star review to To Kill a Mockingbird!!!! Do you see my point? She is a bit of dandruff on your shoulder … just flick it off and move on.

    Third thing: many negative reviews have an element of truth to them. I haven’t read your book (hmmm, maybe I should) so I don’t know if that’s the case here, but I think negative criticism is some of the most useful.

    • “Imminent Danger” is a lot of fun–it’s a romantic comedy set in a “space opera” universe. Light-hearted and witty, sort of like “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” or some of Peirs Anthony’s goofier works. I highly recommend it.

    • 1) That actually makes a huge amount of sense. Anyone who can read an entire book must have found *some* redeeming quality that enabled them to get to the end, so a 1 star shouldn’t be the result. You should write an essay on this 🙂

      2) Thanks! Snooty English accents are my specialty, so your message was delivered in my mind with great aplomb. The reviewer does indeed have odd tastes, so I’m not taking it too badly (at least, not once I got over the initial shock!)

      3) Negative reviews do indeed sometimes have good points. She was right in that I have a tendency to tell where I should sometimes show. I’m working on it 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

  24. I’d think that a 3 star review is much worse than a 1 star review. Getting reactions on both ends of the spectrum is a great achievement, don’t take it too hard.

    • The ones that baffle me are the 3 star reviews where the person says they enjoyed the book, but then lists all the things they didn’t like. It’s strange, because if they enjoyed it so much, how did they dislike so much? If I find a laundry list of things about a book I don’t like, I tend not to like the book itself. Different people are different!

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂 I’ve mostly recovered. Just need to eat a bit more chocolate and I’ll be there!

  25. Often a 1 star can move more books than a five. Smile at the moron when you are on your way to the bank. We all know you are worth even more than five stars.

    • Haha thanks. I like to think I’m worth 8 stars, mostly because I really like the number 8 🙂 Thanks for the kind words — should I ever take a trip to the bank to deposit my vast fortunes gleaned from book-writing, I will definitely smile at whatever bad reviewers I can find!

  26. Don’t sweat it, kid. Some people think The Godfather is a boring and stupid movie.

    • Haha, thanks 🙂 You’re not going to believe this, but I haven’t actually seen the Godfather. Stop gasping and falling off your chair in shock! It’s on my to-do list!!!

  27. Like a couple of other commenters have mentioned, everyone receives one star reviews. It’s just a part of the process. Every reader has a different type of book that they like, and this reader just wasn’t into your type of book — so don’t take it personally. This actually means that enough people are reading your book for it to have all different kinds of reviews, so that’s even a little bit exciting that you’re reaching a wider audience. 🙂

    • That’s very true! I do keep reminding myself that — if this random person found my book, bought it, and read it, that must mean my book’s starting to circulate! Or maybe it was just a fluke. Either way, yay for reviews, no matter what star rating they are 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!!!

  28. Don’t let this get you down (glad you sat down with a helping of mashed potatoes; there’s little mashed potatoes won’t fix). You’re never going to please everyone… here’s another hug:-)

    • Many thanks for the virtual hug and the kind words 🙂 Mashed potatoes can only help so much, but this outpouring of support I’ve gotten from all you wonderful people on WordPress has just been fantastic!!! ❤

  29. Well, you’ve already gotten so much support, but I suppose I will add my hug and 2 cents anyway! ^^
    Let’s face it–this means you’ve arrived! When you write something, at first it is mostly friends and family, so of course they think it’s awesome, or at least vote it up because they love you. It’s when you really get out there that you’re opened up to the meanies. You gotta get a little hate for fame and glory! But now that you’ve gotten it off your chest, try not to dwell. The rest of us love your story. ❤ (Besides, how many books have they written that I've drawn fan art for? NONE. So there.)
    And I've never given anything 1 star in my life. Even Moby Dick I'd give like 3 stars for being a classic, and I can't get past like the 1st chapter. I suppose that's not to say I WOULDN'T give something 1 star, but only like… A really rough 1st grade essay that someone didn't edit and decided to sell as an ebook.
    Anyway, again, consolatory hugs~ Keep plugging away, my dear! You're an inspiration. ❤

    • That’s true! Your fan art is mine. MINE!!!! My precious … hehehehehehe.

      Ahem. Thanks for the hugs and the kind words 🙂 I shall indeed keep plugging away … and I was actually working on Chasing Nonconformity this morning, so apparently my enthusiasm for writing hasn’t suffered! Huzzah!!!

      • Indeed! In fact, return to it with renewed vigor! You have many man fans waiting for your second book. 😉 Which, I think, far outweighs any negativity. ❤ ❤

  30. 1 star out of so many 4 stars… don’t worry about it 🙂 No book is loved by everyone.

  31. Embrace it, it lends credibility to the other reviews. Nothing but 5 star all the time is impossible. Not even the best writers in the world get that.

    • Andrew – that’s a really important point. You are so right!

    • Credibility! An excellent point. I suppose I do get suspicious when books *only* have glowing reviews. So what you’re essentially saying here is that this single 1 star review will skyrocket by book to fame and fortune, yes? 😀

      • I got a 2 star awhile back and reacted in kind, upset, confused, bewildered. Then I looked at reviews from my favorite authors and books I love. They all had 1 and 2 stars and not just a couple.

        Then I looked at books that I didn’t like so much and they all had mostly 5 stars.

        What did I learn? Reviews are subjective. Tastes are subjective. But more: there’s this called resonance. Why is Twilight so beloved? It resonates with the teenage girl in most people. When something doesn’t resonate, it’s like eating cardboard or reading the instruction manual on your hair dryer.

        You could even go so far as to call it “a vibe” as in vibration I.e resonance.

  32. Some people think that “honesty” means being brutal. Some are just plain mean.

    I got a one-star on mine, too. The amazing thing was that they said they couldn’t get into it (which is fair enough, not everyone likes everything), but added that the ending was “disappointing”. How the heck could it be anything else if they “couldn’t get into it”?!

    Remember your good stars and your good comments – I have not many in total, but enough well thought out reviews with high stars that the negative person looks foolish in their attempt to be derogatory.

    • That’s very true — one star reviews are inevitable, but they don’t have to be mean. If you’re going to take the time to leave a one star review, at least take the time to explain why — and for goodness sake, leave constructive criticism! Authors read their reviews — unless you were so infuriated by the book that you genuinely want the author to fail and crash and burn and live in squalor the rest of their lives, give them criticism that they can work with and use to improve their writing!

      Oh man, I feel you on your one star review. That’s like someone saying “I’m really, really stuffed and will get sick if I eat another bite”, and then eating dessert and telling the waiter “It made me sick”. People, come on!

      • Thanks – yes, that analogy is spot on. I think that people who read reviews are smart enough to see the petty ones for what they are – they must bump into them a lot as every author seems to get them.

  33. I got a two star review recently and reacted in a similar way to you at least initially. I can feel for you as do many of your fellow authors that have commented on your blog. In my case, it was because the reviewer objected to a five star review someone else had given me. Petty. But that’s the mentality of some people. Just think of it this way: it’s better to have lots of reviews with the odd bad apple than no reviews at all. At least then potential new readers can make up their own minds about which reviewers are acting reasonably.

    • Very true! And you’re right — that IS petty. Apparently your 2 star reviewer wasn’t aware that on a lot of sites you can comment on a review, not resort to posting a different review to address your disagreement. Sigh.

      Thanks for the words of encouragement 🙂

  34. Bummer. I certainly understand how you feel. I just find most book reviews to be stuffed with opinions about the plot (disliked characters or story direction), and not necessarily the quality of the writing (plot continuity, location or time period accuracy, dialect, etc) which isn’t necessarily the same thing.

    Still, like you said, not everyone will like everything you do. But just because someone is upset that I decided to kill off a beloved character in the middle of the book, doesn’t mean the book itself was poorly written.

    Just keep writing. You’re REALLY good at it. 😉

    • Aw, thanks 🙂 It’s annoying how subjective book reviews are, because like you said if the person didn’t like the plot, they might leave a bad review despite how well written the book is. On the other hand … how else are you going to judge books (beside obvious stuff like: do the words form readable sentences)? It’s an experience unique to each reader, and in that sense it’s almost crazy to have reviews, because no one person is going to have the same experience reading a book, so how are reviews going to help them decide whether or not to buy the book? Again, beyond the obvious — I heartily encourage reviews that point out if the book is horrendously edited, or if the book comes across as fluffy chick lit but is actually hardcore horror.

  35. I never understand those types of reviews. A friend of mine had a 1 star review that went along the lines of I don’t like this genre. Didn’t read more than the first page and gave up.

    Then walk on and keep your feelings to yourself!

    • I know!!! That’s why when my friends send me a link to a country and western song and say “Isn’t it awesome?”, I say “You know I dislike 99% of the country and western songs I hear because the genre doesn’t really appeal to me. Why would you send me this?” Okay, granted this doesn’t actually happen, but you get the idea!

  36. You’re not a real writer until you get a bad review, isn’t that what they say? 😀 It sucks, but then, what doesn’t suit one person will suit hundreds of others. Won’t be long until all the good reviews make you forget this 🙂

  37. Hi Michelle! When I got my first 1star review it was literally 1 star, nothing was written. That really pissed me off. I figured if someone is going to give me a one star review than at the very least tell me why. Maybe I could learn something from it. I then made a big rookie mistake. I approached this person online (Yikes! Taboo, I know). I asked this person what was it about my book that he didn’t like, or that he hated so much that he had to give me a 1 star rating. You’re not going to believe what he told me. He said not to take it personally that he had not read my book, but my book was competition to his friend’s book so he had to lower my overall rating. I couldn’t believe it. I felt that this was someone with no scruples and I shouldn’t be arguing with him. I just left it like that. A friend (and fellow writer) told me that these people are called moles. Of course, I’ve learned never to contact a reviewer again and also that no matter how good your book is there will always be people that will not like it. Seyi’s right, even Stephen King has gotten 1 star ratings on his fabulous books. Besides, my book has done very well despite the 1 star rating and it has been incorporated into the curriculum and library of two middle schools here in south Florida. I just had a book signing at Barnes & Noble and sold out! So don’t worry about that 1 star rating it doesn’t define your book, which by the way, reads fascinating. 😉

    • I can’t believe he did that! What a tool. I wonder if Amazon has a policy against that sort of thing? Like, could you send a copy of the email he wrote you to them, to show that he had no legitimate reason for leaving you that review. Argh. People can be so ridiculous sometimes. Good for you for not flipping out about it and moving on! I don’t think I’d be that level-headed 🙂 And congrats on the book signing / curriculum incorporation!!! That’s fantastic!!!

  38. To be honest, I would indeed review a book if I didn’t finish it; however, that review would be specifically marked “DNF” and would be confined to my blog.

    However: as others have said, this review WILL give your good reviews some more weight. I tend to get suspicious if I see nothing but glowing reviews, personally. If I see both good and bad reviews, then I can assume it’s just down to peoples’ tastes.

    • Ah, fair enough with the DNF. I talk about things I don’t like all the time on my blog–and that’s fine, because people are specifically going to your blog to find out your opinion on things! It’s when you go on Amazon and find a bunch of DNF reviews on a book dragging down the star rating that it gets annoying.

      And I’m hoping you’re right about the bad review giving my good reviews more credibility 🙂 Silver linings and all that! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  39. Michelle
    Here’s an interesting article on bad reviews that I found, with some good advice on how to deal with them.

    • Thanks for the link! I love all the quotes from famous writers interspersed throughout — makes me feel like I’m not so alone in the bad review gig 🙂

  40. There exist trolls who enjoy writing 1 star reviews because they have nothing else in their life to entertain them. I have come across 1 star reviews which, when the author responds results in the trolls massing and launching a vicious counter attack. On Amazon at least the author (and others) can click “no” when asked “was this review helpful?” Enter your comment here…

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