Let me start off by saying this: I have huge respect and admiration for reviewers.
The media, bloggers, podcasters and bookstagrammers who write reviews are amazing. A lot of reviewers are doing this on their own time. They might make a little money on their blogs or YouTube channels with some kind of advertisement, but most don’t. Many of them are doing this purely out of love for books. They spend hours reading the book, crafting their reviews, then posting them–often with images they buy. If they have a website, they pay for that too. Many will run contests, and those usually have expenses like buying the prizes and postage. Even if authors are providing the prize and mailing them, there’s the cost of advertising.
Reviewers add value to our world by:
–Helping authors and their book get exposure.
–Helping readers choose books they want to read, so they keep reading and buying more.
Reviewers are valuable to the book community and deserve our respect and support. I’d even go so far as to say we should “protect” their right to evaluate a book honestly.
–Even if the author doesn’t like the review.
–Even if the author send them a free book.
What do you do if you get a bad review? NOTHING IN THE PUBLIC SPACE. That means:
A. Don’t respond to the review either on the platform it was posted, or anywhere else public.
B. Don’t contact the reviewer personally to “correct” or “challenge” her opinions. They are her views, leave her alone.
C. Don’t go after the reviewer in a nasty social media attack. I see a lot of this going on, some in the book world, but a lot of it in other spaces. The attacker gets a lot of attention that way. But…I rarely see that attention turn into actual sales of a book. And for me, that is simply not who I want to be. I’m not here in the world to polish up my bitch whip and lash out at others. I’m tired of all the ugliness and hate, so I choose not to add to that steaming pile by throwing a public temper tantrum. Maybe that’s just me.
What do you do if a review gets something factual wrong? This one is a bit tricky.
A. First, made 100% sure its a factual error. Sometimes, even that is subjective. But if you’re sure the reviewer made a true factual error like getting a character’s age wrong and that really matter in the context of the story and review, then:
B. Contact them through private messaging, either on their blog, FB or their email if possible. Thank them for the review, and gently mention the factual error.
C. Don’t be confrontational or passive aggressive. And don’t make demands. Most reviewers are very conscientious and will fix the mistake without any more prodding from you.
D. If they don’t fix the error, move on with your life. You have more books to write and things to do. Spending any more time fretting over someone else’s mistake is only going to make you miserable.
I know it’s hard to hold back sometimes. But let me ask you this:
Did you write the best book you were capable of at the time?
Yes? Then walk away, you did your job. If your answer is no, then use this painful moment to re-evaluate. But that’s another blog.
Now for a few things you can do when a review upsets you:
A. Eat chocolate. Lots of chocolate or whatever your indulgence of choice is.
B. Complain to your significant other.
C. Talk to write friends who “get it” and also, who will remind you that you’re a great writer.
D. Write another amazing book.
I want to close with this: A huge and sincere THANK YOU to all reviewers!