How to Respond to Negative Book Reviews
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Eventually, every book will receive a negative book review. Authors can take a beating from such evaluations; you may feel compelled to enter the fray and defend your work or to withdraw under your duvet and vow never to write again. Negative reviews can have a significant bearing on your career, so don't give up or argue until you've taken a few breaths.
Feel Your Emotions
To begin, you must have your feelings regarding the negative review, which might be rather powerful! As an author, you are inextricably linked to the book you made with your ideas and passion. When someone criticizes your book, you may take it personally and get wounded, angry or dejected. Whatever you feel and express, do not comment publicly on the review— do not reply, and do not even subtweet it. Offline, in a safe and contained environment, express your feelings to someone you trust.
Give your book an embrace after your mind has been cleared. No writer or book is flawless; you can accept that your work will have flaws and that not every reader will enjoy it the way you do. However, you know you did the best you could with it, and nothing anyone says can change that.
Maintain a Professional Attitude
Remove your author hat and substitute it with a publisher hat. As a publisher, your primary objective is to sell copies of your book, and reviews influence your bottom line only insofar as they affect sales. You are a professional in the publishing industry, and your activities reflect your professional reputation. Bear this in mind when you make future decisions.
If the review is a personal response to your work from one reader, you're going to have to let it go. Readers enjoy the ability to read and comment on literature without the presence of the writers. Invading that area will not convince anybody that you are correct and they are incorrect. It will likely hurt your book (and future publications) considerably more than a negative review did.
You may be worried about trolling and spam on review sites. Because the great majority of reviews are written by genuine readers, avoid the impulse to label any unfavorable review as garbage, especially if it takes a personal shot at you. If you believe the negative review is fraudulent or otherwise violates the site's policies, you should raise it to the awareness of a website moderator. Otherwise, shrug and continue.
Professional reviews are a different story, as they must adhere to a higher degree of factual accuracy. Get a review from a professional publication or paid review service, and if you believe it does not correctly reflect your work, you may write in and respectfully seek a correction. However, a factual correction is required, such as "My hero's name is Jack, not Jake," or "My memoir is set in San Francisco, not Los Angeles." You cannot "fix" a critic's sentiments, opinions, or writing style (even if you feel it was unkind).
Acquire New Knowledge and Experience
If you receive numerous bad reviews, determine if they have any characteristics. Did many people assume your novel was science fiction, but it ended up being a mystery? That is a sign that you should alter the packaging of your book—the cover art, the jacket content, and maybe even the title—to make it more appealing to mystery readers. Do readers frequently express dissatisfaction with typos or narrative holes, or do they constantly misinterpret a significant part of your story? That implies investing in a higher-quality professional editing service.
Even a single complaint might guide you in the direction of areas that require attention. Making business decisions that address reader issues is a certain way to improve reviews—at the very least for your future book, if not for this one.
The most effective method of drowning out bad reviews is with genuine good reviews. Once you're certain, you've identified your book's ideal demographic and tailored the packaging to that group, utilize targeted marketing to bring the book in front of people who are more likely to enjoy it. Conduct research on the most effective methods for growing a mailing list of your most devoted followers and periodically remind them to post good reviews for the books they adore. Additionally, provide a reminder in the back pages of your books. Do not be afraid!
Avoid services that offer favorable reviews; consumers will quickly recognize them as phony, tarnishing your image. Remind your followers that you value their evaluations, but do so in an amicable manner. Genuine, good organic reviews will benefit you the most.
Suggestions in Dealing Bad Reviews in the Future
When you publish a book, emotionally released it—finished, it's out there, you gave it your all, and now it must stand on its own. A little personal ritual may assist you during this critical time of change.
Solicit the assistance of a friend to read reviews for you, share the positive ones, and succinctly explain the most constructive aspects of the unfavorable ones. Numerous agencies and publicists hide authors from their evaluations; there is no guilt in opting not to read your own.
Bear in mind that a review expresses the reader's connection with the book, not the book itself. There is no such thing as an all-time favorite book. Your novel will not appeal to every reader, and that is just acceptable.
Make a point of ignoring any personal assaults or other low blows. Anyone who would disparage you as a person just for not enjoying a book you created is not someone whose opinion you should regard.
Recognize that you can constantly improve as a writer and a publisher. Embrace constructive criticism as a chance to develop and grow.
Preserve your good ratings and avoid letting the negative ones take precedence in your thinking.
And, of course, the best course of action is to remain focused on making your next book even better.