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What’s in a Review?

I knew the day would come when I got my first bad review for The Redheaded Stepchild. That day happened to come today, which was also my first day back in the office after vacation, and the day that Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos. Blech!

Because I knew this day would come, I’ve done some reading up on how best to deal with negative reviews and how to cope with them. We writers are a sensitive bunch, and it’s hard to not take these kinds of things personally. Luckily for me, my bad review was pretty mild as far as bad reviews go. The guy (or girl, but I’m pretty convinced it was a dude) who wrote the review could have ripped on the writing, on me personally, or on the character’s personal lives, but he/she didn’t. Really, the book just wasn’t the person’s cup of tea.

To be honest, it was actually much less soul-sucking than the “Dear Author, After carefully reviewing your work we find it does not meet our needs at this time. Good luck.” letters I could line a litter box (if I had a cat) with several times over. I know my book’s not going to be for everybody. I’m in good company – all the top selling authors have a few God-awful reviews under their belts. So what am I going to do about it? Not a damn thing. Except listen to Radiohead, eat a whole pint of Blue Bell Orange Dream, look at some pictures of cute baby animals, and move on.

And hey, my bad review sold me two books today. Could be worse right? They say it’s even good to have a few not-so-great reviews. People like balance, and a book with all fantastic reviews is a little misleading. Makes it look like all the author’s friends ganged up and told everyone how much awesome sauce was smeared over the book, not that they’re biased or anything. So, now I can say I don’t know all my Amazon reviewers and they’re not all what you’d consider “mom reviews”. Though my mom didn’t like the book, so that doesn’t apply in my case.

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  1. Carmen DeSousa Carmen DeSousa

    Well said, Kelly! I’m definitely retweeting this and FBing it…
    No matter what, I never rip an author because I didn’t like the story. I realize that we all have different tastes—thank
    God. How boring would the world we live in be, if we all had to read the same, tired, boring script, as in those rejection
    letters you mentioned above. LOL! I’m pretty sure I’ve downloaded your book in
    my frenzied shopping spree of Indie authors, but if not, I will and I will
    review. And yes, I’ll be honest as we’ve discussed, but if I don’t like it, that’s my problem, not yours. I
    would never criticize a writer because it wasn’t my cup of tea.

  2. Petrarch, Gwendolyn Petrarch, Gwendolyn

    Excellent attitude Kelly. We can’t please everyone and I don’t think we should even try. We just need to do what brings joy into our lives and if we get the odd ‘bad review’ we either discard it as our work ‘not being the reviewers cup of tea’ or take the pearl of wisdom that might be present in said bad review and run with it!

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