My reaction to a BAD REVIEW!! Fair Dinkum – talk about a buzz kill.
Yes you do have to be prepared for some highs and lows whilst on any publishing journey. For those unaware, I recently had a free promotion on my Cloud Riders e-Book and this was one tremendous high with over 1300 copies being downloaded. However, with any success such as this I was bound to have a few readers that genuinely didn’t like the novel. That’s right; unfortunately you can’t please everyone, instead, turn it into a positive. I prefer to use their opinion and the experience to assist in developing my writing skills further.
However, what happens when you receive one of those brutal, gut wrenching reviews that goes beyond just attacking the book but also makes it a bit personal.
I have just received my first couple of bad reviews and you know what, I didn’t lose even an hour of sleep over it!
So what did I do!
I remembered reading an excellent article by Anthony of Book Cover Café titled:
So I read this article, twice, did some research on books like Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, Harry Potter etc. and found that they too had bad reviews.
This gave me a sense of ‘I am not alone’ when it comes to bad reviews. Authors that are considered to be the cream of the crop have bad reviews as well – so I find myself in good company.
I then decide to examine what steps I had completed to ensure that I had produced the best quality product I could. These steps were:
1. Cloud Riders is written, put aside.
2. 6 months later is read and changes made by author.
3. Given to family and friends to read.
4. All comments are noted and changes made, again by author.
5. Author decides to bin it or take it to next step. This was a hit with readers, so send it to editor.
6. I chose to have it professionally edited twice.
7. Over time, 60,000 words have been added. I give it to trustworthy and brutally honest reviewer who reads and gives me genuine feedback.
8. Make adjustments they suggest and it’s culled of 20 thousand words.
9. Send to second editor.
10. Read final copy.
11. The author by this stage has read manuscript 29 times while making changes suggested by all who read it. It has received two professional edits and for the last time, two unknown friends of friends read and give approval, it is almost ready.
12. One more read through by author and admin and off to publisher it goes.
13. Even after all this, there are issues once published by publisher when typesetting.
14. Librarian reads for author and searches for problems.
15. Changes are sent off to publisher and errors/issues are amended.
16. Finally product is as good as the author can get it and advertising is put in place.
The Final Word
Never think writing a story and only sending it to a couple of people to read before it goes off for a professional edit, is good enough. I am here to warn, it is not. To put out a quality product you need to give birth to it, nurture it, send it to a kindergarten and then to school. Once it hits university there are still issues and you may need to consult the librarian.
I know this is a crazy analogy of what to do with your novel, but if you want to prevent criticism, which you won’t, at least these steps will ease you’re night’s sleep. It did mine anyway. When I got that first bad review, I knew I had made every effort possible to make it the best read possible. I could then say, ‘If this person didn’t like the read after all this, it is not the story; it is the cord it strikes in the reader. The tale is not their ‘cup of tea.’
The attack on you is not personal. Cuddle up and go back to sleep for tomorrow someone else will say they love it.
Hey but don’t take my word for it, this is just what I did. Make sure whatever you do it helps you through someone picking up your baby and telling you it’s ugly. Me, well, I would love to snatch it back and say ‘Fair suck of the sav’
But instead I silently thank the effort that person went to, purchasing my eBook, giving me a sale and then going to the trouble of writing the review. To you I say, no hard feelings, thanks for choosing Cloud Riders and sorry you didn’t enjoy what I had a blast writing.