What to do when your books gets a bad review? – Part 2
Back to part 1
So, now it is time to have a look at the different type of content these bad reviews can contain.
2. According to its content
- Problems with editing or formatting
This is an issue that should not arise, yet it does and it clearly points to a flaw in your book. Flaws in formatting are common and should be addressed. Flaws in editing, such as typos, grammar or spelling mistakes should simply not be there. Amazon actually reserves the right to remove your book for formatting or editing mistakes, so better address the problem by removing your book till the problems have been fixed and respond to the disgruntled commenter by either offering a refund or a free copy of the revised version. This shows professionalism and reflects well on the author.
- Critics about the style
These are best avoided by offering free sample chapters. A reader who does not like your style will simply not buy the book and have no reason to complain. If it happens nevertheless, most of the time, it is best to ignore it, or to hope that other readers will comment on that critic.
- Critics about the political/religious/societal or any other opinion based disagreement between the reader and the content of your book
This is actually extremely positive. The mere fact that the content of your book was powerful enough to provoke a reader to open a debate on a topic broached by your book means you are saying something important. Courteously answering the reader’s comment by developing arguments, possibly quoting other parts of your book is a way to open a debate and draw attention to your book. The most famous example of such criticisms is the Fatwah launched against Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verse. This put Salman Rushdie firmly in the limelight and greatly boosted his fame.
A last point to cheer up those who are disappointed after receiving a scathing review, here are two examples, straight from Amazon, so you are in very good company and that bad reviews happen to even the best writers
A review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone
I have never read anything so astonishingly unoriginal in my life. It is a SHAME that this has received the popularity that it so vehemently does not deserve. J.K. Rowling “borrows” many of her plots and characters from other children’s writers of the past and defiles them into convoluted obscurity. She rarely creates, such is the talent of a true artist, and in those rare moments when her individual expression shines, it seems as strange and random as a nine year olds day dreams. If you indeed do decide to read Harry Potter, I recommend you read the first few chapters and the conclusion. The content in the middle of the book can be disregarded. In my opinion there are three options. Stay away from the Potter series. Buy the book and burn it. Or lastly read it and ponder suicide. It’s that bad!
A review of 1984 by George Orwell
Give me a break. The writing was lousy, the concepts and ideas were questionable…sorry, but one star is pushing this book.
Orwell underestimated the human animal and its tenacity in the face of oppression…his complete and utter takeover of society w/ “Big Brother” just wouldn’t last, even if it could happen.
People have oral histories…ones you cannot eradicate…just ask various peoples around the world who survived oppression despite attempts at stopping their stories and changing their cultures.
Let Orwell’s work die as a curiosity…
So, when receiving a dreadful review, it is useful to keep in mind that it puts us in good company.