And yours, too!
I’ve seen one-star reviews on Amazon and elsewhere that make no sense. One reviewer complained that she didn’t know it was a children’s book when she bought it, even though it was clearly listed as a children’s book. She then declared, “This book wasn’t for me.” Well, no kidding!
Another one-star reviewer said he read a book with a dictionary next to him because there were so many big words. This was deliberate on the part of the author because he was mocking pedantic (nickel word!) writers.
So what do these one-star reviews have in common? They never address the quality of the work. They’re just complaints, little more than frustrated observations without professional objectivity – and the Internet has created an explosion in these types of reviews. In the days before web-everywhere reviews, you had to rely on your Uncle Art, who firmly believed no one knew anything, or your cynical friends who took delight in bashing everything they didn’t like.
Well, your Uncle Art and your high-school buddies have a much bigger stage now, and they like to let everybody know what they think.
Steps to Combat the One-Star Review
I have to admit that I like this opinionated age because I’m in favor of anything that promotes free speech, but it can hurt you professionally. It’s unfortunate that the amateur review has largely replaced the professional review, and it’s too bad that more reviewers don’t have a critical eye toward books, but the explosion in literary opinions matches the explosion in published books – some are great, some are sloppy, and all will find someone who agrees with them. Your job is to follow that old comedy axiom: play to those who are laughing. Find the readers who find your work appealing and get them to stick with you, leave a positive review, and read your next book.
Remember, you’re never as bad as your worst review, and never as good as your best review. Keep writing, keep promoting, and take comfort in knowing that more than likely, more people than not like your book, even if they’re not quite as vocal. Now, good luck, and here’s to getting no negative reviews!
***If you read my book Mary Dyer, Friend of Freedom and liked it, please leave a positive review on either Amazon or Goodreads. It’s greatly appreciated!