Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG: Bad Reviews and Bad Stuff in General


Hello everyone! For this round of IWSG, our wonderful co-hosts are: Bob Milne, River Fairchild, Julie Dao, and Sarah Foster!

Once again I am going to talk about something I am battling in order to trump it! I am going to talk about bad reviews and just general bad stuff said about my books, and potentially me.

Recently, I have promised a few of my friends that I will not read my bad reviews, I will not google myself. I will do nothing to intentionally search for bad things said about myself or my book.

SO much harder said than done, isn't it??!

Here's the thing about bad reviews: Any review put out there is an opinion, even if it's a good professional review that acts as a great critique. Any review that is just a rant about you and does not offer a critique, is not a professional review, and should be ignored simply because these types of reviews are not good for YOU. They do nothing for your confidence as a writer, and hey--no one should get in the way of how we feel about our books.

Why is it that one bad review slashes all the AMAZING reviews you might have? Well, the only rational I can come up with is that all this time we are writing and promoting our books and handing them to the world, we always fear one and two star reviews. We are often so afraid someone won't like our books, when the reality is, we cannot please everyone.

WE CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE.

Repeat that. Over and over again until you believe it.

Here's the thing--bad reviews simply hurt our feelings, and no one likes to get their feelings hurt. When people write about our books, or us, as if we aren't human, that hurts even worse. This is why we must do our best to avoid that negativity. If a review is a great critique and you can learn from it, that's wonderful! But do not let yourself be brought down because of a couple bad reviews.

I made a promise that I would write a contract to myself. My contract will state that I will not read bad reviews about my books, I will not google myself. I will not read anything bad about myself. This contract will be rewritten each time I break it until I no longer do any of these things. If you have a hard time with reading bad things on the internet about yourself, then I challenge you to do the same!




18 comments:

  1. It's very true that you can't please everyone. There's a difference between a critique and just straight out bashing--I've learned this just from college workshops, not even from reviews, which I'm sure would be even more devastating. You've got a great outlook about not reading them at all.

    I think it's a great idea to write down everything when your thoughts are all over the place. It's better to get the ideas out then to let them run around in your head driving you crazy.

    Sarah
    (January IWSG Co-host)

    ReplyDelete
  2. For me the thing about bad reviews is that I want to argue with them, (in my head, of course.) No! You're wrong! You didn't read it right! Lol. It's hard not to read them, and harder not to get bothered by them. I think the goal is just not to let them bother you for very long. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Queen wimp here. Bad reviews, even on my little blog, cut me deep. I know we can't please everyone but it still hurts. And we do get up, don't we and live to write another day! Happy 2014 from one ISW to another.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good fear, Ashley. Bad reviews petrify me. And on places like Amazon, they do matter. It's fine to say they are one person's opinion, but that star system with ones instead of fives... People do make decisions based on reviews. I do--and I'm smart enough to know better. This is why we all scramble for those wonderful people to write good reviews for us.

    That being said, rationally, they mean nothing. It's usually someone in a bad mood.

    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  5. For a while I decided to avoid all my reviews because I knew I didn't have a thick enough skin for the bad ones. But then I discovered that I missed some good reviews that put me on cloud nine! So I'm still not sure how to handle it because I am still working on that thick skin!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bad reviews can be helpful. When looking at a book by an author I haven't read on Amazon, I read the bad reviews first. Sometimes they are clearly by dim-witted people ("I don't normally read BOOKS, but...") or people just trying to be picky. But when several bad reviews mention concerns about grammar, misspellings, incomprehensible sentences, characters' names switching and plot problems, that's a sign it's an amateurish work not paying money for.

    Mind you, I wouldn't READ the bad reviews myself, but do be aware when you get them, they may actually help reassure someone enough to let them buy your book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I learned that real quick.
    Usually I learn something from the less than stellar reviews. The one-star with one lame line reviews I just ignore.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Too right - you can't please everyone. And, of course, some people revel in leaving bad reviews. Just another way to be a troll. Hope you stick to your resolution!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bad reviews can be really crushing - I know I shouldn't read them, but it's hard to resist! It's absolutely true that it's impossible to please everyone -and when I''m feeling down about a review, I reread my 5* and 4* reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Negativity sucks. I've taken up the mantra "don't hate, congratulate!" My goal: never bash on someone who has put forth the effort to do something (like write a book or start an exercise routine). There are a lot of people out there who just talk about doing stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good luck not reading your reviews, that's hard. I know I couldn't hold back if they were there, I'd have to look. On the other hand, this is one of those cases where ignorance might really be bliss!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is SO easy to be anonymous online. Others will trash things and people because they can. It isn't the real world, but I know it still hurts.
    Sign that contract.
    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your outlook on this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. I like someone's idea of going back and reading the good ones if you do happen to read the negative ones. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wise words that always seem so hard to remember in the moment. Sounds like you've got the right attitude!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I can only imagine it must be very difficult to avoid the bad reviews. I am going to be published at some point and I am already scared of the 1 & 2 star reviews that will inevitably appear. But I hope to be strong enough to let them wash off me like water off a duck's back, when that time does come. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I can't bring myself to give a book a bad review either. If I can't give a good review, I'd rather say nothing at all. Of course, that doesn't help the writers who need to understand why their book wasn't good (how else are they going to learn?), but I'll leave that task for other reviewers.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Super advice, Ashley. When ever I publish, I'm going to make a friend of mine look at reviews for me. But I know I'll still be tempted to look myself!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is the one aspect I am dreading if/when I become published. I have learned a bit of not pleasing everyone from being in a very large critique group and also from subbing work online for feedback. I think your contract is a good idea. You need to protect yourself and your creative spirit.

    It's easier to tear down than it is to build up. Gossip is fun and gives us power. Bad reviews, the way I see can be another form of gossip especially when the review shifts from the book to the author themselves. It's a power play meant to enable the author of the review at the expense of the real person behind the book. I think book reviews can be unfavorable toward the book content without slamming the author.

    ReplyDelete