#IWSG: Dealing with Mindlessly Negative Reviews

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It’s that time again, the monthly posting for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where we talk about a host of things, from problems to solutions. If you’re interested in participating, go here to join. My post this month is on dealing with not just negative reviews, but those that are mindless, pointless, vapid outpourings of people who probably haven’t even read your book.  Read on. Comment if you care to.

 If you publish what you write, you put your work out there for all to see – and comment upon. We all would like to get all five-star reviews that wax eloquent about our deathless prose and fantastic story-telling ability. But, not everyone will like what you write, so you have to be prepared for the occasional negative review. If you’re smart, you’ll not respond to such reviews, but you will take note of them, for they might just give you advice that could improve your future efforts.

There’s one category of review, though, that is negative, and doesn’t help you at all. That’s the review that mindlessly slams your writing – often for the most vapid of reasons. The ease of posting comments (including reviews) on the Internet makes this one of the unavoidable facets of the writing life. How do you deal with it?

How, for instance, do you deal with a one-sentence, one-star review that doesn’t even talk about your book? I recently received one of those, and after I stopped fuming, I laughed. The review said nothing about my book, so I don’t know if the reviewer even read it. It was, however, a verified purchase, so, unless this person returns it for a refund, I at least get paid for it. As useless as it was, it also put the title out there for others to notice, and I can only hope that more rational readers will see the review for what it is – or isn’t – and maybe be curious enough to get the book for themselves and form their own opinions.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep on writing; keep putting my stuff out there; and hope for the best. Or, if not the best, at least more fair and legitimate reviews that help guide other readers to my work. Have any readers who are also writers received reviews that make no sense? Share your ‘worst’ review of this type in the comments below

7 thoughts on “#IWSG: Dealing with Mindlessly Negative Reviews

    Connie Grudzinski said:
    September 3, 2014 at 4:41 am

    This post was too good. My first one star didn’t even come with a comment. I was a bit shocked for the first couple of seconds, then a bit angry, then I blew it off. Once a bully, always a bully, and they’re not worth my time. But I’m sure glad to read your pep talk, because I have a new one out there again this year, and I be a bit nervous.


      Charles Ray responded:
      September 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Don’t be nervous – just continue to ignore the trolls.


    Elizabeth Hein said:
    September 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Like Connie, the hardest reviews are the one or two star reviews that come with no comments at all. I can understand if a person didn’t connect with my characters or if they didn’t like my writing style, but say something.


    dvberkom said:
    September 3, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    After being pissed off for a few seconds and ranting to anyone within earshot, I realized my first 1* was actually a teaching moment. Now I just shrug when one appears. Not everybody’s going to like my stuff, and I can accept that. Keep on writing 😀


    Arlee Bird said:
    September 4, 2014 at 1:22 am

    I haven’t had to deal with any reviews yet, but I’ve read plenty of the type to which you refer. I don’t guess there is much to do about them but laugh since there is nothing to learn from them.

    Tossing It Out


    Tanya Miranda said:
    September 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I don’t get people. 1-2 star reviews without a single word? It’s so cowardly. Say something. “It wasn’t for me.” or “It wasn’t what I thought it was.” I’ll even accept, “I’ve read diner menus way more interesting than this.” At least it will get a chuckle out of whoever reads it.


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