The other morning, I received an email notification that another review had been added for GIFTED on Amazon. “Oh good,” I thought, “reviews are always nice.”
Until I did that thing where I ignored my own advice not to read reviews, and I jumped over to find my first ever one-star review.
Talk about a gut-crusher — at 7AM, no less! I admit it didn’t exactly kick my day off right, as I sulked in the shower, the car ride to work, and through my first meeting of the day.
Logically, I knew what I’d done wrong. I’d read the damn thing! I’ll let you follow that link above for my reasons on why authors shouldn’t read reviews, but let’s just admit that sometimes human nature gets the best of us. My PR people have been rocking it on gathering reviews lately, and most of them have been so positive that it was a great way to get myself motivated. So of course when a new review came out, I bebopped over without thinking. While it didn’t exactly crush my entire world, I admit that I let it hang over my head like a dark cloud for at least a good 2-3 hours.
I had to get over it. I had plenty of other things on my to-do list, not one of which included grouching over a book review. So I did that thing I always do to snap out of it — I had to look at the bright side.
First of all, no more reading reviews. That officially cut me off right there, not wanting to get my little writer heart in another tizzy. Check.
Look at my other reviews. The upside with this 1 star review is that it was my very first one. As in, out of every book I’ve written. That’s 5 books, 4 years, 235 reviews and I JUST got my first one star! You know what? That’s pretty killer, considering none of those reviews are by my mother.
Everybody’s got ’em. Why? Because you can’t please everyone. Just like I don’t care for some books (for whatever reason), there will be others out there who won’t care for your book (for whatever reason). And that’s okay – we’re making the world go ’round, after all, and we don’t want it to get boring. I know full well that supernatural circuses aren’t for everyone, so why should I be upset when someone who didn’t care for it says so?
Check out successful authors with their 1-star reviews. I mean, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had like 200+ one-star reviews last I checked, and while that’s practically blasphemy in my eyes, everyone’s entitled to their opinion (though they’re wrong there, truly, and I’ll fight you to the death if you say otherwise). Besides, maybe I should turn my frown upside-down – a 1-star review can sometimes spur readers to pick it up just to see what their own thoughts are. In some cases, authors might feel as though they’ve “made it” because now they’re collecting critiques, too.
And last but not least, I went to check out the reviewer’s profile. I don’t necessarily recommend this, but here’s what happened when I did it: I stalked–er, glanced–at this person’s reviews. This person apparently does not like ANYTHING. There were a few stars for things, but many books they’d read only received 1 star. (Also, they’d commented several times on profanity in other books, which was something I noticed in their review of GIFTED. I’ve made no secret that my carnies curse, nor will I make apologies for it. Teens curse. It is what it is.) By seeing that this person is incredibly hard to please, I ended up laughing off the entire thing.
It reminded me not to take reviews personally, because as snarky as that one-line, one-star review was, it wasn’t against me. And it rarely ever is, if you’ve played your cards right. One-star reviews, no matter how many you have, aren’t going to kill you. And if you’re ready to give it all up after just one of those, then I hate to break it to you, but not only is your skin too thin, but you’re in the wrong line of work. The best thing we can do is ignore the reviews and keep writing the best work we can put out for our readers.