Thursday, May 23, 2013

Readers Attacking Writing: 10 Thoughts on Negative, Harsh Reviews

A post by Jody Hedlund titled "Is Our Culture Becoming Too Critical and Open" echoed my feelings I have been having about reviewers and critics of books. When I was interviewed by Brook Syers HERE. He asked me what my biggest surprise was as a writer. I answered that it was that readers did not like my book, and that others liked my book. I, however, think it goes a step further. I think that my biggest surprise was that people were so blunt and mean at giving reviews of books.

With  a little help from my friends, families and colleagues, I have come up with some thoughts about negative reviews.

1. In our society there is a Negative Feedback to Positive Feedback Unbalance. Meaning that people are more apt to give negative feedback and comments then positive. If you buy a computer chair and it works fine and no problems, you go about your day. If you buy one and the wheels keep falling off, you bet you that there is a higher chance of someone sitting down and writing a negative review on their wobbly chair!

2. I, therefore, think that for every negative review there are many positive reviews sitting out there.

3. Emotions get out of control. It is a book. I love books, I love writing, but it is a book. I have seen people leave some harsh and mean reviews of a book. To me it as if the author was writing about the readers life or slept with their wife. Get over it.

4. It was 99 cents to $2.99. You spent a small amount of money for this book. Why are you getting bent out of shape? If you fries at McDonald's were too salty do you go the manager? I realize there are people who do that, but I would like to believe that that is the small minority of people.

5. It was the readers fault in the first place. I have received a couple of 2-3 Star reviews. The reader/reviewer stated something along the lines of "I thought this book was going to be about _____ but it was about this. Disappointed." I go back and read the description and think, "Umm I have no idea how they thought it was about that."

6. People are unhappy in life and putting a 1 star review on authors blog make them feel powerful.

7. Who cares what people think. I read bad reviews of books and buy the book anyway.

8. I am a supervisor and I am a BIG FAN of praising in public, critical feedback in private. I recently was asked to review a book by a few authors. They say "Be honest." I email them back and say, "I will review in a useful way, and give critical feedback to them directly." Hey, I would love to get emails or private messages sent to me through my blog, than all my mistakes and shortcomings put on Amazon or other sites.

9. Use the feedback. I recently got feedback that my time frame was off in my book. It could have been said a little nicer, and possibly through email or privately. I, however, went back into my book and fixed it all. Thanks reviewer.

10. Don't respond to the Harsh Reviews. I think that authors get caught up in that, and spend too much time responding to viewers. Authors have different opinions on this, but my current philosophy is learn from it, don't respond, and move on. Some authors don't even read their reviews.

What do you think about these reviews?
Do you write reviews on books?

Check-out the inspiring "Is Our Culture Becoming Too Critical and Open"
post by Jody Hedlund titled


  1. I'm not an author, but as a blogger I do try to be as positive as possible because it must be so hard to get negative feedback on something you've slaved over for months or more! I definitely agree that some negative reviews are over the top for just a book! It's sad, but you see it with so many things on the internet - people can be so harsh over youtube vids and such. It really is best to ignore it.

    Thank you for following my blog, I would love to return the favor, but I don't use Networked blogs. :( I've added your blog to my RSS feeder though.

    1. Yes, ingoring is a powerful skill, but not to be used indiscriminantly. Thanks for your comment Charlene.

  2. Bravo Michele! When I read 1 star reviews I am very surprised at the personal attacks on the author that have nothing to do with the book! I think your post is brilliant and puts it all into perspective. ALL authors should read this article and move forward.

    1. Yes, they do seem like personal attacks! Thanks for your comment.

  3. Hello, this is a great post! I found your blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! My blog can be found at