Bad Review Kills Author
This might sound absolutely ridiculous to some, especially if you aren’t a writer. We all write reviews for products, hotels, restaurants, movies music and even books. These are part of our culture now and we depend on them because we are busy people. Wasting time using, visiting or paying for something that is of poor quality rubs us the wrong way. So when does a review cross the line?
Obviously if you are purchasing a product for your child and it falls apart on the first use, then that is a serious problem. This may be a safety issue and you, of course, want to warn other parents. Cars suffering from a number of mechanical problems pose dangerous scenarios for the general public and we owe it to our fellow man to offer caution. I’m sure you understand all of this. No explanation necessary.
Then there are other products like movies, music and books that we may or may not purchase. Many of these can be rented or borrowed from the library without much investment. Having said that I want to encourage you to think twice about the reviews you post, especially for authors. Your words affect whether or not the next person gives the book a try. So what if you don’t like it? Stop reading it. Just like your unique tastes in reading, you aren’t going to like everything. The next guy might love it. Let me offer a list of why this is important.
- Novels take 4-18 months to write.
- Hunting for a publisher – 12 months or longer
- Self-publishing – 3-12 months
- Editor – $350 or higher
- Formatting – $350-$600
- Cover – $65-$150
- Books you buy for book signings: $$$$$$$ A lot!
- Marketing – Even if you have a traditional publisher you are most likely told to do 70% of your own promotion. Lots of time.
- Marketing materials like bookmarks, postcards and business cards
- Expected to have a website or blog which can also add up
- Travel for book signings
- Workshops, conferences and writing organizations to become better at your craft. More money.
The other day I checked out some of my reviews. Out of 55 I had three that were not so great; ranked 3 stars. The others were all 4 & 5 stars. Awesome remarks. But those three stuck with me. My feelings were not hurt so much as it caused a sense of lost, of disappointment because I’d worked so hard to entertain readers. Rather than feel sorry for myself this is what I decided to do.
- Read all the reviews one by one. This was an ego boost.
- Thought about how to improve next time.
- Read reviews of other authors I liked; especially the bad ones. Made me feel like I was in good company.
- Moved on. Chances are the people who wrote those couldn’t write a book so I’m already way ahead of the game.
In parting I’d like to offer a little advice; if you don’t like a book please remember that someone worked really hard to make it happen at great sacrifice. When I find a creative endeavor that falls below my expectation I decide if I can’t say something nice then I won’t say anything at all. I know it isn’t hurting anyone. Maybe you could recommend they try the library copy first.