What NOT to do when you get a less than perfect review

Following on from yesterdays post about book reviews, today we'll be taking a look at what NOT to do when you get a less than perfect review.

When it comes to reviews there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

1) The person leaving you a review has taken time out of their busy schedule to read your book.
2) The person leaving you a review has taken time out of their busy schedule to leave you their feedback about your book.
3) As wonderful as you might think your book is, your book is not for everyone.
4) Not all reviews will be 5 star rated saying you and your book are amazing.

A 5 star review is the best you can get. It means the reader thought your book as outstanding. They didn't have anything negative to say about it. They obviously fitted perfectly into your target readership goal and were therefore more than happy with your product.

Should you get a 5 star review you should feel very happy with yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. What if the review isn't 5 star rated though? How do you deal with a less than perfect review?

As I think the what NOT to do's are most often more useful than the what to do's we'll be looking at those today.

1) Don't take it personally. I know this can be hard to do given the amount of time and effort you hopefully put into your book but it's important. The reader is simply giving THEIR opinion about your book. 

2) Don't attack the reviewer. Sending an aggressive message to the reviewer will make you look unprofessional and will almost guarantee that you lose them for good. If they left a very negative review they probably aren't even close to being in your target readership goal. If the review was more neutral (say 3 stars) and included both positive and negative feedback, the reader could potentially become a fan in the future. If you attack them, you just took away the possibility of them buying other titles from you in the future.

3) Don't contact the reviewer to try to convince them they are wrong. If the reviewer said they didn't like something about your book hopefully they also said why. Reviewers that do this are worth their weight in gold! If it's obvious they read your book, and you still feel the need to tell them point by point the message of your book, it's a clear sign that your book could be improved. If your book is well written you should never have to explain it to the reader after they have read it. I know this seems painfully obvious but you'd be surprised at how many authors let their egos get the best of them.

4) Don't tell the reviewer your book is perfect. Even the most amazingly successful books could be improved. Obviously you love it. You wrote it. In 99.9% of cases though your book will not be perfect. If you are one of the very rare authors that has actually managed to achieve perfection I am in awe of your skill and salute you. Feeling the need to tell the reviewer that YOU think your book is perfect/ that YOU love it/ that YOU wouldn't change a thing about it, brings to mind images of kids in a playground stamping their feet and saying they won't play with you anymore. If you publish a book YOUR opinion of it isn't important. What readers think of it is. 

What do you consider a bad review? How do you deal with less than perfect reviews? Leave your 2 cents in the comments section below.



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