Over the last few months, I had been working like a fiend to promote my debut novel, Need You Now, as much as I could, and I’m still not finished…and I don’t think I will be anytime soon. One thing I pushed for was trying to get people to provide a review once they read the novel. Reviews are like gold and they help spread the word about an author’s work.
For the most part, the reviews had been great and a real confidence booster. But one day, I received my first one-star review. OUCH! I was devastated, and I wanted to curl up in my hotel bed (because at the time I was on vacation at a Dominican resort) with the covers drawn completely over my body, shielding me from the rest of the world. I spent the better part of the night recalling the countless hours I spent plotting my novel and belly aching over character development to make my novel the best it could be. I found myself searching authors I knew, those who have been writing and have been published for a while, to see if they had one-star ratings, and to my surprise, most of them had. It was oddly comforting to see that, in this, there was a community of writers who had experienced the same thing and they didn’t allow it to stop them from doing what they enjoy doing and that’s write.
I later discovered an article that discussed how to get over the dreaded one star review. One significant point of interest I took from this article was that people are going to either like or dislike my book. There’s no escaping it, but the article went further on to encourage its readership by explaining that if the reviewer took the time to write a detailed review, the author should consider using the critique to help improve with the next novel.
After recovering from the overwhelming feelings of rejection, I took this bit of advice to heart. I finished writing on book 2, which I didn’t have my writing tribe from when I worked on my thesis/debut novel in graduate school, and began writing two novellas. So, reviews like this one, even though it felt like I had been stabbed in the heart with a dagger straight from the hell fires of Mordor, helped make me a better and more committed writer as I revise Love Me Now. There’s always room for improvement. The beautiful thing about people is that we’re all so wonderfully different. Everyone isn’t going to like what you produce, while those who do will leave you riding on cloud nine. Use both types of reviews, negative and positive, to mature you into a seasoned writer.
Seven Truths to Combat Bad Book Reviews