So you can read my books

Friday, January 16, 2015


Elizabeth Craig

pointed me to a perceptive article on how to deal with negative reviews by Barry Carter

It got me thinking on negative reviews.

Do we really need them?  

Sure, you can be funnier, wittier in a negative review.  

But isn't writing one for that reason just exposing your need to draw attention to yourself?

Are they born of arrogance, of the drive to proselytize a certain view of what is fit to write or to read?

How do you feel when you are waiting for a film to start, and a person walks up to ask, "Is this seat saved?"

You say no, and they reply, "Are you?"  

Then, they sit down to fill you in on how you should believe.

Presumptuous, right?

Negative book reviews hurt, but like demeaning words from a bully, 

they say more about the speakers than the person who is the target.

Give a person a mask, and they will reveal themselves.  

And in like manner, the internet is a safe place to be cruel.

Dan Brown has tons of fans.  

In my opinion, he writes poorly on interesting concepts.  But I am not the yardstick of the universe.

A recent study concludes that while well-known authors suffer from negative reviews by decreased sales of 15%, 

“For books by relatively unknown (new) authors, however, negative publicity has the opposite effect, increasing sales by 45%.”

If you’re an unknown, 

it’s better to have your book attacked than ignored. 

Over time readers will forget the negative things said about you, 

and will only remember your book’s name.



Oh, and you really should read about
of L.A. in 1942!


  1. Not all feedback needs to be positive. We learn (or should learn) from the negatives as well. That said, honesty is the key. It the review about the book - or the reviewer.
    And both types of feedback should be taken with at least a pinch of salt.

  2. Even a negative review is all right if it's well written, constructive, and doesn't attack the author. One can always find something good to say as well. My theory is if someone didn't enjoy the book that much, why did they finish in the first place?
    Then again, I don't like them on my books either. But they happen.

  3. I personally think something good should always be said, the author shouldn't be attacked, and any negativities should be written in a constructive manner. Much is also subjective. Through the years, I've purchased several books with rave reviews that were well-written but for some odd reason I can't explain just didn't work for me.

  4. Elephant's Child:
    I once got a one star review from a person who hated zombie stories -- but the cover had a zombie on it, the product description mentioned zombies, and all the prior reviews mentioned zombies!

    Why did that person buy it in the 1st place and why slam it because it delivered what it promised?

    I stay away from Goodreads due to all the gleeful snark reviews.

    Yes, we learn from good critical reviews, but I have read so few when I am considering a new read.

    Thanks for visiting! I always enjoy your visits.

    I'm like you -- why did they finish the novel? It is like eating a meal whose taste you find offensive!

    Yes, try to balance any negative with something positive -- and you can always find something positive in a book. I tried to do that as a creative writer teacher.

    We all have different tastes. I am not drawn to Regency romances, but I would not criticize one either. :-)

    Thanks so much for visiting!!

  5. I have a small book that's a collection of bad reviews of classic books. They go all the way back to Wuthering Heights and other now famous books. While even a mildly bad review can feel brutal to a writer, you are so on the money about how after a while the bad and even good reviews are forgotten and it's the title and fame that remain.

  6. If I don't like a book, I will probably stop reading it. Under no circumstances will I give a bad review. I know how hard it is to write a book. For that alone, a writer deserves many stars. Also, if I don't like a book it doesn't mean that it's a bad book; maybe it's just not for me or I was in a bad mood the day I tried to read it. Unfortunately too many people are inconsiderate and give one or two stars for fun.

  7. Helena:
    I need to get a copy of that book to bolster me after unique reviews! 50 SHADES OF GREY proves your point. :-)

    Yes, exactly. Regency romances are not my cup of tea, but that does not make it the author's fault, right?

    Have a great Sunday!