1-Star Reviews, Emergency Help for Authors

Just got burned with a 1-star review? Here's what to do.

Should I respond to a critical review?

Most authors agree you should not respond at all to critical reviews or blog posts.

DO NOT comment on the review itself.

DO NOT quote or link to the review from your blog or some other internet forum.

DO NOT tweet or blog about the review, asking your acquaintances to “vote down” the review as unhelpful.  Often this will backfire and people, being the anonymous and vengeful toads they are, will actually “vote up” the offending review, making your life so much worse. You may wise up the next day and delete your tweet or blog post, but some helpful stirred-shit-enjoyer will have already screen-captured it for posterity. You will serve as the road-killed carcass in the ditch, the cautionary tale of the writer who ruined his/her career before it even started.

Here is some collective wisdom from other authors:

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If you argue with the review, you look unprofessional.  You are a weakling who can’t take criticism.

If you agree with the review, you look unprofessional.  You are sucking up in hopes of future positive reviews.

You can’t win.  Remember the guiding principle: if you are an author, everything is your fault. You can’t show that you are emotionally hurt or angry.  You are not a person.  You are a representative of a brand.

– NYT Best-selling author Ilona Andrews – full blog post

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I’ve read a lot lately about authors who have commented on bad reviews, complaining that the review wasn’t fair or that the reader’s opinion was harsh and mean. In return, the entire reviewing community has lashed out at the author, starting a frenzy of author/reviewer bashing throughout the blogesphere.

It makes me cringe.

Nothing good can possibly come from such a confrontation and it only gives both the author and the reviewer a bad reputation.

– Author C.K. Bryan – full blog post

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The trouble with responding to any reviews, even just the positive ones, is that it makes it much more likely you will respond to a negative or critical review. And when you’re talking about something as personal as your writing, that “response” can quickly turn into a sucking hole of Internet fail that makes you look like a crazy person.

– Author Lilith Saint Crow – full blog post

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Authors should treat downright atrocious reviews of their books by writing a new book. Authors should stay out of the review zone … it’s easy for people to jump on a dogpile. So authors, don’t be the dog in that dogpile. Just say no to freaking out.

– Author Sean Cummings – full blog post

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I know that bad reviews can hurt. I know that sometimes bad reviews are objectively WRONG. Shut up anyway.

– Author Hannah Moskowitz – full blog post

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