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Originally Published – April 2013

The Bad Review

It happens.  You receive an email saying a review has been posted concerning your book or graphic novel.  With great anticipation you surf to the site, anticipating great words of praise.  You see no picture, a generic name and a dashing of your hopes.  A bad review.

You read.  See the name and wonder who the hell had the audacity to say such crap about your hard work! How dare they say such malicious comments concerning your work?  Have they even written anything themselves? You see misspelled words in their review, split infinitives and passive sentences.  You have wits and can strike back at them easily.  You are the creator, the writer, the artist.  Yes, you will take your revenge on the troll who dared slander your name, infinities, and passive sentences.  You have the wits and can strike back at them easily.  You are the creator, the writer, the artist.  Yes, you will take your revenge on the troll who dared slander your name.

You create a cleverly worded retort on the review, pointing out all the flaws of the writer, defending your honour.  With ease you write well over 1,000 words, picking apart the questionable parentage of the slag.  Revel as you might, your finger refuses to click on the submit button.  Should you send it? Take your revenge and run, with the satisfaction you have beaten the fool to a pulp, exposing his inability to understand an intelligent, well-written prose? Honour.  With ease you write well over 1,000 words, picking apart the questionable parentage of the slag.  Revel as you might, your finger refuses to click on the submit button.  Should you send it? Take your revenge and run, with the satisfaction you have beaten the fool to a pulp, exposing his inability to understand an intelligent, well-written prose?

Before you send the response, think for a second.  What will it actually get you?  The response will give you a feeling of satisfaction, but what else? In the grand scheme of things, you will be better off to delete what you wrote, taking the higher ground by not responding.  Or the more dignified response of thanking the person for taking the time to post a review of your work.

You may say why not take revenge?  What will it hurt?

It will hurt you.

Many writers have lashed out at reviewers, saying they could not write their way out of a paper bag.  The reviewer probably will never read the response, having done what they initially set out to do, post about your work.  But others will read the review, and your response.  The best thing that will happen is they will leave your work unread, deciding your response speaks volumes. The reviewer puts their honest thoughts to the work and you tore into them, so why would they read your work?  Or even worst, they will gang up on you, defending the person’s review saying everyone has a right to their opinion. They initially set out to do, post about your work.  But others will read the review and your response.  The best thing that will happen is they will leave your work unread, deciding your response speaks volumes. The reviewer puts their honest thoughts to the work and you tore into them, so why would they read your work?  Or even worst, they will gang up on you, defending the person’s review saying everyone has a right to their opinion.

But think of it this way.  The bad review is a review of your work.  And by thanking them for taking the time to review it, you’re showing a valid side of an artist wanting to better themselves.  The readers will say the writer is mature and may take the chance and read your material based on that alone.  Turning a negative into a positive.

There are plenty of examples of reviews being flamed by the author, and the viral response of the public defending another’s right to their opinion.

An example of the wrong thing to do is posted on Amazon and can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Alexanders-Neurosurgeons-Afterlife-ebook/product-reviews/B009Y8S65U

The interesting thing to point out is out of all the people posting reviews, some are the author rebutting, and others are people sticking up for the writer of the poor review. With every defence, a one star rating was given to the book.  Most attacking the author for attacking the reviewer in defense of a one-star rating given to the book.  Most attacking the author for attacking the reviewer.

Now, if the author took another stance, thanking the reviewer for their honest opinion and agreeing everyone has the right to their own opinion.

Further, you can search for bad book review rebuttals and find a number of sites telling you not to do it.  The best part, though, is to find the ones that are actual rebuttals and read them.  The energy spent to come up with those rebuttals is amazing.  Some even researched the reviewer and wrote reviews of the reviewer’s work, spending hours of their creative energy on revenge. Part, though, is to find the ones that are actual rebuttals and read them.  The energy spent to come up with those rebuttals is amazing.  Some even researched the reviewer and wrote reviews of the reviewer’s work, spending hours of their creative energy on revenge.

Remember, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and sometimes a bad review is enough for a person who has not decided to purchase your book, to do so.  People will form their own opinions of your writing, so let them.

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