Cynthia D'Alba

Bad Reviews-What Do You Do? Getting & Giving Reviews

Part of being a writer is having to accept that not everybody will like what you write. In face, some people will absolutely despise your work. Call you a hack. Or suggest you keep your day job. Or swear to never ever buy one of your books again. Luckily for me, I haven’t had to deal with with a “you suck” review. I’m sure it’s out there. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read books by a couple of my favorite authors. Unfortunately neither book was a hit for me. Unbelievable heroines. Situations that could be resolved if the couple simply talked to each other. That sort of thing.

I do post reviews to Goodreads. But it’s so hard for me to criticize the work of a fellow author because I know how hard it is to write a book, even a less than perfect book. Nobody bats a thousand. I worship at the feet of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s talent. But even she has written a couple of books I was mah about, although I think I was in the minority on my blah vote. If Goodreads had been around back then, I’m not sure if I would have reviewed them or never mentioned them as books I’ve read.

So my  questions for you today…

1.  You’ve just read a blah book. You don’t know the author. Do you give it a blah review or just pretend you  never read the book?

2.  You’ve just read the book of a good friend or chapter mate and it’s not good. I mean, sure some things aren’t “your cup of tea” but in this case, the writing was weak, the story was dumb and you just hated the book. What do you do?

3.  You’ve just gotten the “you suck” review. Now we all have been told “Don’t respond” at all. How do you react? chocolate? phone with a friend? pin the review on a dart board and let the darts fly?
4.  You’ve just gotten the highest rating from a reviewer and an incredible write-up. Do you respond? If so, how?How do you react? chocolate? phone with a friend? pin the review on a dart board and let the darts fly?

So those are my thoughts on this rainy Friday Morning. I’m looking forward to your comments.


Texas Two Step is still available from Samhain, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble 

or your favorite online bookstore. 

And now there is:

Texas Two Step, the Prequel available only from Amazon

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7 thoughts on “Bad Reviews-What Do You Do? Getting & Giving Reviews

  1. Reviews are def a sticky wicket . . . which is why I don’t do them.

    I think I can count a handful of times that I emailed the author when I’ve read a totally awesome story, but I didn’t write a review.

    If a friend asks me straight out what I thought of her story, I would tell her my opinion as gently as possible. Usually, I just dance around the topic. BUT If you are a reviewer and people look to your blog for insight on books, then you had better be honest because if you lie then you will lose your following.

    So far, *knock on wood* I haven’t gotten the “you suck” review. The worst one was a 3 out of 5 stars. The reviewer liked the story and thought it would make a good kid movie . . . uhm, because it’s a CHILDREN’S BOOK, maybe??

    If it was a bad enough review, I’d probably whine to my writing friends and get over it. It’s just one opinion. Sometimes bad reviews stimulate interest in your story, so it isn’t the end of life as you know it.

    I totally understand that my style might not be everyone’s writing style. Move on and write the next story.

    1. Yeah, I got one 2 for Texas Two Step. *Shrug* Obviously not the reader’s cup of tea. I think this is the first time I’ve even mentioned that two rating.
      Thanks Margaret

  2. I don’t review all books but I try to rate them on Goodreads. I’m not shy about dropping two or one star reviews if I feel that’s how bad it was. If a friend has one in that range, I don’t rate it. I just mark it as read and move on.

    I cry on the shoulders of my friends for bad reviews. I stick to the ‘never in public’ rule on that. No one likes an author behaving badly. I hate it when early feedback is hard. Bad reviews and ratings are easier to take after a few good ones. so when my first or second rating is two stars, I whine a bit.

    If a review is 3 stars or higher, I thank the reviewer for their time and consideration. I might gush a little for the 5 star ones. (Okay, a lot.) Requested reviews always get a thank you, regardless of rating.

    I’ve never bought into the whole ‘don’t respond’ thing. Reviews are not easy to write and the reviewer deserves a nod for doing it.

    1. Yeah, I’ve done the “read” with no rating too.

      I feel strongly there is no way an author can help by commenting on a bad review (“obviously this reviewer just didn’t get my sense of humor…or didn’t understand the deeper meanings, etc) Total no-win.

      I confess I do thank and tweet good reviews! 🙂

  3. I do published reviews for a national library publication. I doubt I’ll ever give a “Not Recommended” simply out of professional courtesy. I try to find some redeeming quality in every book I review, and balance the good with the bad whenever possible.

    Through networking, I’ve actually had a few instances when I’ve encountered authors and agents whose books I’ve reviewed, so it’s a good feeling to know I didn’t completely pan their work! I would hate to burn bridges or offend someone. But hopefully they’ve grown thick skin in this business. ALL reviews are subjective.

    I’ve had everything from 5 stars to (ahem) less for my work. I have fans, and I have readers who’ve disliked it. I’m okay with that. I flaunt the good reviews and ignore the others. As a book reviewer, I never get to pick what my editor sends me, so if I get a subgenre I dislike, I know the work will have to be STELLAR for me to give it a high rating. That said, I’m sure some reluctant reviewer has been forced to read my work, too.

    As for responses, I don’t expect them, and I don’t give them. I once received a response on GR by an author who wasn’t happy with my 3 star review of her ARC. Contacting reviewers after a negative review leaves a bad lasting impression. Honestly, I’d liked her book. I just didn’t think it deserved a 4 or 5.

  4. I’m a big chicken when it comes to reviews. I’ve done a few or fellow authors and feel that I try to find the positive points I liked because I also know how hard it is to write that story. I’ve never had a review, but look forward to my first. Fingers crossed that it’s a good one.

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