Create a Plan BEFORE You Get a Bad Book Review


Some people aren’t going to like your book.

Yes, that sucks. It’s hard to hear. But there it is.

Because I get it:

You’re really proud of that book. You know it (and your message) is here to change the world.

And you’ve done a good job in the whole process: rewriting, editing, getting feedback, and then writing some more. But there’s something really important that is never told to authors – and it really should be.

Somebody will hate it. They’ll hate it so much, they’ll leave you a one-star review. And IF you’re lucky, they’ll keep their comments to how dumb the book was (and maybe how much they didn’t like the writing.) If they’re a true Troll, or simply having a Really.Bad.Day, their one-star review will ALSO be a personal attack.

What happens when you get your first 1-star review?

Take a deep breath. Because let’s be perfectly honest here: it’s going to happen. Somebody is going to hate your book – and if you let it, that little 1-star review will have the power to obliterate all the 4- and 5-star reviews that came before it.

Your best defense is… a plan.

It’s not a plan for how you’ll plead with Amazon to remove it.

It’s not a blueprint for how you’ll hunt down the reviewer and make him change his mind – and publicly apologize.

It’s not a plan for how you’ll fire off a witty comeback that is not only the perfectly placed literary knife to the ribs but also makes you look brilliant, beautiful, and 15 pounds lighter.

Here’s the thing about reviews: there’s not a single way you can respond that leave you looking classy. If you argue with a “bad” review, you’re whiny; if you thank the reviewer for a “good” review, you’re a creepy stalker author.

#authortip Never respond to your Amazon reviews. Nothing you say will make you seem classy. Share on X

Still, you need a plan for how you’re going to handle it.

Here are some tips:

1. Don’t check on your reviews right before bed.

I’ll admit, when my first book was newly published, I checked sales stats and if there were any new reviews about every three hours. All. Day. Long.

But I knew from past experience, a nasty email from a client had the power to ruin a good night’s sleep. A bad review from a stranger… no WAY I’d be able to sleep.

2. Remind yourself that one person’s opinion – no matter how eloquent or how mean – can’t leap off the computer screen and do you harm.

Nor can it give you a hug! People are entitled to their opinion and the reviewing system means they’re also entitled to share it. Publically. Reviews can only hurt you (or make you feel 10 feet tall) if you let them.

3. Decide in advance how long you’re allowed to wallow, fret, trigger your flight or fight response.

One single star has the power to reach out of the computer and put your emotions into a strangle hold. And if you think you’ll be immune – think again. As humans we all crave love, attention, and appreciation. And a 1-star review feels like an attack.

But when you decide in advance how long you’ll allow yourself to feel those feelings, you’re in control. Personally, I gave myself 20 minutes to have a freak out and then get back to my life.

When I got my first 1-star review (of which there aren’t a lot, but it has happened) it hurt. Thankfully, it wasn’t a personal attack but somebody who honestly hated the book. And it did take longer than 20 minutes to feel better – but by the end of the afternoon, I was back to remembering that my self-worth, and the worth of my book, isn’t measured in stars!

Leave me a comment and share your plan with me. And when you get that 1-star review: REACH OUT. I’ve been there, done that, got the tee-shirt so I’m here to send you a virtual hug and remind you of all the good your book brings to the world.

Kim Galloway
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