Pre-Planning for Your First 1-Star Amazon Review! (So you don’t freak out!)

I’ve got so many authors releasing books this quarter, I wanted to bring you THIS piece of wisdom so you can be prepared no matter where you are on your publishing journey.

You’ve spent hours writing your book – rewriting, editing, getting feedback, and then writing some more. You’ve invested in the story arc and pulled your hair out over commas. You’ve navigated the murky trails (and trials!) of professional edits, layout, cover design, and book launching.

And the book is beautiful. It’s a work of art. And it’s here to change the world – starting with you!

All hyperbole aside, I know first-hand what goes into writing a book and getting it published. After all, I’ve got 16 titles to my name. And I know first-hand how holding your book in your hand for the very first time just never gets old. If anything, the lady at the post office is sick and tired of watching me rush out to the truck like a love-struck fool to caress the shiny cover on the proof.

But there’s something really important that is never told to authors – and it really should be.

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.

Create a plan BEFORE you get your first bad Amazon review. Share on X

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 publically 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.

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.

Your book's message has NOTHING to do with reviews. Create a plan to handle the haters. Share on X

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.

We’re here, candles in the dark, willing to be brave and share our messages, so that we bring light to the world. I’ll be your light when yours is feeling dim.


Kim Galloway
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