Shannon Stacey

Dealing with one star Amazon reviews

I’m sure most of you aware there were two spectacular meltdowns in response to one star reviews on Amazon—one by the author herself and another by an author’s friends. There’s no sense in linking to them as 1) so much unattractiveness on a Sunday afternoon and 2) the author in the first case has already deleted her comments from what I hear.

It sucks getting a one star review. Some of them make you roll your eyes or they’re annoying or disappointing and sometimes they really, really hurt—like an ache in the gut and hard to breathe hurt. So what’s an author to do?

(Well, first of all, don’t read your Amazon reviews. But sometimes it’s just too hard to resist.)

Think of your favorite romance, the keeper that you’re on your third, tattered copy of and the one that springs instantly to your mind if you hear Greatest Romance EVAH. Then go read that book’s one star reviews.

Don’t read them with a sense of spite—Haha! Favorite Writer X got one star, too, so nyah nyah!—but rather to regain your sense of perspective.

Somebody out there hated a book you loved. And remember those times when all of the internet is raving about a book you couldn’t bring yourself to finish?

There are going to be people who feel the same way about your books and it doesn’t mean your books suck. It means it didn’t work for those readers, just as some books don’t work for you. Take any useful feedback you can use to grow your writing and lock the rest away.

Do NOT comment.

And stop reading Amazon reviews of your books. You should be writing the next one.

5 comments to “Dealing with one star Amazon reviews”

  1. Annmarie
      · December 20th, 2009 at 1:23 pm · Link

    If I don’t like a book, I won’t review it. I’m too empathetic to write a one star review.

  2. Shannon
      · December 20th, 2009 at 1:24 pm · Link

    We wish there were more readers like you! :lol:

  3. Meljean
      · December 20th, 2009 at 1:36 pm · Link

    Yes, a million times over.

    I also recommend that authors don’t click on message board threads with headings such as:

    Worst Books of 2009
    Authors Everyone Loves But You Don’t
    Your Biggest Wallbangers

    …and so on. Chances are, an individual author’s work won’t show up (unless they happen to be a big name, because big name authors are always on there.) But why take the chance of getting that unexpected OUCH (and maybe the knee-jerk reaction to comment)?

  4. Marian Schembari
      · December 21st, 2009 at 9:32 am · Link

    I agree 150% – both on the post and Annmarie. HOWEVER, if I really HATED a book sometimes I’m naughty and write a bad review. That being said, if I liked a book I make sure to write an amazing review and post it everywhere (my blog, goodreads, Amazon). I was in book PR for a while and know how important good publicity is. I also understand how important Amazon reviews are. Before buying, or even checking out, a book I make sure to read the Amazon reviews. But more important than Amazon? Word of mouth. Every. Single. One of my favorite books only has three or so stars on Amazon. Meaning half the time people are spiteful and the other half don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Am realizing this response is getting too long. But I DO wholeheartedly agree and all authors needs to remember that it’s what people say, rather than what they write anonymously, that truly counts.

    p.s. you rock my socks :)

  5. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · December 23rd, 2009 at 1:56 pm · Link

    It’s been so long since I got any kind of review I can’t remember how the initial shock felt with a bad one. I did get one titled “Worst Book Ever” that just amused me. It helps to see it two years after the book came out. :)

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