Reviews that Sink Authors by Debra H. Goldstein
Traditionally, authors are told to ignore their reviews. Maybe some can, but most can’t. In fact, many writers can’t help focusing on anything except the bad ones.
I read reviews. Sometimes I totally agree and learn from the point being made, but more often, I’d love to respond (authors are also told not to respond). For example, when Maze in Blue was published, the reviews and ratings were all favorable – mostly 5’s and an occasional 4. And then, someone posted a one star on Amazon. The rationale was that I had gotten a main road in Ann Arbor wrong. The reviewer went on and on about how the road didn’t go straight and that if the character had really driven the route, they’d have run into a building.
The reviewer was right for the way the road presently runs, but the book was set in the 1970’s. The road and building mentioned were neither moved nor built until a year after the story occurred. I desperately wanted to respond with a choice comment, but happily, the next review, which was a five-star, pointed out that fact and noted what great and exact memories Maze brought back because the reviewer was a professor’s daughter who had lived on campus at that time. I was thrilled.
Talking to other authors, I’ve discovered they also have received one-star reviews that were a little out-to-lunch. One reviewer didn’t like the cover, another stated she didn’t read the book upon learning the name on the book was a pseudonym for an author whose last novel she didn’t like, and a third said the book, while enjoyable, wasn’t anything to write home about.
If you are an author, tell me about your “worst” review. A reader, have you ever left one you realized was an oops?
By the way, when it comes to being a writer or any profession, I think a sign I recently saw, says it all: