Today’s book market gives power to readers – even the not so nice ones.
Less than ten years ago, readers had little opportunity to review books.
Book reviews were only found in newspapers and the back blurb of books. How things have changed.
Nowadays, every reader can have their say. Not only via online retailer reviews but also on dedicated social media book sites such as Goodreads, as well as an individual reader’s own book review blog, of which there are thousands.
With the freedom to have their say, readers have the collective power to make or break any book. It is worth remembering that Fifty Shades would never have seen the light of day without its initial popularity, which was driven in total by online readers.
It is also worth recalling that not all reviews of the initial, or even later versions of the book were positive.
For new self-publishing authors, it needs to be understood that the book buyer and reader, which are not always one and the same due to free ebooks, can range from being ambivalent, supportive or offering balanced criticism and praise, to being downright nasty, mean-spirited and even rude.
The infamous one-star troll, as nasty book reviewers have often been labelled, will remain a part of the book publishing market, so you have to accept it as a fact of life.
Not everyone on this planet is nice and in a good mood.
Learning to cope with, and ignore, blatantly spiteful and nasty reviews is something all authors have to do.
But for new authors, the first few bad reviews are always disturbing, even traumatic. It is a very natural reaction after putting one’s heart and soul into writing a book.
Gaining book reviews is really tough because few readers bother to post reviews of books they read.
However, as has been seen many times, especially on Goodreads over the years, some nasty reviewers can often be nasty and habitual. It is hard I know, but you should really ignore people like this on social media forums.
When it comes to readers who post rational reviews that are critical of a book though, these should not be ignored.
A bad review is not necessarily a mean review, but a reader’s honest appraisal of a book.
If the review is not personally attacking, is balanced, and contains comments that suggest that the book was indeed read, then this is honest reader feedback, and should be of value to the author.
Thinking back to the time when readers had no voice in book reviews, this direct connection between reader and author is now something that should be viewed as positive and constructive.
A book is a product, and like any other product that is bought online, it is subject to buyers’ reviews.
Restaurants, hotels and even bicycle pumps are subject to the same kind of buyer opinion.
Today’s authors cannot escape it, so learning to handle the good with the bad is very much part and parcel of book publishing.
1. Accept as fact that not every reader will like your book, so you will always get both good and not so good reviews.
2. Never respond to any type of book review on Amazon or other retailers, except perhaps to click the ‘Was this review helpful’ button.
3. Never respond to bad reviews on any social media forum or blogs, because you will never win the argument.
4. Learn from honest, balanced and critical reviews.
5. Totally ignore the mean and nasty trolls. Yes, tough to do, I know.
6. Always celebrate your fantastic reviews!!
More reading: Fix Amazon Book Reviews – Problems And A Workaround
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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