Today’s book market gives power to readers – even the not-so-nice ones who post mean book reviews.
Less than ten years ago, readers had little opportunity to review books.
You could only find book reviews in newspapers and the back blurb of books. But how things have changed now.
Nowadays, every reader can have their say about a book.
Book reviews are everywhere
There are, of course, online book reviews on Amazon.
But there are also a lot on dedicated social media book sites such as Goodreads.
Then there are book review blogs, of which there are thousands.
With the freedom to have their say, readers have the collective power to make or break any book.
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.
There were many nasty and mean book reviews when the book was first self-published.
New self-publishing authors need to understand that a book buyer and reader are not always the same due to free ebooks.
Reviews can range from being ambivalent, supportive or offering balanced criticism and praise.
But they can also be downright nasty, mean-spirited, and even rude.
The infamous one-star troll, as nasty book reviewers have often been labeled, will remain a part of the book publishing market.
So you have to accept it as a fact of life.
Not everyone is nice and in a good mood
Learning to cope with and ignore blatantly spiteful and nasty comments is something all authors have to do.
But for new authors, the first few bad book reviews are always disturbing, even traumatic.
It is a natural reaction after putting one’s heart and soul into writing a book.
But getting book reviews is not easy. It’s because very few readers bother to post a review for books they read.
However, as has been seen many times, especially with trolls on Goodreads over the years, some reviewers can often be nasty and habitual.
I know it’s hard, but you should really ignore people who simply vent their spleen like this on social media forums.
But when it comes to readers who write rational and balanced reviews which criticize a book, don’t ignore them.
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, balanced, and contains comments that suggest that they read the book, then this is honest reader feedback. It should be of value to the author.
Thinking back to the time when readers had no voice, 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 people buy online, it is subject to buyers’ reviews.
Restaurants, hotels, and even bicycle pumps are subject to the same kind of buyer opinion and feedback.
Today’s authors cannot escape it. Learning to handle the good with the bad is very much part and parcel of being an author and book publishing.
How to handle mean book reviews
1. Accept that not every reader will like your book. You will always get both good and not-so-good reviews.
2. Never respond to any book review on Amazon or other retailers, except perhaps click the ‘Was this review helpful’ button.
3. Never respond to bad reviews on any social media forum or blog 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