Aug 10 2012

Tips on Handling the Negative Book Review & FREEBIE

FREE copy on Amazon for stopping by!
August 10th & 11th ONLY

As an author since 2005, I’ve had my share of negative reviews of a couple of my books. They range from a simple, “Didn’t like this book!” to several paragraphs of hate, bashing and pleading for no one to buy a copy. Yes, I’ve seen it all. So how do you handle negative reviews of your book?


Here is an in-depth look at the three choices you have when dealing with negative book reviews. You can either not let it bother you, vent … but privately, or avoid reviews of your book at all costs. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of each choice.


Thick Skin:

Pros: Everyone’s opinion varies. You tell yourself this every time you see another 1 star rating of your book, or another reader shares how much they didn’t like your book. You can’t please everyone, so you write the best book you can and allow readers to take from it what they will. After all, with every new manuscript comes improved skill. No matter what anyone says, you’re going to write, aim to entertain, and a feel a sense of accomplishment with the completion of every book, and do it over and over again. Sticks and stones …
Cons: It takes a while to completely develop a thick skin. We’re all human. And it’s is very difficult to know that the project you put so much into, sacrificed meals and restful nights for, doesn’t make your readers tingle with satisfaction as you do. No one likes to hear they sucked, failed or could’ve tried harder or done better, especially when you think you gave everything but your sanity to perfect the project. It hurts and we carry that feeling around, trying desperately not to let it affect our ability to persevere. Thus developing our thick skin. It’s a painful process. It’s often looked up upon to be unaffected by words or what others think. However, sometimes the negative has a way of seeping in, especially if it’s been building up. Developing a thick skin takes practice.


Venting … privately:

Pros: Venting your anger helps get it out of your system, and when you talk to someone you trust and who understands your frustrations it makes dealing with your frustrations that much easier.
Cons: Venting, even privately, can sometimes leave you feeling weak, amateur, and further embarrassed especially when your best friend or spouse say the same thing over and over. “Don’t take it personal.” “Not everyone is gonna like your book.” “Just focus on the positives.” Hey, you already know that! Still, “whining” about a bad review will sometimes have you defending yourself as a thick-skinned professional to those you are venting to.

Don’t read reviews:

Pros: If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Out of sight, out of mind. What you don’t know can’t hurt you. You don’t have to worry about looking like a cry baby to your spouse or best friend, and you don’t have to practice growing a thick skin. It’s the easier of the choices.
Cons: You won’t have a clue what your audience thinks of the story or your writing no matter if what they say is good or not-so-good. Which means you won’t know what you need to improve on in your next book or where your strengths lie. Sometimes the customer is right. After all, they are your target audience. Sometimes reading others discuss the good, bad and ugly in your books is a great learning experience. You can learn a lot about your writing style, voice, characters, etc., that you would’ve never known by avoiding reviews of your books.

Extra Tips:

  • Don’t leave comments to correct, explain or disagree with the reviewer.
  • Don’t encourage family, friends or fans to leave comments for you.
  • Think of all reviews as an opportunity to learn.




As a gift for stopping by my blog, pick up a FREE copy of BEFORE THE DARKNESS here on Amazon today and tomorrow only.
Free copy here:
Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!
Check out the other blogs in RJ Scott’s Anniversary blog hop for August 11th-12th!

About the author

Leslie Lee Sanders

Leslie is a publishing Industry blogger, freelance writer and an author of over a dozen erotic romance & thriller titles. She self-published over two dozen works of fiction since 2004. Her blog was a finalist in the first annual Goodreads Independent Book Blogger Awards in 2012, and her story Benefits of Sharing is a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Award in the short story category. Her work has been included in the following Writer’s Market books: 2016 & 2017 Writer’s Market, 2016 & 2017 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market, and the 2014 & 2015 editions of Guide to Self-Publishing. As well as online blogs like Be a Freelance Blogger. She resides in Arizona with her husband and 3 daughters.


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  1. laurie

    great blog post. and i do agree about negative reviews. its a double edge sword..it helps reading the ones that have something constructive to say but ya don’t want to be reading the just plain nasty ones


    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      Right! But how do you know which is which unless you read them all, right? Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Make sure you pick up your free copy of Before the Darkness on Amazon! :-)

  2. Evelyn

    I think to many people mistake a review with a bashing! I actually tend not to read them! Thanks for the great post

    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      You’re welcome! I’ve found that some people (or probably most) only post reviews for books they absolutely love or absolutely hate. And if you tend to hate a book, it’s very difficult to not make your review insulting to the author … but it can be done and should focus on the book and not the author. Thanks for your comment. :)

  3. Yvette

    I agree with your comments….if you don’t have anything nice to say keep it to yourself and if you can not then please do it tactfully….Thank you fro the free book…I know what I will be reading on a lazy Sunday.

    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      You said it perfectly! It’s all about tact. You’re welcome. Please enjoy Before the Darkness. :-)

  4. Kassandra

    So happy about this freebie!

    Civility seems to have been lost amongst the ashes :( You can state an opinion (even negative) while still maintaining a civil tone.


    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      Exactly! Yet again, perfect! Enjoy the read and thanks for your comment. =)

  5. nancy

    Thanks for the freebie.

    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      You’re welcome! Happy reading! =))

  6. Foretta

    Thanks for the post! This makes me wish I used amazon! LOL


    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      Welcome! ;))

  7. Crissy Morris

    “Think of reviews as an opportunity to grow” This is great! Thanks for this post Leslie :)

    morris. crissy@gmail.com

    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  8. Erica Pike

    Thanks for the tips and free copy!

    1. Erica Pike

      Ah darn, looks like I’m a day late for the free copy, but thanks anyway ^.^

    2. Leslie Lee Sanders

      Sorry about that. By thanks for your comment. It’s nice to know my tips are appreciated. :)

  9. Madison Parker

    Thanks for sharing your advice!

    1. Leslie Lee Sanders

      Thank YOU for stopping by!!

  10. LL

    People who leave 1 star reviews:
    1) have a bone to pick with the author (beware not everyone that you know is your friend)
    2) read something in the book that hurt their feelings personally it’s a case of “a hit dog will holler”
    3) are generally miserable people who think that hurting others will make themselves feel better

    I have learned to ignore negative reviews for these three reasons. Except in a case of complete gibberish, hate or a book with blank pages I wouldn’t ever take the time to write a long 1-star review of a book, there are better uses for my time! I also don’t pay attention to them when deciding on a book purchase for these reasons.
    Thanks for your post

  1. Reading Reviews of my Books Helped my Series » Leslie Lee Sanders

    […] to reviews, especially the negative ones. Don’t invite confrontation or bullies by publicly “defending” your work. Also, […]

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