Smashwords Authors discussion

Ruth de Lune: A Novella
This topic is about Ruth de Lune
268 views
Writing and Publishing > The Really Nasty Reviews

Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Hey, everyone.

Just curious about how the authors who have self-published have handled the really nasty review. You know the ones: the ones that seem more like a personal attack than a genuine critique of your work. Certainly, we all expect to get honest feedback, even constructive feedback, but what about the occasional nut who flames you or, even worse, knows you and decides to turn your book into a substitute target for your own head?

This could be a forum for moral support, if people need it, but I'm just generally curious as to how you all respond, or if you do. Remember, I'm not talking about negative reviews so much as the ones that cross the line and border on personal attacks.

Thanks for any responses or thoughts you might have.

Happy Writing,
Andy
facebook.com/andydavidsononline


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

If someone lambasted my book on Amazon, I would just leave a reply that said "Dude, thank you for reading my book!"

Other than that, there is no point in responding. Just understand that their vitriol is a curse that will stalk them in their life and you don't have to let it into your own life.

Negative feelings are a commodity. If you don't invest in negative energy, you won't have any.


message 3: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Andy wrote: "Hey, everyone.

Just curious about how the authors who have self-published have handled the really nasty review. You know the ones: the ones that seem more like a personal attack than a genuine ..."


Ignore them. Seriously.


message 4: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments I've seen reviews where a reader has attacked and rubbished the ideas in a book (you can't please everyone!), but I can't remember ever reading one that contains a personal attack against the author. Is this common? Perhaps I'm reading the wrong sort of books...


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

If your book can make people hate you, it must be pretty potent and therefore probably destined for success. =)


message 6: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Steph wrote: "I've seen reviews where a reader has attacked and rubbished the ideas in a book (you can't please everyone!), but I can't remember ever reading one that contains a personal attack against the autho..."

I had one, from a former friend. It violated the TOS at Smashwords, and Mark Coker took it down. For the most part, though, the only answer to really bad reviews is to ignore them.

Here's what I've figured out over time: as much as we want everyone to love our books, they won't. Some percentage of people will think our stuff is fabulous; about the same percentage of people at the other end will think it's the most sophomoric dreck since man invented scribbling. The majority will fall somewhere in the middle.


message 7: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments Forrest wrote: "If your book can make people hate you, it must be pretty potent and therefore probably destined for success. =)"

Oh, it wasn't personal experience! I've had mixed reviews, but nothing nasty. The one I was thinking of was The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. I love this book and have found it incredibly useful in my fiction writing, but some reviewers have marked the book down and attacked the author because of his views on other subjects (he's a journalist).

Thinking about this more, I did see a nasty exchange a while back that resulted from a allegation that a Goodreads author was planting five-star reviews for their own works under an alias. Nobody came out of that well.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Steph wrote: "I've seen reviews where a reader has attacked and rubbished the ideas in a book (you can't please everyone!), but I can't remember ever reading one that contains a personal attack against the autho..."

Probably not very common, Steph. It recently happened to me, but my book's publication wasn't even part of the drama surrounding the individual who flamed it. The book just happened to be a convenient target at a time when the person who reviewed it needed one.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Forrest wrote: "If your book can make people hate you, it must be pretty potent and therefore probably destined for success. =)"

Right on.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Sharon wrote: "Steph wrote: "I've seen reviews where a reader has attacked and rubbished the ideas in a book (you can't please everyone!), but I can't remember ever reading one that contains a personal attack aga..."

Absolutely, Sharon. I agree wholeheartedly. I think the fact that Smashwords was willing to take the review down probably testifies to how inappropriate it was. No such luck with the gentle behemoth that is Amazon.com.


message 11: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Forrest (theeternalscribe) | 12 comments Andy wrote: "Hey, everyone.

Just curious about how the authors who have self-published have handled the really nasty review. You know the ones: the ones that seem more like a personal attack than a genuine ..."


Contact the review site (e.g. Amazon). Many will remove negative reviews if they are indeed personal attacks as they are not reviews of the book and not appropriate.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Danielle wrote: "Andy wrote: "Hey, everyone.

Just curious about how the authors who have self-published have handled the really nasty review. You know the ones: the ones that seem more like a personal attack th..."


Tried that with Amazon, Danielle. They actually didn't agree with my take on things, though they were sympathetic. In the end, their policies triumphed. Which I'm happy to accept. Reviews, like policies, are sometimes dependent upon interpretation.


message 13: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (RossHarrison) | 341 comments I think it's best to ignore all reviews, good or bad. If they're good and you thank them, then people will expect you to thank every single one, and then use that when you don't respond to bad ones.

If you respond to negative ones, then apart from anything else, you run the risk of coming off as bad, or worse, than the reviewer. I have one on mine that makes no sense (one of his points being that my characters jump between planets in a matter of minutes, which is an outright lie) and it was tempting to address the points, if only so anyone looking at the reviews could see he was talking shit. However, I stuck to ignoring, and the review still has 0 votes as being helpful.

People can usually tell for themselves when a reviewer is exaggerating/lying/being spiteful, but if you respond, you run the risk of those same people taking that reviewer's 'side'.

Similarly, with something like a Facebook page, less acceptable to ignore people, in my opinion, but something short and non-confrontational. For example, someone, in the same sentence, said he liked my book, and also accused me of plagiarism. I would have liked to have pointed out that the very few 'similarities' to the things he mentioned, did not mean I ripped those things off, but I ended up just saying 'Thank you :)'.

Always best, I think.


message 14: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Landmark (clandmark) | 17 comments Fortunately, this has not happened to me (yet). :)

But, I think if it ever did, I would have to agree with everyone else's opinion here. I would just ignore it and hope legitimate reviewers and readers would see it for what it is--plain and simple nastiness rather than a genuine critique. If you do respond, your attacker may be able to take something you say and twist it around until you come away looking bad.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Ross wrote: "I think it's best to ignore all reviews, good or bad. If they're good and you thank them, then people will expect you to thank every single one, and then use that when you don't respond to bad ones..."

Great points, Ross. Thanks for weighing in.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Cheryl wrote: "Fortunately, this has not happened to me (yet). :)

But, I think if it ever did, I would have to agree with everyone else's opinion here. I would just ignore it and hope legitimate reviewers and r..."


That's right, Cheryl. Especially if your attacker is a writer, too, then the war of words will commence.


message 17: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (AndrewLawston) | 35 comments I take the view that reviews are for readers, rather than writers. And a really nasty review can say a lot more about the reviewer than the book they've reviewed.

I tend not to respond directly to any reviews - if you leave comments on the nice ones, you look like you're encouraging sycophancy, and if you leave comments on the nasty ones, well, we've all seen how that can end.

Luckily I've not had any real stinkers of reviews for my book yet, but I'm sure one day I will, and I hope I'll have the strength of my convictions!


message 18: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments I keep my responses to answering questions. Although on a free site I did at one point have someone accuse "Progenitor" of being a rip-off of Prometheus, and had some others chiming in, so I felt a need to observe that my story had been posted on a different site for over a year before Prometheus came out, so there wasn't really any influence between the two. I did however go on to say they should check out "Species" if they want to see what I was spinning my own riff on... :)


message 19: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (BrynHammond) Agree with Ross.
Even when we tickle to answer a point. That's what your website's for, yes? to answer questions and get into specifics and engage. They know where to find you if they want to engage. Reviews are for readers.
Not that I don't have to sit on my hands, when there's a point to answer.


message 20: by Anne (new)

Anne Conley (anneconley) I had a review that said my free novella was "painful to read" and "it sounded like the author made it up as she went along". I'm not gonna lie. I cried. It wasn't my first bad review, but it was the first one that was ugly. After a couple of days, I was able to think about it without feeling nauseous, and now I'm able to almost laugh about it. The one star killed my overall rating, but I didn't respond, and now the overall rating is back up to four stars. So in the end, I think the review only hurt the reviewer. She's the one who looks bad, here. In my mind, anyway.


message 21: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Anne wrote: "I had a review that said my free novella was "painful to read" and "it sounded like the author made it up as she went along". I'm not gonna lie. I cried. It wasn't my first bad review, but it wa..."

Okay, I'm sorry ... but that's one of the silliest reviews I've ever read. Of *course* the author made it up as she went along -- how else does that reviewer think we write fiction?


message 22: by Anne (new)

Anne Conley (anneconley) HAHAHAHA! Sharon thank you for that. No, if she had read the original draft, which was 60,000 words longer, complete with six ghosts, and evil boyfriend and all, she would have REALLY had something to say about it.


message 23: by David (new)

David  Crawford (darksolus) | 9 comments I had a really ugly review on my book from someone in Australia. It was not a review but an attack with a 1 star rating. I think the problem was she was a writer herself and probably thinks no one writes as well as she. Anyway you just have to forget about it and move on. I also had a review from a 70 year old man who suggested that my book needed a warning label as it is very violent. That is why it is called FANTASY!!! I found that one pretty funny.


message 24: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments That kind of reminds me of the various people who post very low reviews on my free erotica ebook. If one looks back at their review history, they're used to reviewing garden tools, and they don't generally have any erotica reviews on file.

It amuses me a lot because I have this mental image of some person opening it up, somehow totally MISSING what section it's in, and then going, "Oh my! Wait a - oh no! NO KEN NO, DON'T WRITE - oh my!" And then writing a review based upon that experience. The reviews I've got from people who actually do read erotica tend not to be bad on Amazon.


message 25: by David (new)

David  Crawford (darksolus) | 9 comments I tend to look on these reviews with a grain of salt. I keep in mind that the majority of my reviews on Amazon, B&N and Chapters are all 4-5 stars. Also why do people read and review books when they are not really interested in the genre. You really have to be a fantasy lover to get into fantasy. Same with any other genre. People are funny!!!


message 26: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments David Andrew wrote: "...You really have to be a fantasy lover to get into fantasy. Same with any other genre..."

I'm not sure I'd entirely agree. I wouldn't class myself as a 'fantasy lover', but I occasionally dip in to that genre and have found books I've read and really enjoyed. It could actually work the other way, in that a hard-core fantasy fan might be overly judgmental about what constitutes a 'good' fantasy story.


message 27: by David (new)

David  Crawford (darksolus) | 9 comments Could be.


message 28: by Emma (new)

Emma Faragher | 146 comments It all comes under the idea that its impossible to please everyone. I am very unlikely to give any book 5 stars if I can tell you the end 5 pages in (in other words it follows a very very basic formula and does not deviate) but others would prefer to read books that are just like the other books they like.

To be honest though the only reason I would give a 1 or 2 star review is if it was a series and the book had fallen far short of the rest. Otherwise I'd just stop reading and forget about it. If you write a really bad review, ironically you probably didn't finish the book as you didn't like it. So you can't even review the whole book! I take these with a pinch of salt when looking for books to read.

As long as erotica or violence is marked (fantasy has a lot of subgenres and can be aimed at younger or older audiences which is why I love it so much) I don't think it's a problem. But if you write a lot of non-violent books and suddenly come out with a violent or erotica book some of your loyal readers might come back a little shocked. Especially if you are good enough to have people who automatically snap up everything you buy. So maybe take it as a compliment, they love your work so much that they bought the book without checking if they would like it first.


message 29: by Barbara (new)

Barbara G. Tarn (BarbaraGTarn) | 1180 comments Emma wrote: "As long as erotica or violence is marked (fantasy has a lot of subgenres and can be aimed at younger or older audiences which is why I love it so much) I don't think it's a problem. But if you write a lot of non-violent books and suddenly come out with a violent or erotica book some of your loyal readers might come back a little shocked. Especially if you are good enough to have people who automatically snap up everything you buy. So maybe take it as a compliment, they love your work so much that they bought the book without checking if they would like it first. "

that's why they say it's better to use pseudonyms for different genres... although whoever reads B.G. Hope will know it's the same person that writes as Barbara G.Tarn, even if one writes contemporary stories (with some fantasy such as body switches) and the other fantasy and science fantasy...
And not all readers are genre-biased or read only in one genre - much like many writers like to genre-hop! :)


message 30: by Anne (new)

Anne Conley (anneconley) Yesterday the review that said my book was Painful to Read was gone. I didn't report it or anything...I'm trying to figure out what happened...Maybe enough people said it wasn't a helpful review, that Amazon took it down? I have no idea, but I did a happy dance.


message 31: by Leon (new)

Leon Shure | 4 comments I don't think I've seen this covered before, but I would like some advice. I found a website on Google that is giving away one of my books free as a PDF, without my permission, of course. The book is $3.99 at the e-book stores. I don't think the site has any viruses, because I ran it through Norton. But I started to try to download and entered a maze which, if I wanted to continue would have required me to give more and more personal information. I suspect I' d get a lot of viruses before I actually could download my book. Now what? I don't want to be a front for a bunch of crooks, and I don't want to give them my address by sending a cease and desist email.


message 32: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 790 comments Leon wrote: "I don't think I've seen this covered before, but I would like some advice..."

Not really the right thread for this comment, but if you post it as a new topic under 'general' I'm sure someone will offer advice. But you're going to have to make contact with them one way or another if there's been a copyright infringement.


message 33: by Storm (new)

Storm Chase Anne wrote: "I had a review that said my free novella was "painful to read" and "it sounded like the author made it up as she went along". I'm not gonna lie. I cried. It wasn't my first bad review, but it wa..."

When you're targeted by someone like that, it means you've made it!


message 34: by Anne (new)

Anne Conley (anneconley) Storm wrote: "Anne wrote: "I had a review that said my free novella was "painful to read" and "it sounded like the author made it up as she went along". I'm not gonna lie. I cried. It wasn't my first bad revi..."

AWESOME!!!!


message 35: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (UbiquitousBubba) | 413 comments Yeah! It appears I've made it, too!

I made the mistake of joining a Review Group here on GR. I received a horrific review from an author who absolutely hated my book. I mean, her descendents will pledge their lives to utterly destroying any trace of this abomination of a book for all time. She hated it. I have to admit that I was pretty demoralized. I was ashamed to even open my new book to continue work on it. All the joy I used to have in writing was gone.

Almost all of the other people who have read my book have really enjoyed it. Several of them write to me periodically to ask when the second book will be available. They're not stupid.

Reeling from the devastation of this review, I gave away free copies of my first novel to members of another GR group and asked the authors there if they liked it. Within minutes (I mean, in less than 15 minutes), I received this response:

"I don't think you are incompetent. But I do find your writing merely competent. I find the humor contrived and rather ho-hum -- Except for the gag about the alien and his unintelligible poetry that was very funny when Douglas Adams first used it. I'm sorry, Ubiquitous, but I was rather underwhelmed..."

Excuse me? He based his assessment not on my book, but on a quick glance at the sample on the Smashwords site. He didn't even read my book and he's passing judgement on me as a writer? Isn't that a bit like deciding you don't like a band because of their hairstyles?

I would never do this to an author. Never. I have too much respect for fellow authors and too much respect for the craft.

I've observed in the limited time I've wasted here on GR that many of these groups are made up of authors who put others down in order to elevate themselves. I feel like I'm back in high school, lurking on the fringe and wondering why the cool kids are all such jerks.

When I finish my reviewing committements to the existing review groups, I'll drop out of those groups. I didn't write for them. I wrote for me. I wrote for people who enjoy my style of humor and my storytelling. I wrote for all the people who told me over the years that they'd love to read my books. I didn't write for haters and pompous Authors (capitalization intended to convey a mocking tone) who seek to elevate themselves at the expense of others.

I know the point of a review is to help readers and not authors. Still, I wonder if these people would be as harsh if they were not able to hide behind the Internet.


message 36: by Storm (new)

Storm Chase I think "reviewer" is a word that drives normal people a little power crazy. Let's face it: most of us have zero control over the people around us, so having the power to smash someone with righteous crit is just too, too tempting. I shall write a blog post about this.

http://stormchasenovels.blogspot.com/


message 37: by Matt (new)

Matt Rees (MattOwensRees) | 1 comments Amazon took an attacking review down when I contacted them. I don't mind constructive or honest reviews. We all have different tastes. I don't particularly like amazon but they were helpful on that one occasion.


message 38: by FB (new)

FB | 2 comments I had one, from a former friend. It violated the TOS at Smashwords, and Mark Coker took it down. For the most part, though, the only answer to really bad reviews is to ignore them.

Hi Sharon. Did you contact Mark Coker or was it just taken down as a matter of course?


message 39: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments FB wrote: "Hi Sharon. Did you contact Mark Coker or was it just taken down as a matter of course? "

I contacted Mark Coker. He said that if the review had been about the book he couldn't have done anything, but it was a bunch of scathing putdowns of me, and he deleted it immediately.


message 40: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Abell | 10 comments Anne wrote: "I had a review that said my free novella was "painful to read" and "it sounded like the author made it up as she went along". I'm not gonna lie. I cried. It wasn't my first bad review, but it was t..."

Way to turn a neg into a positive!


message 41: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Abell | 10 comments I think when you're starting out, it's so discouraging to receive bad reviews...especially since you have to work so hard at getting people to agree to review/read an indie author to begin with! I've had a couple of bad reviews, I chose to ignore them, but it's hard ;).


back to top