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Author Chat! > Ridiculous one-star reviews

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message 1: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments Hi everyone, I'm Esther and I am a content creator for upcoming authors. I'm currently writing an article based on author confessions regarding ridiculous one-star reviews.

I think we all know the Stephen Kings of the world are unaffected by negative reviews but these could mean a huge literary struggle for the self-published author.

I'm not here to shame the reviewer, but encourage legitimate one star reviews and not the ones based on ludicrous details (such as: the writer didn't add the title of the book at the top of the page, people who bought books on vampires and later complained about the very same thing, etc.)

If you too have been blessed with one, I'd like to know your experience. Here's the first article I wrote on the matter: https://estherrabbit.com/dear-one-sta...

Thank you all and have a lovely week.


message 2: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Sells | 2 comments Nothing worse than a ridiculous one-star review. I don't mind a legitimate one, but I had one where the person hadn't even read the book, they just seemed to have decided I shouldn't have written it... or that I was misadvertising it? I don't know. It's a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice, but apparently if the characters aren't actually called Elizabeth & Darcy then I shouldn't be calling it that. Um, isn't Bridget Jones' Diary a retelling of P&P as well? Her name isn't Lizzie either! lol


message 3: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 290 comments Not a 1* but I did have someone label my book as unrealistic, it was a murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie set in a small village cut off by a severe storm.

I'm not sure which part was supposed to be unrealistic, the cut-off village (happens almost every winter here in the UK) or an ex-wife killing her husband's new love.

I do love some of the things people put in reviews.


message 4: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 241 comments That one made me chuckle Alex. There was nothing unrealistic about that book.

Not mine, but I did see a one star review for a book someone had brought to the world's attention that stated some nonsense like "this product was defective". It's a book.


message 5: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 290 comments D.J. wrote: "That one made me chuckle Alex. There was nothing unrealistic about that book.

Not mine, but I did see a one star review for a book someone had brought to the world's attention that stated some no..."


Glad I could give you a chuckle.

Not sure how a book can be defective, I'd like more information on that one.


message 6: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 241 comments Maybe it was a paperback and the cover fell off? I'm clutching at straws.

I'd rather forget the 1 star review my pen name received ridiculing my story having not even read it.


message 7: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 290 comments D.J. wrote: "Maybe it was a paperback and the cover fell off? I'm clutching at straws.

I'd rather forget the 1 star review my pen name received ridiculing my story having not even read it."


I don't blame you. It took me a long time but I finally reached the point where I don't pay much attention to my reviews, good or bad. I occasionally notice that I've had some new ones, but I don't read them because I don't want to get depressed by something negative.


message 8: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments I am literally horrified, guys. Thank you for your input.


message 9: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 967 comments Mod
Great article, as always, Esther!


message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda  (Manka23) | 14 comments I think the most ridiculous one star reviews are when they don't actually read the book, but give it a one star based on some controversy. This recently happened with Blood Heir (Blood Heir, #1) by Amélie Wen Zhao and the author actually backed out of publishing her book. But I've also seen it happen with The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles, #1) by Laurie Forest and Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins.
We live in a world where everyone is offended by something and it really sucks when it's at the authors expense. It's fiction! Books are supposed to make us think about difficult issues! Just because a book includes difficult issues and explores them doesn't mean the author has those beliefs! If a character is a murderous Nazi do you automatically think the author is a murderous Nazi? I love to read flawed protagonists, but now a days if you write a character who has questionable beliefs you might very well be damned for it in reviews! I hope that this kind of thing doesn't scare off authors and they keep writing the way they want to!


message 11: by Amanda (new)

Amanda  (Manka23) | 14 comments I read the full article and honestly it made me laugh. When I go to pick out a book I look at negative and positive reviews. Sometimes I will come across negative reviews and they will help sway me TOWARDS the book because of what people say. I have seen some RIDICULOUS reviews, like a person reads erotica and says "DNF this book had sex in it!". Everyone is entitled to their opinions though!

As a book blogger I think that critical reviews are VERY important, but I know other book bloggers that will only post positive reviews. I have to admit, when an author sends me a physical copy of their book and I have issues with it. I do feel bad writing a critical review, but I am not going to sacrifice my integrity as a reviewer for an author's feelings. My hope is that they are professional and can handle criticism.

I have only given out like... 2 one star reviews in my life, but some of my 3 star reviews are VERY critical while others are mostly positive. I tend to round up I guess.


message 12: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments Amanda wrote: "I read the full article and honestly it made me laugh. When I go to pick out a book I look at negative and positive reviews. Sometimes I will come across negative reviews and they will help sway me..."

The article is not intended to go against the reviewer community and I have literally been bullied for writing it over here on Goodreads and on Twitter.

People randomly called me names for daring to highlight the following type of reviews:

-people who bought a screenplay and later rated it a one star because they thought it was a novel. Even though it was mentioned in the book description.

I have nothing against one star reviews as long as they are legitimate, properly justified and refrain from insulting the author. Period.

A legitimate reviewer who has nothing in common with the horror show displayed within the article should not feel attacked in any way shape or form.

I stand by what I said and I can respect anyone who disagrees in a civilized manner.


message 13: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments I really appreciate your input and I'll let you know as soon as the article is ready. I'm soon going to do a piece on online trolling so I'll probably ask for your collaboration on that too, I'm sure you have stories to share (I've recently had my very own experience, lol).

To be honest with you, ultimately, only positive things came out of this experience because my website's traffic is off the charts resulting in no less than a 25% increase in book sales in only 6 hours. So what initially started as public shaming has also increased my mailing list given that people are smart enough to have their own opinions.

Last but not least, I'd love to interview you and promote your work to the world if you are in the writing industry, so please DM me and I'll send you all the details.

There's an interview section on my website where I had the pleasure to pick the brains of internationally bestselling authors, indie authors and a variety of professionals in the industry & I'm really looking forward to get to know more of you.


message 14: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 290 comments I'm glad this has had a positive result for you with regards to your sales. I finally got around to reading your linked article last night (I know, it's taking me a while to get to things at the moment) and I have to say, I'm one of those who has had a 1* with text that suggests it was meant to be a 5*.

Such things are a little bemusing but I assume it's the result of someone either getting confused over how the rating system works, or their finger slipped and they hit the 1* when they meant to hit the 5* and didn't realise.

My mum does that kind of thing all the time, she means to change the channel and instead ends up recording something, which means I have to delete some very random programs, lol.


message 15: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments Alex wrote: "I'm glad this has had a positive result for you with regards to your sales. I finally got around to reading your linked article last night (I know, it's taking me a while to get to things at the mo..."

I'm sure it happened to the best of us :) would you grant me an interview, Alex?


message 16: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Carrabis (JosephCarrabis) | 28 comments The ones that bug me are one-star reviews with no comment. No idea what they didn't like, no idea if the book's fixable or not, ...


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 290 comments Sure, Esther, I'm willing to be interviewed, you can either DM me or my email is arcarver87@gmail.com


message 18: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments Hi guys, the article is now ready and you can have a look here: https://estherrabbit.com/confessions-...

Thank you so much for your witty responses & collaboration :)


message 19: by P.J. (new)

P.J. Roscoe | 11 comments One star reviews can feel like an authors nightmare in the beginning, but you have to learn to just accept it and focus positive energy elsewhere. I’ve had a few one stars at the beginning of my writing career and it hurt like hell, because I could prove these women hadn’t even bought the book! One woman gave Freyas Child one star because it is set around the Pagan belief and she was a Christian. Never read it, but judged me from the title. Beggars belief but hey ho, it takes all sorts!


message 20: by bill (new)

bill (bmorgens) | 9 comments I had 2 one star reviews and I had the same experience. One of them was a person that didn't read the book but didn't like my political views.


message 21: by M.F. (last edited Feb 18, 2019 09:00PM) (new)

M.F. Hopkins | 25 comments I haven't had any 1-star reviews with the three reviews I've had so far, but I can say that the most ridiculous ones I've seen are the ones that rated a book one star due to the fact that the 'reviewer' couldn't download the book. Really?
I do recall a fiasco a few years back where an author was rated 1-star from a reviewer who accused her of having an affair with her husband. Hell, that could have been an interesting book in itself. lol Good grief.


message 22: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Blake (GabrielBlake) | 4 comments I have three 1-star reviews on Amazon because of a download fault through a technical issue with KDP Select. They would not acknowledge it was a problem on their end. It was more a case of not being bothered to look into the matter properly. I asked for the reviews to be removed but that department also failed to get back to me. KDP Select assured me they would email the 95 customers involved immediately. Two weeks later I knew this not to be the case as I was in contact with four people who had this download fault, and they had not received such an email. In the end I asked them to cancel my exclusivity through their incompetence and the damage they had done to me. They agreed. I also had a 1-star review because too many people were killed in a massacre at a farm. It was later changed to 2-stars as they were enjoying the writing, the characters, and the story until that point. My story is a psychological horror-thriller.


message 23: by M.F. (new)

M.F. Hopkins | 25 comments Gabriel wrote: "I have three 1-star reviews on Amazon because of a download fault through a technical issue with KDP Select. They would not acknowledge it was a problem on their end. It was more a case of not bein..."

Amazon won't bother to remove the tech-issue reviews at all, which is a shame, as said reviews have nothing to do with the actual reading and rating of the book.


message 24: by bill (new)

bill (bmorgens) | 9 comments I guess Amazon is too big to use common sense with issues like yours. I've given up fighting with Amazon trying to restore most of the 26 reviews that they had removed from my site.


message 25: by Alyson (new)

Alyson Stone (AlysonSerenaStone) | 191 comments I was just thinking about Blood Heir when I saw this. I have actually rated a lot of books one star, but I don't think I was actually rude about it. It just wasn't a book for me and the publishers understood that. Most of them are still sending me ARCs.
I am actually friends with this author on Goodreads.

Here's one of mine-well it's a two star I guess:
Book: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

Unpopular book opinion coming your way…I think I may be one of the few people in the world who did not like this one. I really, really did want to enjoy it, but I just found it so hard to actually get the story.

So, I though the writing was beautiful and the setting was amazing, but there was just something there that made me not really connect with it. I just really didn’t care what happened in the story. It’s a fantasy book, which is something that I should have enjoyed. It has action, romance, and a corrupt government, which is all the things I actually do enjoy in fantasy. Not only that, Children of Blood and Bone was recommended for fans of Throne of Glass, which is a series that I love. Plus, it’s not set in a European setting; the setting should have had a different feeling to it. So, something happened, something went wrong.

The characters….I didn’t think the characters were all that developed. They weren’t memorable and it was hard to keep track of everyone. Plus, they weren’t anything that we haven’t seen before. Normally, I’m okay with having cliched characters, but these ones weren’t even well written. I mean, are we supposed to be actually worried about them, because I wasn’t? I fact, I could really care less what happened to them. Characters also seem to be just placed there for the heck of it. Some of them don’t add anything at all to the plot.

The pacing was also off. It would be well written in some places, but lacking in others. There was a lot of filler chapters, but chapters that actually added meeting to the plot were rushed. Along with the pacing, things weren’t really explained all that well. With this being the first book in a series, it should have laid the groundwork for what is to come instead of leaving us with these giant holes. I really don’t see how Tomi is going to be able to fill them in the next book.

I know, I know, a lot of people have been wanting diverse fantasy, but, come on, let’s make it well done here people. City of Brass and The Star-Touched Queen are diverse fantasy, but they are actually well written. These two books have thought out plot lines and developed characters. I think Children of Blood and Bone could have had this and I fully expected it to, but it felt rushed. I have seen a number of people say this. It felt like the author was hurrying to meet a publication date. Had Tomi taken just a few more months on the story, who knows what may have happened.

This may have been my biggest flop of 2018 so far. I mean, I really wanted to like it. It had everything that I was supposed to like, but it just didn’t come out. So, on to the next book.


message 26: by C. (new)

C. Gold | 60 comments I actually bought Children of Blood and Bone based on the opener. It was quite gripping. I haven't had time to read it though. So sorry it wasn't want you wanted.

While I don't like getting bad reviews (who does?), I appreciate it when the person details what they didn't like. I have some very good negative reviews in that sense and can respect that reviewer's opinion and even see where I might make improvements as I write the next book.


message 27: by Robert (new)

Robert Kearns (RobertEKearns) | 3 comments Just got a 1 Star on LibraryThing. I know my book is not everyone's cup of tea, but that doesn't make it a bad book. It's just a bit different. I wonder why it is that readers can't differentiate between the two.


message 28: by C. (new)

C. Gold | 60 comments The star ratings ask the reviewer if they like the book or don't like it though. It has nothing to do with book quality.


message 29: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 967 comments Mod
"While I don't like getting bad reviews (who does?), I appreciate it when the person details what they didn't like. I have some very good negative reviews in that sense and can respect that reviewer's opinion and even see where I might make improvements as I write the next book."

Totally agree with you, C.


message 30: by Ariella (new)

Ariella Talix (AriellaTalix) | 9 comments Thank you for starting this conversation and for posting that article! There's nothing better than "misery loves company" to put things into perspective.

When my first book came out, about the 4th or 5th review was a one-star DNF that made two false claims. First, that I hadn't provided a warning, (I had, and it was VERY clear the book included possible triggers), and second, that a rape occurred in the book with no warning. Had the reader continued to read, she'd have discovered that while there was unwanted contact, it was not a rape. And what author is going to stop a story to warn the reader that something bad is about to happen?? Needless to say, I was crushed. It's been quite a while, and I still have to sit on my hands to not write a rebuttal to the troll. She also didn't get that in a book called "Make Believe," sometimes things aren't what you expect them to be at first.

I've definitely left a few one-star reviews myself over the years, but I feel way different about them now. If a book is truly heinous, makes false, unresearched claims left and right, or was never edited at ALL, those probably qualify. That's about it though.


message 31: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments Ariella wrote: "Thank you for starting this conversation and for posting that article! There's nothing better than "misery loves company" to put things into perspective.

When my first book came out, about the 4t..."


This makes me so, so sad! Believe it or not, this is an ongoing issue and although (of course) people are entitled to their opinions, there's such a big difference between being honest and being a bully.

Immediately after writing my article called Dear One Star Reviewer, I got trolled on Twitter. That wasn't enough. The bully searched my book on Goodreads and invited all her friends to leave me a one star review as a reaction to the article. She even claimed she read two chapters of my book through Kindle Unlimited (as you know, you can see exactly how many pages were read and where from via KU and none were read during those days, therefore rendering this review a complete lie).

What was shocking for me to discover was that these trolls are actually mothers with grown kids. Capable adults. I was speechless.


message 32: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 967 comments Mod
Don't engage with them or any reviewers, good or bad. Many of us learned it the hard way. I promise you, if you publish a bunch of books, they will eventually become nothing more than a bad memory.


message 33: by Ariella (new)

Ariella Talix (AriellaTalix) | 9 comments Trust me. I never planned to engage. That didn't stop me from fantasizing about creating a fake account and doing it under a false name though! ;). Still I know better.


message 34: by Ariella (new)

Ariella Talix (AriellaTalix) | 9 comments That's awful about the stalker, liar, bully! How do people look at themselves in the mirror after that kind of behavior?


message 35: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit | 48 comments Carole wrote: "Don't engage with them or any reviewers, good or bad. Many of us learned it the hard way. I promise you, if you publish a bunch of books, they will eventually become nothing more than a bad memory."

Thank you! I value your advice immensely and I haven't engaged. Happily working on my second book, fingers crossed :)


message 36: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 290 comments Ariella wrote: "That's awful about the stalker, liar, bully! How do people look at themselves in the mirror after that kind of behavior?"

There's an episode of iZombie on Netflix where such a person gets their comeuppance.


message 37: by Canada (new)

Canada Jackson (CanadaJackson) | 1 comments So glad I read this thread. My first review ever as a new author was just horrible. I was heartbroken. Mostly about formatting (which I fixed afterwards) but I guess some people will never understand how as authors we put our heart and soul into our writing and it physically hurts when people are deliberately cruel :-(


message 38: by Ariella (new)

Ariella Talix (AriellaTalix) | 9 comments Canada wrote: "So glad I read this thread. My first review ever as a new author was just horrible. I was heartbroken. Mostly about formatting (which I fixed afterwards) but I guess some people will never understa..."

I also have to look at a review that complained about not knowing which character was speaking, and it turned out to be a formatting problem that was caused by Draft2Digital. I don't use them anymore and cleaned up the original book, but it's still there for all the world to see. :( Live and learn. Sorry you had that experience, Canada.


message 39: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 967 comments Mod
Sometimes even though the comments may hurt if it’s constructive criticism it will help


message 40: by Ariella (new)

Ariella Talix (AriellaTalix) | 9 comments Wow. It happened to me again. As soon as my newest ARC appeared on NetGalley yesterday, some troll decided to pan it without reading more than the prologue and skimming a bit more. Then she posted long, out of context excerpts and connected them to disgusting animated gifs. She is entitled to her opinion, but not to violate my copyright! It's a rather long book, and there's no way she read it in that amount of time. Then within minutes, she had over 20 likes for her "review." Something is very fishy. I wonder if I stole her boyfriend in the second grade or something!

Seriously, I did learn that if we as authors do have some recourse when this happens. I discovered she has a long history of leaving one-star reviews, and I assume the others are just as nasty as what she wrote about my book. She has now been banned from reviewing any more books that Book Review Buzz promotes on NetGalley. So there is at least that. I'm doing what I can to have the review removed because of the copyright infringement and the distasteful gifs, but I'm not holding my breath.

The saddest part is that the underlying message of the book that she completely missed is to be NICE to other people.


message 41: by C. (last edited Mar 31, 2019 12:23AM) (new)

C. Gold | 60 comments I didn't see any animated gifs. The review looked like the person really didn't like the book and quoted passages to support their assertion. Unless I'm not seeing the correct 1 star?

The fact that she regularly 1-stars things is disturbing. Why would someone keep picking books they don't like to read?


message 42: by Ariella (last edited Mar 31, 2019 07:26AM) (new)

Ariella Talix (AriellaTalix) | 9 comments Two things. Apparently, you didn't scroll down to see the whole thing because the gifs are still there. And she doesn't have permission to quote from the unpolished ARC at all.

My guess is that she's a troll. And all of her followers like her idea of "humor."


message 43: by C. (new)

C. Gold | 60 comments I'm just a reader on NetGalley and browsing your book without having requested it which might be why I don't see any gifs. I hope you can get the review removed.


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