It’s gonna happen. Just steel yourself now and be prepared for it. Cause if you’re self-publishing, it’s coming.
The Negative Review.
I’ve got three items up for sale on Amazon. One is a short story, and two are parts one and two of a serial novel. I’m gonna have part three up there in about a week, and I know pretty much what to expect in the way of reviews.
Here’s what’s interesting (well, to me): I actually don’t care too terribly much if people don’t like what I write. Art is a subjective thing and each person’s taste is unique. What I like is not what you’ll like and what she likes is not what he’ll like and neither will like what I like and…you get the point. So when someone reads my stuff and basically goes “meh”, well, who am I to say their opinion is wrong.
Some of the reviews are actually helpful. One reviewer was thrown by my modern re-telling of the original Little Red Riding Hood story. You know, the version where Red meets the Wolf, and there’s no Woodsman to save the day. The reviewer missed the word “Scary” in the subtitle. Had they not, they might have thought twice about purchasing.
This is fair. This makes me wonder if I failed to market the story properly. It forces me to go back to the story and think about what I could do differently next time to make the idea of story more clear to perspective buyers.
Some reviews are worthless. And I don’t mean that derisively. I mean they give zero feedback about why they felt the way they did. One reviewer described my short story as a “total waste of time”, but have no feedback as to why, other than saying “not creative”. What am I supposed to do with this? Nothing, that’s what. These you just have to ignore.
My primary concern about negative reviews is that it can potentially turn away readers who might otherwise enjoy the book. If you’re browsing through titles and something has an aggregated total review of “ho-hum”, you’d probably be inclined to skip it.
So what can be done about negative reviews? I’m honestly not sure. Perhaps time will reveal the answer to me.