I admit it. I was the kid in class that reminded teacher that he or she had forgotten we were supposed to have a quiz that day. This made me wildly unpopular. It was just part of who I was/am.
Besides, my main motivation was to get those wonderful little “A”s sketched across the top of my page of loose leaf. If I were to look at them now, I’d recognize them as the scrawl of an exhausted teacher and ultimately useless. But at the time, those precious “A”s looked like tiny Rembrandts, my personal masterpiece and evidence that someone approved of something I had done.
So I find myself reminded of those times when it comes to the reviews of my book on Amazon. There are even stars, just like 4th grade. A means of arbitrary categorization. It’s very cool to get 5 stars, mind you. It means someone had a great time reading your story. A very flattering experience. For a while, I was getting a mess of those.
Then it happened, as it was bound to, a two star rating with a review that was a little on the vicious side. Contextually, I saw this two star review just as I was still internally snoopy-dancing about the fact that Allies and Enemies: Fallen had received the top 50 for military scifi onAmazon. (Totally cool seeing my book cover on the same screen as some of the “rock gods” of the same genre.) So, to see this was a bit of a let down.
But it begs the question: Do I address it? Ignore it? How do other authors deal with negative reviews? I’ve become a big fan of Lindsay Buroker, having encountered her steampunk books. She’s got some nice advice about dealing with this:
Ultimately, I choose to have faith in the readers out there browsing for a new adventure. They’re intelligent folks that can make their own decisions, weighing the good against the bad. I accept the fact I can’t change everyone’s mind and it reminds me that with each word or agonized-over passage I grow as a writer.