Four Things To Do With Negative Reviews (And One Thing Not To Do)

Allison has a lot of good advice about negative book reviews in her blog post, but I feel there’s more to be said as one who reviews books for NetGalley and others.

I have never given a single star to any book I’ve read. My review history tends to be on the opposite spectrum of five-star reviews. I say tends because I have read two books that did not get a five-star review from me. One book I decided not to review because I did not want to write a poor review, so I decided not reviewing would be more beneficial to the author than reviewing. I contacted the author and explained to her why I was not going to write a review and told her I wanted to see her succeed as an author. I gave her some recommendations and offered to write her a review if she provided me with an edited revision. I also received an email from her publisher who told me they had made a few changes to the book. Unfortunately, the book was no longer on my NetGalley bookshelf as I had notified NetGalley I was not going to write a review on this particular book. I hope when this book goes to publishing that it does well and the author meets with success.

The second book I read that fell below my five-star far-right spectrum; I gave three and a half stars in my review. My review was fair, and the review was not harmful, nor did I berate the author; I lifted her up as the talented writer she is, and she is a genuinely gifted writer that we will see a lot from in the future. I am confident of this and said as much in my review. The novel I reviewed is her first novel, and she will grow. As much as I enjoyed the book, I could not overlook the obvious that was apparent to me as an English major but may have gone unnoticed by a reader without an English degree. I struggled with this one because the author is talented, but I would not have done her justice by giving her five stars.

Why do I care? I care for four reasons. I am an English major; I am a writer working on a manuscript between reading and reviewing books; I don’t want to be a half-assed reviewer, and I select books to read that I want to be winners. I find it wrong and unfair to any author that has put their all into writing a book, which entails more than merely sitting down to write. I cannot think of a book that did not require endless hours of research before beginning the writing process and if as a reviewer, you know anything about the writing process I would think more about giving an author’s book one star and stating what you did not like. That’s not fair to the author, and you cannot call this type of criticism a book review.

I will also add that as a book reviewer, I more often than not receive a book that has yet to make it through its first round of editing. As a reader and reviewer, this is frustrating to me because I find myself editing as I read the book which is distracting from the story. Many writers with an English degree will admit to doing the same while reading a book; it’s an occupational hazard.

#readers #bookreviewers #bookblogs #bloggers #authors #writers #writerscommunity

Allison Maruska

Pop quiz time.

What do the following things have in common?

  1. Traffic jams
  2. Fish in the ocean
  3. The full moon appearing every month
  4. Negative book reviews

If you answered they are all certain to happen, then you pass!

rating-24185_1280Every book gets negative reviews. The Hunger Games, a book I absolutely love, has 443 1-star reviews. No matter how good your book is, eventually, you will get negative reviews. So since we can’t avoid them, we should have a strategy for what to do when they appear on our product pages, else we collapse into a blubbering heap or decide to quit writing and join the carnival. Sure, the endless access to funnel cakes would be awesome, but your family would miss you.

Below are four actions I’ve gathered from personal experience, talking with author friends/reading similar posts, and research. I hope that by the end, you’ll be able to read…

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Feel Like Giving Up? Read this.

Whether you will admit it or not, there are some of you who question yourself when it comes to blogging. You battle with the same issues or excuses as Cristian Mihai addresses in his blog. I know, I’ve been there myself, but I took a step back and thought about what it was I wanted and I asked myself why I needed to blog to get what I wanted. That was all it took for me to “do the hokey pokey and turn myself around.” Pardon the cliché, but it’s what I did. Minus the hokey pokey, I turned myself around.

I am currently an unpublished writer because I spent twenty-eight years serving my country, but I began writing from the time I could hold a crayon, and I knew one day I would be a published author. I still believe this. However, most professionals will tell you to build a following on social media long before you publish a novel. Yes, there’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., but I believed I needed more than what these platforms could offer me, so I thought, “I’ll blog!” I jumped before thinking and started my blog, so don’t feel alone if you did as I did. I felt as if I failed and all the other feelings that Cristian talks about on his blog.

After I stepped back and considered what I wanted to blog while building a following, I said to myself, “Hey I’m an English major, and that has to count for something” so I decided to become a NetGalley Professional Book Reviewer. Becoming a book reviewer was a win-win for me. Everyone knows the better writers are the well-read writers, so I felt I had the opportunity to discover what works and what does not work as a writer. Yes, it all becomes overwhelming at times keeping up with Twitter, Facebook, reading and writing my book reviews while still finding time to work on my manuscripts. It’s perseverance that keeps me going. I picked that up during the twenty-eight years I served my country.

I am nowhere close to where I want to be, but I am progressing because I did not give up or quit. My perseverance personality would not allow me to give up, and I will continue to stick it out as I learn along the way. And oh, by the way, there’s always something new to learn. I don’t think about competition, or the number of followers I have because I know they will come in time.

The Art of Blogging

I launched my first blog in January 2011. I had released my first self-published novel on Amazon. I was very excited, and I was sure that I’d soon conquer the world…

I quit after three posts, no views, no comments, no nothing.

Five days into my career as a blogger, I grew bitter and remorseful, felt invisible, decided it was all for nothing, and quit.

This disappointment was so strong that I did not give blogging another try for a solid year. And then, it happened again: I spend the first month posting on a daily basis only to get around 500 views total, and almost no comments at all. Something like 30-40 followers.

This makes you ask yourself questions. You try to find reasons. Your mind plays tricks on you, the same way it would if you would find yourself stranded on a deserted island.

Maybe you are just…

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Book Review: The Best Bad Things: A Novel by Katrina Carrasco​

The Best Bad Things: A Novel by Katrina Carrasco Farrar, Straus, and Giroux MCD Historical Fiction Pub Date 06 Nov 2018 As a #NetGalley reader and reviewer I read the description of The Best Bad Things on NetGalley, which was the same description on Macmillan Publisher's page for The Best Bad Things. “A brazen, brawny, … Continue reading Book Review: The Best Bad Things: A Novel by Katrina Carrasco​

Remembering Our Loved Ones After They Leave This World & Sharing John Pavlovitz’ Blog Post on When We Forget They’re Dead

July is an emotionally charged month for me to navigate and I suspect it will remain so for as long as I live. It's an excessively long month due to the many loved ones who have  passed during the month of July. I lost an Aunt on July 18, 2014, who was so much more than … Continue reading Remembering Our Loved Ones After They Leave This World & Sharing John Pavlovitz’ Blog Post on When We Forget They’re Dead

Book Review: How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO: 25 Tested Tips Writers Need to Know Now & An Into to The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge

If you are a blogger and after reading SEO from the book cover you stopped, scratched your head, looked around to make sure no one was around and asked yourself aloud, "What the hell is SEO?" Then you need to click on the following title and purchase a copy of Rachel Thompson's How to Best … Continue reading Book Review: How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO: 25 Tested Tips Writers Need to Know Now & An Into to The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge

A Glimpse into the Next Four Fascinating Book Reviews to be Previewed Here

Ernest Hemingway: Artifacts From a Life by Michael Katakis Publisher: Scribner of Simon and Schuster Biographies & Memoirs - Publication Date: 23 Oct 2018 Publisher’s Book Description: “Beautifully designed, intimate and illuminating, this is the story of American icon Ernest Hemingway's life through the documents, photographs, and miscellany he kept, compiled by the steward of the … Continue reading A Glimpse into the Next Four Fascinating Book Reviews to be Previewed Here

Book Review: How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO: 25 Tested Tips Writers Need to Know Now

If you are a blogger and after reading SEO from the featured book title you stopped, scratched your head, looked around to make sure no one was around and asked yourself aloud, "What the hell is SEO?" Then you need to click on the following title and purchase a copy of Rachel Thompson's How to … Continue reading Book Review: How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO: 25 Tested Tips Writers Need to Know Now

Book Review: No Dancing, No Dancing: Inside the Global Humanitarian Crisis

No Dancing, No Dancing: Inside the Global Humanitarian Crisis is a Biography/Autobiography written by author Denis Dragovic, a former humanitarian aid worker from 2000 to 2010 with CHF International, a US-based humanitarian organization now known as Global Communities. Dragovic's book is based on his return visits to Iraq, South Sudan, and East Timor a decade … Continue reading Book Review: No Dancing, No Dancing: Inside the Global Humanitarian Crisis