Dealing with Bad Reviews

Recently, Michelle over at Indie Paranormal Book Reviews asked me to write a guest piece on dealing with bad reviews. The fact that I’ve written on the subject a number of times here prompted her to ask. I did so and it has recently gone live. Read the full text here. There are two things I’d like to add to that discussion. First, Michelle’s reaction and, second, a short, petty, aside.

Michelle sent me an email about the possibility of a guest post and I probably responded within a few hours (maybe 12 at the most). I told her I’d think about it and try to work on something that night (I just assume everyone is in the US so that would mean the morning for her). I wrote something up, proofed it a few times, had my wife proof it, and sent it off. Michelle responded, “Wow, you’re fast!”

Aside from the fact that a guy rarely wants to hear that from a lady, I found the statement puzzling.

The truth is I hear that a lot. People ask me to write something or suggest a topic or just ask an AV related question and, if I’m inspired, I respond. Usually quickly. Not because I’m Type-A or anything but because that’s just how I operate. If I don’t respond or work on something I usually have too much other stuff to do and it gets pushed aside. So Michelle asks, I think about it and find myself inspired, and I write it up. I think, perhaps, that most writers (like most artists) don’t work that way. You usually, I think, have to poke and prod and beg and threaten and cajole and plead and bribe and more to get them to do anything. I’ve had that experience with writers on Audioholics (which is why they don’t have articles on the website anymore) but I always assumed that I had bad luck with these writers. Perhaps I’m the weird one.

Second, a petty aside. I had a paragraph (I should have saved it) that talked about putting specific words in your comments that meant something only to you when you respond to a bad review. Words that sound okay but, at least in your mind, have a different, negative meaning. So you get a bad review from someone you felt didn’t really read the whole book and you could say, “Thank you for your thorough review.” To them you’re simply being polite but you could assign an opposite meaning to the word ‘thorough’. Sure, it is petty but if it makes you feel better, what’s the harm? If you have fans enough that can figure out your code, you might run into trouble later on. But, honestly, if you have that many fans, you probably stopped reading reviews long ago.