There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ book review. There’s such a thing as a negative one, sure, and it’s perfectly possible to find badly written book reviews, or unnecessarily personal ones (don’t worry, your readers have a brain just like you). But for an author, any review is better than no review at all. The question ‘How do I get people to review my book?’ is one that haunts new authors. My book ‘Getting the Buggers to Behave‘ has been in print for 15 years. Over those years, it has picked up lots of print reviews, and 65 Amazon ones. Some are glowing (thank you!), others are tepid (oh dear), and some are downright lousy (ouch). But as a writer, I cannot control what my readers make of my book. I do not have the right to control what my readers make of my book. I can only write it, and send it off into the world, where it may well get a bloody nose or two.
If you hang around on writing forums (as I sometimes do) you will quickly stumble upon the solid gold advice that you should never respond to reviews. Yes, I know it’s your baby, but it is not your job to tell your readers what they should think about your book. Do not underestimate your reader reviewers or dismiss them out of hand. When you get negative comments, take them under consideration: they may have hit on something about your book that could be better, which is always a good plan. Store them in the back of your mind for when you write the next edition. Do not let positive reviews go to your head – ‘Don’t get too up yourself,’ as my other half usefully reminds me from time to time. Just because you wrote a book does not mean you are special or different. You are just someone who happened to write a book. Negative reviews, glowing reviews, they all come with the territory when you’re a writer. Suck it up or suck it down, and then get on with writing the next one.