It happens. It is – in fact – almost guaranteed to happen. If you’ve written more than a handful of books and it hasn’t happened yet, it will – probably soon. What am I talking about? The dreaded one-star review. Just writing the words makes me angry and hurts my teeth (probably because I automatically start grinding them).
I don’t need to tell you not to engage with negative reviewers. We all know that nothing good will come from begging a reviewer to reconsider (and it’s kind of pathetic). You also risk getting a bad reputation amongst the blogger community and let me tell you that’s not something you want. The book blogging community is incredibly helpful to a writer. Getting on their bad side will help no one.
But what about a review that contains obvious falsehoods or is obvious bullying? Can you engage then? Or maybe contact Goodreads or Amazon to deal with the issue? This is painful, but the truth of the matter is this: there’s nothing you can do. Let me re-phrase that – there’s nothing you can do that will get that review deleted. (This is my personal experience, if someone has had a different experience, please let me know!)
Let’s start with obvious falsehoods and Amazon. I received a one-star review for my bundle The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives. Naturally, that can happen. Readers are allowed to absolutely hate my novels no matter how much pain that causes me. But this review – titled Smut on Parade – was even more painful because it was full of lies! The reviewer claims there is a sexual act in the first paragraph (the first paragraph is a diatribe about women over forty getting chin hair). The reviewer even claims the price of the book cost 20% more than it actually does (twenty percent doesn’t sound like much but I put a lot of thought into how I price my books).
Obviously, this reviewer was bullying me was my thought. I immediately contacted Amazon and asked that they remove the review due to misrepresentations in the review. After all, there is that little box with ‘report abuse’ on it! They didn’t even bother to get back to me. There’s no way in hell I’m contacting the reviewer myself. So, what’s left to do? Well, not much. The only thing I have done is vote her review unhelpful. Go me! That’ll show her.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only one-star review I’ve received. On Goodreads, I have a ‘follower’ who gives all my books one star. Even books that have not yet been released! When she one-starred a book not yet released, I thought “A-ha! I’ve got you now”. Goodreads didn’t agree. They did respond to my email, but the response was not what I expected (let alone what I hoped for). They told me that they do not review the content of reviews as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But the book wasn’t released yet! No matter.
If you were hoping to find some magically solution to dealing with one-star reviews in this blog article, I’m sorry to have disappointed. As I’ve pointed out above, there’s pretty much nothing you can do about these reviews – even when they have obviously nothing to do with your book. The only thing I can say that may take away just a little of the pain is this – You are not alone. Even the greats receive one-star reviews.