Congratulations! You’ve made it through the long, difficult process of self-publishing. You’ve written and revised your book, gotten beta readers, an editor, a proofreader, a cover designer, and a layout person. You’ve navigated the world of social media, and you’ve created a marketing plan. In short, you’ve done a big, scary, amazing thing, and people all over the country (and maybe even the world) are now buying your book.
If you’re lucky, your readers will belong to sites like goodreads, where they can recommend and write reviews of books. Or maybe they just want to share their opinion on Amazon or another online book seller. If a review of your book is positive, it can help bolster your sales, and more people will be willing to take the plunge and purchase it too!
But there’s one thing to remember once word starts to spread about your book, no matter how good that book is, you will get bad reviews.
Some of those reviews will be constructive, and might help you with your next project, but some bad reviews are the result of the dreaded internet troll, who just likes to stir up controversy and to make people angry.
When faced with a trolling bad review, it’s tempting to defend yourself, or try and get that review taken down. When you get a bit of constructive criticism, it’s tempting to respond and say thank you or explain your writing choices.
But don’t do any of these things.
Bad reviews aren’t as damning as you might think: they work to legitimize your good reviews, and most savvy internet users are able to sniff out a troll from a mile away, so they won’t give much credence to those reviews.
Even though your book is your baby, defending it might make you appear unlikable and ungrateful. Explaining why you wrote something a particular way could come across as argumentative. Even something as simple as a “thank you” to a critical review opens you up to a public conversation that might paint you in a negative light.
So what should you do when you get a bad review? Nothing.
Be above it. Pretend it doesn’t hurt for someone to dislike your work. Shake it off and write something better. Tuck it away in your mind as a reason to keep writing, to keep improving. Make bad reviews a source of motivation to get more good ones. You’ll get there soon enough.