4 thoughts on “The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Book Review…

  1. Hello Laura,

    You know, I have had to face these people before as well. You find them everywhere. The trouble is that you can never really evade them.

    That’s why I see the desire in confronting them. Do research on their background and determine their qualifications for book reviews. This way you know where they stand and feel confident as to the legitimacy of their views.

    Still, when it comes right down to it, they do have a point-of-view and they are going to express it whether you like it or not, even if they are merely trolls. I hate being the harbinger of bad news, and I am not siding with these… Well, I am a professional and a gentleman, so I won’t say, LOL. The point is: I came to realize a long time ago that negativity–even incoherent and erratic negativity–is inevitable.

    You can do your background checks, determine the reviewer’s qualifications, even argue with said person until you are blue in the face, but, when it comes right down to it, none of these efforts will make a difference. Why? In the end, the person doing the reviewing has an opinion and that person has a right to express that opinion.

    You might have ONE option online: If you have a tight relationship with webmasters at the sites where certain ‘horrible, no good, very bad’ book reviews are posted, you might possibly get the eyesores removed from public view. The webmaster can always devise an excus–I mean, a reason–for eliminating them, but that’s the extent of it.

    Then again, you can always go public with the reviewer’s [lack of] credentials and , in turn,discredit that person. That might work. Truth be told, however, such an attempt will likely make you appear petty–unless loads of other commentators come back and criticize the reviewer as well. That is possible, but not guaranteed. The strategy here, though, is timing: Wait until the commentators have already posted their condemnations of the reviewer, and THEN go public with your findings.

    The only sure-fire way you might get the reviewer is if that person defamed you in the review, in which case you could take said reviewer to court (that is, IF you could identify and locate said reviewer. Online, that’s not always possible).

    In the end, though, that won’t change the fact that the reviewer had an opinion, and no amount of contesting or protesting will change that.

    Does that mean that these individuals win the battle?

    Only if you fight back.

    The best way to win is to let it go and disregard it. Sounds easier said than done, I know, but that’s all you can really do in the long run. Why? As said: the reviewer has an opinion and the reviewer has a right to express that opinion.

    So much for freedom of speech, LOL.

    Sorry. I realize that isn’t funny.

    You do recall the saying about opinions, don’t you?… That should, at least, make you feel better about it. 😉

    Take care.

    1. Hi, Mark!

      I have no issue with differing opinions, certainly not. And I’m not really down about it or anything. As I said, I’m pretty immune to negativity, I’ve encountered it for years. I suppose it’s just the presentation I get irritated with. I know I’m not the only one, I had one author friend discuss a reviewer and she had no idea where they got the information for their review. They said things about characters that weren’t in her story. Likewise, a British author, who’s story was in England with English characters, got a complaint because her work was “too British.”

      No, I’m not suggesting legal prosecution or anything, simply stating that writers should have the ability, with sellers, to point out reviews that aren’t accurate and don’t provide helpful information. Readers like that apparently make assumptions, despite the ability to evaluate everything before purchase, and then charge the author with things like misleading them, when they honestly didn’t. Perhaps not even delete the reviews, just maybe ask other readers for validation on dubious reviews.

      I remember when “bad reviews,” were amazing. They would point out mistakes not even major publishers caught. Perhaps that’s why I’m a bit biased against those so often found today. It’s one thing to not like a story and complain about it. It’s another to just fabricate something about someone else’s work and promote it as the truth. It would a lot like complaining over the character Madeline in Gone with the Wind, when there was no Madeline in Gone with the Wind.

      Well, thanks again!

  2. Ho Laura,

    You bring up some very good points here. Reviews based on inaccurate or lack of appropriate information are certainly enigmas. We can’t help but wonder where they come from, and, yes, we, as writers SHOULD be concerned about them and do whatever we can to rectify them. I like your idea regarding readers to chime in to discuss the issues, if not only to correct the initial reviewer’s mistakes than to spur discussions about the work in question. Doing so will bring out the content so that others (even those who haven’t yet read the work) become aware of it. This is even one way to generate further sales, but that strays from the point of the post, however.

    Also, your response to a dubious review will help with clarifications. Such responses aren’t being defensive, just a matter of setting records straight.

    Then again, many writers compose their own descriptive reviews immediately following the release of their work so as to offer insight on the premise, the story and its characters (should the work be one of fiction) right away. This way, any misinformed reviews that will eventually emerge appear insubstantial and weak, and then you can challenge it publicly without fear of seeming defensive or petty.

    As for me, no review is really worth anything unless it can get readers to think about the work, or to provide helpful insight to the writer. THESE serve as the purposes of any review. “It was good/bad” alone doesn’t hold any value whatsoever.

    By the way, thanks for clarifying the overall point of the post for me. Now I can offer helpful responses. 😉


    1. Hello!

      Sorry, if I didn’t clarify that in my original post. That’s why I kept mentioning the reviewer implying that the author or publisher misled them, when they didn’t. I may go back and try to clarify that. I’ve came across many on other books like that. A reader is not forced to make assumptions about any book, and that’s what it boils down to. And it’s kind of silly in this day and age when you can read 20% or 30% of the book, before you even buy it, to make sure you’re interested.

      Although, a lot of them come across akin to someone who purchased a lawn mower, but claim to have expected a swing set. They’re just out there. And if an author ever questions or simply wants to ask “why,” it’s some sort of cardinal sin in literature. Or so it seems.

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