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Has anyone experienced receiving a really negative review of their book? A scathing review, actually that seemed more like an attack on my life and the decisions I made, rather than the writing. How did you handle it? Many thanks for advice on this. I'm a newbie--this is my first published book and this review devastated me.

Karen Walker

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Replies to This Discussion


That's a rotten shame. I mean it. Some reviewers seem to get joy out of trampling on other people's dreams. First, have a good sulk. Then take a serious look at the review. List each point and craft a response to it. This will help you work through the angst.

I've found that writing is a great deal like teaching. One has to develop a thick skin quickly in order to survive. It still hurts but you have to push on. Your writing is literally your brainchild - the child of your brain- so it's almost impossible not to take it personally.

When you're ready, write to the reviewer and thank her/him for taking the time to review your book. This may seem difficult now, but an enemy today can become an ally tomorrow.

In the meantime, do some active foraging for other reviewers who will be more sympathetic to you. Get those posted and drown the negative one in sheer numbers.

Buck up. You will survive.

Thank you so much for your response. I have a thick skin when it comes to my writing - I could have handled an attack on that -- but this review felt like a personal attack on my life, my choices, etc. I know I still have to let it go and not focus on it. I'm working on that! Thanks again for the support.
Having been on both sides of the fence--author and publisher--I've seen this kind of review. My best advice: keep focused on the root reason why you wrote the book in the first place. Next best: don't dwell on the negative review. It is just one person's opinion, and that person has not "walked a mile in your shoes."

You're the only person who could write the book you wrote. Give yourself credit for the accomplishment. Until someone has endured the journey of writing a book, they can't know the blood, sweat and tears that goes into making that happen.

Nadene Carter
Editorial Director
Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm working on it!
I have to wonder if something in your story reminded that reviewer of an unresolved issue in his/her life. If that's the case -- your book is effective!
I read your first chapter, which I think is well written and compelling. Plus, your book cover is gorgeous. Be proud!
Hi Sammie,
thanks so much for your kind words. I very much appreciate that you checked out my website and read some of my work. I am proud of this memoir. It represents a lifetime of healing work and 10 years of honing the writing to get it as good as I could possibly get it. These social networking sites are proving to be invaluable.
Yeah, I have received a few of them, probably because the book was entitled "The Easiest Way to Meet and Pick Up Girls--EVER!!" I got reviews that made fun of my physical appearance, and some that questioned my sexuality, my ability to get a date, and so on. There is a lot of hate in the world, and people need a place to vent. Fortunately for me, these completely inane remarks were posted on Amazon, and I was able to phrase an extremely eloquent argument as to why they should be removed (hint: use your best collegiate grammar, state strong points based on how these comments are abusive, hurt Amazon sales, and do not contribute to a thorough analysis of your book). Amazon is extremely responsive to well stated arguments, and generally likes their authors. As to other locations, I am not sure what the process would be for having a hate-filled message removed. But do know that there ARE angry stupid people out there--don't think for a moment that everyone on this planet is all sunshine and rainbows--and some of them have figured out how to type.
Thanks for sharing your story. Very helpful to know there is recourse if this appears on amazon. Right now it's just on this person's blog. I have no idea how much visibility it gets, so I'm not going to worry about it. Thanks, again. It's nice to know I'm not alone out here!
Hi Karen,

When I attended a conference with Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box) last year he said if you're not getting people telling you they hate your work, then you're not reaching enough people! So congratulations on getting noticed and getting a response. If this review is so negative, at least some of those who read it will want to check out your information to see if they agree, which they probably won't.

It doesn't mean you have to enjoy being personally attacked, but might make it easier not to dwell on it.

All best wishes,


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