My first one-star review – I guess it had to happen sooner or later

This one popped up on Goodreads – thank god it’s not on Amazon, which would potentially mean fewer sales…I’m feeling pretty philosophical about it – I guess you can’t expect everyone to love a book, any book, it’s a matter of personal preference. Wish I could make sense of it, though – the main complaint from someone who loves screwball comedy seems to be that it’s “improbable” and has “too many screwballs”. The most disappointing thing is actually that I can’t use this particular critique to improve my writing. Anywho, I’m off to enjoy life πŸ™‚

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155 Comments

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155 responses to “My first one-star review – I guess it had to happen sooner or later

  1. You’ve got the right attitude. I know my day will come when a scathing review will show up and I know it’s going to sting.
    People have a right to not like a book, but we have a right not to like their poorly written reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s always good to get it out of the way. Strangely, my first one star too was of little help. It seems higher reviewers always give better critiques, narrowing down the exact conflict they had. One stars just like to dump on things. Sad.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Ouch. That’s a tough read. And you’re right. Think of how many crap books you’ve read or films you’ve watched. They’ve all been ‘good’ enough to get agents, find a publisher, find a book-store or agent, producer, distributor etc. I thought 50 Shades of Grey was abysmal, but millions didn’t. When we put our work out there, we’re inviting feedback, good and bad. Toughens you up apparently! Hope it doesn’t affect you too much. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As a writer and a reader, I hate reviews that start: I really wanted to like this book. I usually stop reading right there! Obviously if the book isn’t what You expected, it’s Your problem, not the author’s. How we feel about a book is so subjective, no matter how ‘professional’ or ‘neutral’ you try to be. The same joke sounds funny to some and not to others; we see that happenning all the time, don’t we? Comedy is totally subjective! She obviously doesn’t share your sense of humour, so what?
    I also think she’s unneccessarily nasty towards the end, which reflects on the type of person She is; it says nothing about the writer you are.
    I have a few of them, too. Even Stephen King and Charles Dickens have! A reviewer wrote about A Christmas Carol ‘Hated it! Had to delete it!’ It reflects on her own ignorance.
    Bad reviews aren’t so bad. They give credibility to the other reviews (ironically) because you can’t please everyone, and if you do, it sounds fake.
    Don’t loose any sleep over it, we all get them, and you’ll get more. As for sales, the negative reviews didn’t seem to affect sales of 50Shades, did they?
    Keep writing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Luccia! I’m just so surprised and grateful at the number of people who “get” it, that this one review doesn’t matter much. Stephen King often wrote to Perfect Reader, and I now know what he meant – I’m writing now and will keep on writing for my Perfect Readers πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome to the literary world where despite your best efforts, inevitably someone will hate what you write. Be thankful that’s its only your first. As word spreads among people like that, sadly you will get more. If you want my advice, concentrate on your writing and leave the reading of reviews to the reading public. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The dreaded one star, eww. I’m with Annie on this one, millions of people have liked books that have done nothing for me. I think you already found the learning experience in this one; you just can’t please everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ana, the proverbial happens. My debut novel (I like the word “debut” because it wasn’t the first novel I’d written, but was the first I was set on getting published) was accepted by HarperCollins, but released only in Australia and NZ. It just missed out on a UK release. Not surprising – a lot of it would have been lost on an international audience. It got some glowing literary reviews, but I see it has only 2 stars and no reviews on Goodreads. This is my fault. I hate promoting my own work. I’m a member of a generation that was brought up to believe self-promotion was a No-no. I’m working on getting past that.

    But one drab review isn’t worth anything. Don’t let it get you down.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. hananon90

    I really salute you for sharing this here. Only a brave and humble person would do that. And don’t worry, every book out there has at least one bad review, it was bound to happen sometime. People will still buy and like the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I also would like to support others who get these bad reviews – in reading blogs, I’ve come across a number of posts by authors who were gutted by bad reviews. I’d like to offer an alternative view, which can be summed up in a shoulder shrug and “eh” πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. They say that any type of press is good press? Easy for β€˜they’ to say but when you do get negative feedback it can feel like a sucker punch in the gut. You seemed to have recovered nicely and by letting everyone know what happened, that’s part of the recovery!
    As for comedy, it’s been said before. Not everyone is going to like your style. That’s okay. Keep writing for the people that do, and maybe you’ll get the people that don’t appreciate your brand of humor to come around when you’re fantastically rich and famous!
    If not, FLUFF’em if they can’t take a joke!!! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mariska! I’m actually speechless that so many people seem to love the book – my real life friends mostly did not get it (except for my sister, but we are very similar). By casting the net far and wide, I seem to have caught a number of fans, so I’m incredibly thankful for that πŸ™‚

      Like

  10. Reviews are meaningless. Surely, they affect sales and may affect one’s ego, but they have very little to do with quality. Thanks to/because of the internet, a large number of reviews is either positive by friends, or negative out of spite or personal beef, but almost all of them, widely unverified. Your book is either good or it ain’t, either likable or it isn’t (which isn’t at all the same thing). By the way, what’s it about? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, it’s a screwball comedy πŸ™‚ I do believe reviews are important – people do look at them when deciding what to buy. Human nature – they want social proof before taking a $0.99 risk!

      Like

      • Like I said, they affect sales, not quality. Let me tell you an interesting story. There’s a restaurant in Italy, very famous, I won’t cite the name for privacy. It is always fully booked and professional critics constantly rate it as one of the best in the world. It’s only got a 3-star average on TripAdvisor. Wanna know why? The owners adamantly refuse to vary their recipes, but of course the people on the internet and food bloggers think they know better than a Michelin starred chefs… πŸ˜‰ #nuffsaid

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! I want sales, bookings, and publicity, so in this case the reviewer did me a favor by adding another review onto the pile πŸ™‚

        Like

      • BTW, I’ve taken that 0.99 risk, today from Italy, check Amazon kdp πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • I saw that! Thank you πŸ™‚ Let me know what you think πŸ™‚

        Like

  11. I know an author with many reviews and a large number of 1 star reviews among them (many more good one, but not just 1 or 2 bad ones) and says she’s sold many more books since she got the bad reviews. Some people will always wonder why the difference in opinion and also wonder if any book could possibly be that bad…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sweet! Thank you for this bit of silver lining, Olga – in a weird way, it does make sense. Someone may read the review and think that this book is outrageous (which it is) and want to give it a go.

      Like

  12. The very first writer I knew from our writers’ circle who self-published on Amazon Kindle warned us all that the reviewers who give you one and two star reviews are generally reading outside of their normal genre. I think it’s great that people are willing to pick up a book that isn’t their usual fare, but if they don’t like it, why blame the author? Why even write a review when they are so clearly out of their depth?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan – I’m not sure, other than to say that I’ve met people in real life who seem to enjoy dissing out punishment. The latest was the little guy in Melbourne airport – he seemed to take too much pleasure in herding people toward passport control, including yelling at one woman to get off the phone. I’ve personally never given a bad review to a book I could not finish – I just moved on…

      Like

  13. Brush it away and keep moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Eh…I think people are unnecessarily rude/unpleasant/ugly online. I read a lot of books, and I write reviews on my blog and for Examiner.com. My personal policy is that if I really didn’t like the book or couldn’t finish it for whatever reason, I won’t review it, but I will try to give some sort of feedback directly to the author. I don’t review it because just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean others won’t, and I’m a writer myself and I know how hurtful non-constructive negative feedback can be. I won’t be a part of destroying someone else’s dream. When I let others read my own writing, the rule is “You can tell me it sucks. That’s fine. As long as you tell me WHY you think it sucks.” You’re right: nothing constructive in this particular bad review.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Tamara – couldn’t agree more. It’s a psychological effect of anonymity – studies have shown people tend to be nastier when “invisible” – one of the explanations of the road rage, where drivers see others not as people, but as faceless cars.

      Like

  15. Not to worry Anna. The really popular writers always say they get all kinds of criticism from people who don`t like their books, even abuse. They say its unavoidable. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue doing what you do so well, believing in your book. Hold that belief and you`ll be rewarded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Gabriel πŸ™‚ part of the game – I had a very weird reaction to it, sort of “oh, here it is”, as if I was waiting for it. I’m strangely content with it πŸ™‚

      Like

  16. Good for you Ana! There are plenty of fantastic successful books that people think suck. Maybe it’s a sign you’re on your way to making it big πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. “off to enjoy life.” Precisely correct response

    Like

  18. exiledprospero

    Don’t get discouraged. Authors tend to dwell on the negatives, glossing over the positives. Does a single negative undo a whole string of positives? I’m not saying that negatives are not important, it’s just that they should remain proportional to the whole.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Annette Rochelle Aben

    I have to say, that often times a rather terse review, especially if there is only one, will peak my curiosity to check out the product. No worries, remember how many successful people were told by their teachers that they had NO talent and went on to become GREAT! You are already GREAT, so you have a leg up! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you so much, Annette πŸ™‚ I don’t know what a definition of great might be in comedy, but I do know that I’ve made quite a few people laugh and ask for more, so I’ll take that πŸ™‚

      Like

  20. Best review ever. /sarcasm off.

    Honestly, while you can’t expect everyone to like a book (I’m familiar with this as well), I don’t think it’s too much to ask to craft a review or an e-mail, if you want to give specific examples and not spoil for others, that gives the author something to work with. This one didn’t… so I give it one star. :p

    Liked by 1 person

  21. cjackwrite81

    It’s all opinion and taste. In “A Movable Feast”, Hemingway criticized Dostoyevsky as being almost unreadable as an author. Just shows that even the best have people who just don’t like their work. Keep writing and entertaining those that do.

    Like

  22. Absolutely love your attitude about this! I haven’t even finished my first book yet, but I am already so worried about people not liking what I’ve created. I can only hope to be as positive as you! I’ve got to learn that you can’t please everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Jealousy, Ana. She liked the cover enough to try it and found time to leave comments that have given you a great lot more attention and another fab blog post – enjoy life, now I want to read your book.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ken

    It appears there is no end to the number of people who want to ‘get something’ from someone’s hard work. The writing business is full of that. Editors and publishers make money with no risk in most cases. Cover designers, media outlets and publicists all are quick to stake a piece of your work.

    Reviewers are like that too. They are safe behind their anonymous profile and keyboard and feel obligated to write about everything they read. After all it’s how the increase their standing on various social media sites. Myself, I wouldn’t dream of writing a review of a book that I didn’t like or perhaps ‘didn’t get’. There are plenty of professional critics doing that to add my unverified comments.

    My last review on good reads, while well written and stinging, left me scratching my head. The person had just recently reviewed an Agatha Christie book. Maybe “Moby Dick” or “Farewell to Arms” was checked out that week. Top that off with the fact that the reader had gotten my book for 99 cents or free, leaves me even more puzzled. Why would someone purposely go out of their way to cause lasting harm to new author’s is beyond me.

    I’d rather they just contact me in any of the dozens of ways available and I’ll gladly send them their money back. Try that with a A-lister.

    Don’t sweat the small stuff Anna. You have plenty of people who love your book. Unfortunately the norm for most people is to enjoy a book and tell their friends about it, not write a review. Goodreads is full of the opposite, people trying to boost their friends list and number of reviews rather than actually give insightful comments about the content. Hang Tough.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Not very nice, but then those who judge reveal more about themselves than those they presume to judge. Besides, her review gives much more credibility to the abundance of four and five star reviews that Shizzle Inc. has received and is destined to receive! Perhaps you ought to thank her… okay, okay, that may be going too far. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I wouldn’t even think about it. The unfortunate thing about the internet is that it’s turned everyone into critics. Some of them are disingenuous, some are misguided. Bottom line is that it’s a statistical business. Go have a nice vacation. I wrote a short story a while back, and a writing professor told me it was great, and that I needed to submit it for publication. One magazine editor I sent it to gave a scathing review and said it didn’t even qualify as a story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dale – I hope you have self-published since? I’ve sent Shizzle, Inc to about 70 agents and publishers and best I got was “it’s funny, but we don’t know if there’s a market for it”. So glad I did not get discouraged and went my own way…

      Like

  27. Elm

    Hey, I really hope it doesn’t affect you too much, because it’s just ONE review, from ONE PERSON. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  28. It’s good that you’re not letting this drag you down πŸ™‚ The review doesn’t make too much sense to me. At least it’s only one, plus there’s always that one person who doesn’t enjoy the book as much as everyone else πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I know that it’s hard, but don’t let it get you down. It sounds as if the majority of your reviews are positive. Even the best authors receive 1-star reviews on Amazon. Just look at Harry Potter or Hunger Games. Those are fantastic books that received 1-star reviews!!!! So, please don’t let this get you down. Keep going……

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Think of it this way… the point of a bad review is to balance the good. As some other commenters have mentioned, you can’t please everyone, so when there are no bad reviews (especially if there is a limited amount), sometimes it can seem as if they are all bought and/or family/friends. A few bad reviews sprinkled throughout means that people you don’t know have in fact read the book! It makes it more real. Depending on the time in a person’s life, what they’re going through, how old they are, what they just had for breakfast, it all plays into how they are going to receive/perceive the book. You have no control over it.

    It still really stings when it happens, though!! : )

    It always makes me feel like I’m worthless for a day or so, and then I remember it’s not me, it’s them. Maybe they’ll like the next one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bryan! That was exactly my attitude, and funny enough, it did not affect my mood at all πŸ™‚ Amazing how a decision to view something in a certain light could affect the way you feel about it – I accepted it and just moved on.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Samantha

    Ah well, this is life. You can’t win ’em all! But you seem cool about it, which I find very admirable (I’m not sure I’d be this calm myself, but only because I tend to over-dramatise things a lot, lol).

    Like

  32. olivia barrington

    You know the old saying,You can please all the people all the time…. well she’s just one you couldn’t and that is on her. It wasn’t her cup of coffee but it definitely is everyone Else’s taste. She just likes her coffee black and cold, not red hot and funny. That my dear is what Shizzle,Inc. is all about. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty more five star reviews. Mine is going to be one of them. Have a happy vacation!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Don’t feel bad. Think of it as constructive criticism. Look–Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite authors-as long as she sticks to writing about what she is great at–and that is HERSELF. Her forays into fiction are horrific, sophmoric and poorly written. I’ve added my two cents on Goodreads about one of her fictional books. It was atrocious. OTOH, I love her memoirs so much that each year, I leave one at the apartment we rent in the South of France. I want others to read her works. It’s really a mixed bag–with the good comes the bad! Just my two cents!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Catherine – I guess the trouble for me was, it wasn’t constructive. I’m not sure if it would make for a better screwball comedy, to make it more realistic. It’s more like “I don’t like what you wrote, period”.

      Like

  34. Terry Nelson

    Getting a one star review which I received on one of my books cuts to the heart. It didn’t bother me as much as this person gave away the ending. Of course if the person was a better reader he, or she, would have realized the real ending. He, or she, simply misread the ending. Not everyone will get what we write or like our stories. Herman Melville, famous for “Moby Dick” an American classic. I don’t like the book, so there Herman.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I have started using reviews qutie a bit. Not because I need to hedge my 99 cent bets, but because I want to preserve my reading time for books with a good chance of being enjoyable reads. A good ‘bad review’ can be just as useful as the positive ones when I’m deciding whether to court a particular book.

    This one just isn’t a very good review. It doesn’t really describe the book in any aspect different from the back cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Hi, Thanks for the like and follow the other week, I’m quite new to blogging so it means a lot.
    Don’t worry about the negative review. As somebody who does a lot of reviewing I can tell you that most people will just see that one as a complete rant and won’t take it seriously. If that review had appeared on amazon it would have been marked as unhelpful very quickly :). Don’t take it to heart and be happy with all the positive reviews you get :).

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Pingback: Press It, or Go Read These | Geek Ergo Sum

  38. Thank you for being brave enough to share this with us all, Ann. I know exactly how you feel because I’ve had a similar experience, only this week. So far, on both Amazon.com. and Amazon.co.uk I haven’t had less than 4 stars (and a lot of 5s). This week, a woman on the UK site reviewed Book 1 of my trilogy extremely scathingly and gave it 2 stars. It was the tone of the review that I found the worst – it was almost a personal go at me and really nasty. As you say, on Amazon it matters much more (re sales) than on Goodreads. But, like you, I’m just putting it behind me and trying to stay focused on the really great reviews I’ve had on both Goodreads and Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. cmblackwood

    Yikes. I know how that feels — much more than I wish I did :/

    Liked by 1 person

  40. There’s zero credibility in a review of the written word by one whose own writing is so poor. It’s analogous to reading a review of a 5-star restaurant by the creator of fast food “recipes” (or perhaps I should say “bland, evil, high-fat /low-value formulas”). Zero credibility.

    And since I’m visiting Scotland right now, I’ll leave you with a phrase from the Scots that is altogether apropos: “There’s nowt so queer as folk,” which Oxford defines as “an observation on the vagaries of human beings”. ‘Nuff said.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Like my dad used to say when a difference of opinion arose: “That’s why they make more than one flavor of ice cream.” Not everyone likes the same thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Perhaps you didn’t conform to the reviewer’s expectations of the screwball comedy genre, in which case perhaps you have stumbled across something more original – that’s what I’d conclude in your position.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. I admire your attitude. What a poorly written review. I’d like to challenge them to see if they could write.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Easy to write a nasty review – NOT easy to write a book – so good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Man, another instance in time which reminds us writers that we may as well enjoy our own characters and what we write, since we can’t control who likes what ! Thanks for following my blog btw, I hope you’ll enjoy what you read! πŸ™‚ Feel free to drop comments too if you want to, I’m just starting out getting reconnected with writing itself. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I was cracking myself up writing and editing, and I seem to have found plenty of people on the net with the same sense of humor, how awesome is that! Well done on your blog, you have a lot of likes for someone who’d just started, I had mostly silence for the first couple of years…

      Like

      • It’s all thanks to the idea of daily free writing challenge I put myself up to which I saw on Butterfly Mind’s blog, haha! You can check out her blog, she has some very effective tips on how to get ideas flowing.

        One thing I learnt this week is sometimes the works we love writing the most are the ones which are more obscure in general popularity, haha..
        You had mostly silence for 2 years? Omg my eyes have been opened. I didnt know response to new blogs can differ that much.. :O Everyone’s experience with writing is unique apparently. I mean this in a benign way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I had no idea what I was doing – I was writing very rarely and had nothing interesting to offer, just sort of wishing and trying to finish a draft. It had picked up after I started blogging 2-3 times a week and had articles interesting enough that they got reblogged many times over…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, writing takes hard work and discipline, as a facilitator of a literary arts workshop I attended had said. πŸ™‚
        Good thing about blogging is one can write anything without having to conform to any set of structure or parameters. Full responsibility of creative control. To be honest having no idea what I’m doing is an emotion I feel most times when I blog. Haha XD

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with that facilitator! I’m very hard-working, but the discipline part is a struggle…I tend to be 200% into something, but only when I feel like it πŸ™‚

        Like

  46. Martin

    Dont worry about it. One of my favourite books (Stoner:A novel by John Williams) has 32 1 star reviews on Amazon.

    The purpose of Art, and I include literature and music, is to provoke a reaction in people. If someone reads your book and they react like that, then in a way the book is just as successful.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. vickyomand

    Just keep swimmin’….

    Liked by 1 person

  48. annapauthor

    Ouch. As much as I would love some more reviews, I dread one like this coming in. Good for you for putting it in statistical perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Been there ❀ much love to you! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Coralle

    I’ve experienced this with a short story I had written, it definitely does sting a bit. But what can you do? In this case it’s just a matter of one negative review, which I wouldn’t take to heart. It’s only one person. I haven’t come across many books that haven’t received at least one bad review. It’s good to see that you weren’t brought down by it though πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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