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5 Ways to Deal with a Negative Book Review and Move On

Congratulations! You’ve finally released your book and you’re waiting for all the reviews to start rolling in. We all know the feeling of eagerly checking Amazon or Goodreads each day to see if a review has been posted. As an author, you treasure these words from complete strangers as they validate your writing.

But then, that dreaded 1-star review arrives and you’re devastated. It’s natural to question your writing abilities and skill as an author. You re-read the reviewer’s comments over and over again, filling yourself with more and more self-doubt.

Most authors–even bestselling ones–have been there and understand the feeling. It’s easier said than done, but don’t take a bad review personally. Instead, try not to overact and turn this experience into a positive one by doing the following:

1. Ignore it. 

Ignore it and move on, especially if the review is more like a rant. Remember, you’ve received other reviews from complete strangers that were constructive and insightful.

2. Motivate yourself.

Rather than spending your time stewing over this negative review, put that energy into writing and making your next manuscript even better! Constructive reviews can make us all better writers.

3. Inspire yourself.

If you find you’re going back to the negative review, write down excerpts from positive reviews and post them to your computer or on the wall—anywhere where they are in plain sight.

4. Know you’re not alone.

Look up any of your favourite author’s books and you’re bound to see that they, too, have received negative reviews. Here are a few that classics by best-selling authors have received, if it makes you feel better:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: “A dreary, uninspiring book full of tired clichés…”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling: “I read this for the first time when I was six. I barely even understood it. Now I am eight and I read it again. I hate this book it goes to fast. Example. Harry walked forward. The snake popped out he grabbed the sword. Lame. Every chapter is like my example. It’s like a baby book.”

5. Develop a thick skin.

More than any of the above tips, this one will take the most time to develop. You can start to build a thick skin by simply laughing off a poor review. This post by J.A. Konrath may help you do just that.

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