Bad Reviews

A tickly topic.

And one I never challenge.

We’re big readers in this family. There are several ereaders, and several more piles of library books (renewed each week), as well as paperbacks and hardbacks both old and new. Like most of you, our bookshelves are heaving. Heartfelt thanks for libraries and librarians, by the way. Having played such a huge part in my life, they have to be the subject of another Blog.

My point? Mr S will often read a book, and then pass it on to me with the comment, ‘You must read this!’ And maybe I agree with him, and think ‘Wow’! And say the same to someone else. It’s a great way to discover a new author, as we tend to read in different genres. Sometimes, I think, ‘Hmm’. Though I always, always, appreciate the work that has gone in to each book, I know that every book isn’t to each individual’s taste.

Would I post a bad review? Never. Because, well, why would I? Someone loved that book, or it wouldn’t be on the shelves. Tens of thousands, and maybe more, agreed with them, read it, and lapped it up. There’s nothing wrong with me, or the author who put everything they’d got into writing it – it’s just that our tastes don’t coincide.

There is good humoured acceptance amongst publishers that the motive for writing a ‘stinking’ review isn’t always what it seems. There are a lot of axes to be ground in this world, and writing is an outlet as we all know. So, rather than feeling personallly attacked or affronted if this should happen to you, sit back and think about the person writing it, and feel some sympathy with whatever it is they’re going through, which maybe be disappointment, a desire for revenge, or simply constipation.

No author or publisher sets out to upset a reader, quite the contrary. I set out to entertain, whilst accepting that the story I tell won’t hold the same appeal for everyone.

But here’s the good news. In writing many books I have had 2 that really set the cat amongst the pigeons. One was set in a dream, rather than reality and infuriated the readers as they, quite rightly, I now am more than happy to admit – I tried it and it didn’t work – weren’t expecting that from me. Another written years before Shades of Grey, had BDSM content – quite mild, but it was definitely in there! Outraged from just about everywhere in the world had something to say about that one! I think those two books garnered around 40 1-star reviews between them. And the good news? They are amongst my bestselling books.

Now it’s easy for me to write this and appear so accepting, but when I started out my first bad review really knocked me for six. *I’m doomed* (please imagine SS in her most theatrical state, wailing and beating her chest at this point). It does hurt like hell in the early stages of a writing career to put your ‘baby’ out there and have someone, not only dislike it, but actively hate it, AND tell the world that they do. But can I tell you one last thing to reassure you. Better that than you get no reaction at all. There’s nothing like a 1-star review to draw people’s attention. It goes back to that old saying, ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’. Believe me, it’s true.

And good reviews? Well, they are treasures beyond compare, as are the reviewers who write them, so I’m not going to tag on a piece about good reviews, because they also deserve a Blog of their own!

With my love and huge hugs to all of you out there – don’t let anything shake your belief in you. Someone – many many people, I’m sure, are going to love what you do, whether that be writing books, cooking a wonderful meal (not to everyone’s taste, maybe? ?), or gardening (someone’s bound to be allergic to your roses) etc etc The list truly is endless, but there is only one message here:


I believe in you.







One thought on “Bad Reviews

  1. Wise words, Susan. Any review, be it good or bad, shows the story has had a reaction which can’t be bad! But a good review from someone who really gets the story and is kind enough to share their opinion is a treasure indeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *