Earlier today, I was perusing the social media and came across an author who was complaining about receiving 1- and 2-star reviews for their book. So I decided to give a little advice to any other writers feeling down about bad reviews.
Reviews aren’t there to fill the dead space on our Amazon profile pages. They serve a purpose. Well, they actually serve a couple of purposes. And though you may feel that one of those purposes is to make the author cry, you’re wrong. That’s not one of them.
Reviews are there to help readers decide whether or not to buy the book.
Reading a book is a huge investment of the reader’s time. In a world where there are so many other things competing for their time, you better make it worth their while. There are far too many good books out there waiting to be read for them to waste their time on a bad one. If they read a bad book, they get upset about it. Angry even. And understandably so. Some of those readers are willing to take a little more of their time and warn other readers to stay away from your book. It happens. You can’t keep them from having an opinion, but you can change their opinion. How? By writing better books.
Reviews are there to help the author better their writing.
If you, the author, are reading your reviews, then you should be learning from them. Did the reader find a lot of typos? Hire a proofreader and get those suckers fixed. Did the reader find a major plot hole? Fix it. Did the reader think you use a certain word too much? Stop doing that.
Now hear me out. I’m not saying do what each and every review says. Reviewers are giving their opinion, and sometimes their opinion is wrong. BUT–if several readers say the same thing, then there’s probably some truth to it.
When I first started out, I got some bad reviews. Hell, I still do sometimes. And yes, it bummed me out a little bit. No one wants to hear that the thing they created from nothing and spent long hours and possibly years working on is bad. But after looking at the reviews of some of the best in the literary world–Koontz, King, etc.–I saw that even they get bad reviews. Yes, even the giants have critics. That made me feel better. Then I remembered the old saying you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
So yes, you are going to get bad reviews from time to time. Even if your book is perfect and flawless, there will be someone who doesn’t like it. You have to learn to deal with that. Do the very best you can and let the rest happen as it will.
I see a lot of people confusing complement and compliment. I even saw a snotty individual who thought their fecal matter smelled like a fine floral arrangement get haughty on someone who used the word complement (correctly, mind you). The person was quick to point out the ‘mistake’ and promptly informed the other person that it should be compliment, not complement. I laughed and laughed, and then I cried a little because damn it to hell, it’s sad that people don’t know their words. So I thought I’d try to help.
a polite expression of praise or admiration.
He gave me a compliment, making me blush.
My compliments to the chef.
1) a thing that completes or brings to perfection, or 2) a number or quantity of something required to make a group complete.
This wine really complements the fish.
The store currently has a full complement of staff.
It isn’t hard to distinguish between the two words and know when each should be used once you know that there actually is a difference. And now you know. So go forth, my friends. Go forth and spread the knowledge! Then I’ll compliment you on your job well done.
So the daughter of serial killer Dennis Rader is upset over Stephen King’s story A GOOD MARRIAGE, claiming that it’s based on her father’s story and exploits her father’s victims. Here’s my take on the matter…
As a writer I know what it’s like to read/hear/see something and be inspired to write a story. I’ve based many of my stories on actual events, most of which are serial killer-related. Can you tell? No, because they’re not accounts of THAT story. They’re completely different stories, only INSPIRED by that story. Which, if the statement from King that I read is true, is what happened in this case. King read of the Rader situation, particularly the part about Rader’s wife being totally unaware of her husband’s actions, and was inspired to write a story about a wife who stumbles upon a box in her garage that contains proof of her husband’s crimes. It’s not about Rader or his victims. It’s a story about a woman who suddenly learns that her husband of over 20 years is a serial killer. While I read the story years ago when it was first released, not once did Dennis Rader’s name come to mind. In fact, I was reminded of Gary Ridgeway and his wife, who also was unaware of her husband’s murderous ways. Ridgeway killed more than 50 women and his wife never knew anything about it. He’s who came to mind while I read the story. Not Rader. This story is a reflection of ANY wife or spouse of ANY criminal who was unaware of the crimes of their significant others. For her to claim it’s based on her father and exploits his victims is nonsense and untrue.
Every story ever written comes from somewhere. Something we’ve read, something we’ve seen, something we’ve heard. That’s what inspiration is. It’s hearing/seeing/reading something and having it trigger your thoughts, sending your mind whirring at the possibilities of a story. Because believe it or not, there’s a story in EVERYTHING. A simple trip to the supermarket could erupt into a full-blown kidnapping complete with police corruption, botched ransom drops, and a happy reunion with your family at the end. A power outage in an apartment building becomes a terrifying horror story with evil monsters lurking in the darkened corners. Everything is inspiration when you’re a writer. There’s no turning it off, no stopping it.
King did nothing wrong in this case. This woman is really reaching if she wants to claim that story is based on her father and exploiting his victims. It’s a wildly ridiculous claim and makes me wonder if it’s not she who wants to exploit the situation. And you know what? I do believe there’s a story there…