Friday, August 3, 2012

Pissed Off Authors

I've seen so many pissed off authors lately it's beginning to make my head swim. There are way too many of us ranting and raving at reviewers. It makes us all look bad. So you got a 1 star review that slammed your book, eh? Be grateful.

Let me tell you something about publicity: If someone loves your book, they may tell a friend or two or they may blog about it. If someone hates your book, they're gonna tell everyone they know. I can hear you saying, "But, Jo! If they run their mouths about my book in a bad way, no one will read it!" This isn't always the case. I have an example.

Harry Potter. Now, J.K. Rowling never expected the uproar that happened with her HP series; but what she gained was notoriety. Because people were so angry about the witchcraft in her books and how it was being presented as good and wholesome, they told everyone they knew about her books. She began to make the news. People flooded out in droves to buy her book because of it.

On the flip-side, remember all those books that got burned? Someone had to buy them so she still made a royalty for each and every one. Chew on that for a moment.

When it comes down to it, J.K. got a ton of free publicity for her HP series because of people that were unhappy with her books and what they perceived to be her message. Now, it doesn't hurt that she had a great series and that she's a really great writer either.

Now for some stats:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has 5, 831 reviews on Amazon as of the date of this post.
4, 822 are 5 stars
578 are 4 stars
200 are 3 stars
83 are 2 stars
88 are 1 star

And never once did she go rant at a 1 star reviewer. I urge you to go read some of the 1 star reviews.

What I'm trying to say is, your book isn't going to be for everyone. There will be people who love it, and people who hate it. While a bunch of negative reviews may kill your book, there is a good chance they won't. Take it in stride and try not to let your blood-pressure rise too high. Thank the reviewer for taking the time to write a review or don't comment back on any review, ever.

When I ask someone for a review, I tell them to please be as honest as possible and give my book a fair rating according to their level of interest. If it ends up being a 1 star review, then that's fine because that's how they felt when they read my work.

I'm one of those that doesn't write to appeal to the masses. I feel I would be selling out if I did that. I write on topics I'm passionate about. My new series Mystic touches on some very controversial subjects that will not appeal to everyone. I don't care because I'm writing about what I choose to write about. If I stir the soul of just one reader, I did my job. Historical Fiction only appeals to a handful of people in the world. I knew that when I wrote Yassa. But the story was something I was passionate about telling. I stirred someone's soul with that book. I know this because they told me, privately. That review never hit the market but it doesn't matter because it reached my ears.

When I wrote The Abigale Chronicles (Book One and Book Two), I wrote them for my daughter. She loves them, that's what matters to me.

So, my advice is for you to write with your heart and on topics that matter to you, thank people who take time out of their day to read your books and write you a review, and coast along with the tides that ebb and flow from it. If you're an author because you want to get rich, probably not the best occupation. Very few of us make it to the big time. But I'd be willing to bet you write because you love to write. So why does it matter when someone doesn't like it? Now chew on that for a while.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. Great post! This reviewer vs author battle that seems to be going on is unsettling. I don't understand why an author would even think it's a good idea to defend their book when a reviewer panes it.

    1. Thanks, Heather! I agree. We should embrace our reviewers. I find it worrisome that so many authors feel the need to speak out. I feel a huge problem coming on.

  2. You and I must be sisters separated at birth! This has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been a book club for 10+ years, and one things it's definitely taught me... VERY rarely do we agree on a book. It's like asking everyone on the planet to like one style of jeans!

    I have a book review site, and recently an author asked me to not to share my 3.5 review (and I was being generous and positive) on Goodreads or Amazon. It wasn't to her liking. Really? All reviews will lose their meaning if nobody allows anything but glowing ones to be reported. Most book tours I do ask that only 3+ be shared. It skews everything.

    Authors have to understand that people are different. I'd rather someone passionately hate my book than feel average about it, because at least the first is passionate. I struck some kind of chord. Feeling eeh about it is disheartening, because my book would be completely forgettable.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I believe we may have been, Tia. LOL! I'm happy with a 3.5 review, that's crazy. I do hope that when people want to give me less than 4, they will explain why. But I don't find it necessary nor do I push. I'd rather have an extreme love or hate as well. Agreed. I hate that the numbers are being skewed that way. Food for thought. Thanks for the blog love! :)

  3. Great post and I absolutely agree. Write with your heart, the rest is secondary. And Tia, really? I'd be thrilled for a 3.5 star review! (:

    1. Thank you, Elise. Yes, from the heart is the only way to write.


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