What I've Learned from OTHERS Worst Review(s) #MFRWauthor #Bloghop

Hi, folks!

Sorry about opting out last week, but the topic had no appeal, and I also had nothing to contribute to it, either.

This week, Week 14, the Topic What I Learned from My Worst Review, isn't much better, but I want to try and complete as many of these as I can without dropping out.

I do have two ePub novels listed on Amazon, but no one is reading them, so I don't have any reviews.

Well, I do, but they are from the five friends who said they were interested in reading it, which just means they left complimentary reviews of the high-caliber variety (in order not to hurt my feelings).

So, for this post, I thought I could give examples of some really scorching reviews I've encountered when searching for things to read at Amazon, share them with you, and tell you how I would respond if they were directed at me and my work.

So, without further ado...

found at Amazon

This is page one of three total, in the 1-star category, for a Historical Romance novel!


However, I've actually read a lot worse.

Scathing Book Reviews have to hurt the author regardless of what is said, how it is interpreted, and even if it is inconsequential to the story.

I've trained myself to immediately scroll down to the reviews section on Amazon, click the 1-star section, and start reading what everyone had to say in order to get a better understanding of what is REALLY wrong with the novel.

If a majority of the negative reviews say about the same thing(s), then I know it isn't trolling or something I should ignore.

And, there are just as many times when I read 1-star reviews that are actually GLOWING!

"This was the best book I've read in a long time! Highly recommend!" below a 1-star.

I flag those and let the reviewer know what I've done, even if I am fully aware of the fact that it could just be a glitch, because glitch or not, the 1-star isn't helping the author to sell the book and it needs rectifying.

Just last week, I received an e-mail from one of those such reviewers, and for the exact opposite reason.

She'd left a 5-star review but said that the story was trash, boring, and not worth anyone's time, so I left a comment asking why she left a 5-star on such a negative review.

She wrote back to thank me (believe it or not) because she had thought she'd clicked 1-star and had no idea why Amazon recorded it as 5.

Nit-picky, maybe, but not to me.

Good or bad rating, it affects us authors, and I get upset about it even though it doesn't affect me personally!

My point is, I may not have any negative reviews to contribute to this Blog Hop, but I still understand how detrimental/important/useful they are to us as authors.

I imagine most of you will pick a bad review that was OPINION and didn't serve much to help you or your potential readers.

I find a lot of those too, and if they are bad enough, I'll leave them a comment offering MY opinion of their non-helpful opinion.

Because I'm old enough to be honest and not worry about potential consequences. πŸ˜‰

I would re-word that third box to say RIGHTEOUS anger.

So, let's just say, for the sake of this week's topic, that I did receive a nasty, negative review on one of my two published novels.

If what I showed you guys above ended up happening to me, I would take it personally and cry, sink into my dreaded dark place for a few hours, or maybe even a few days or even weeks, depending on the extent of the 'nasty' involved.

If it is helpful and constructive, though, then I would instantly search the internet for articles about the specific area of writing they pin-pointed as one of my weaknesses and hopefully learn how to overcome said malady.

BORING and CLICHE would be Red Flag moments to my mind, and I would (hopefully) read beyond any snarky, thoughtless remarks made by the reviewer to try and concentrate on what is actually being said.

Cliche and Boring mean the author is missing something vital in her writing skills, and that would concern me if I received those types of negative reviews.

It could ALSO mean that the author listened to her Editor and is paying the consequences, in which case the author needs to find a new Editor if she hopes to make it as a Romance Writer.

I just finished another Highland Romance this morning (I set a 2018 Challenge for myself, to read every single Highland-themed Romance novel on my Kindle) that was 418 pages long.

When I saw how long it was, I knew it was going to be boring or at least tedious to read all the way through.

However, the synopsis intrigued me because it suggested the story would center around a particular Religious Uprising that occurred in Scotland's past.

I love History!

When I read the "Look Inside" portion, I liked the writing style and was intrigued even more by the fact that it opened with a Scottish woman on trial for being pregnant out of wedlock.

Sadly, Chapter Two (not included in the Look Inside) took the reader BACK in time, returned to the Chapter One scene in Chapter 11 of all places, and then dragging us forward another 27 chapters to reach the end.

38 Chapters, 418 pages, no true romance involved, very little in the way of historical insight about the supposed plot device, and the dreaded Insta-Love that occurred within MINUTES of the two leads meeting.

Too many aside characters with their own mini-stories as well, which didn't make any sense to me until I realized I was reading a Series starting with Book One and the author felt obliged to introduce us to EVERYONE while ignoring the two leads in Book One.

It made no sense and was just one of the reasons why the book dragged, was 418 pages long, and took 38 chapters to tell.

I write Book Reviews on this blog, and these are the types of issues I tend to expound upon in my reviews, starting with what I liked and then delve deeper into what went wrong.

I feel relatively confident that I won't receive a lot of negative reviews for GPS issues, and I anticipate negative remarks about the dreaded TELL vs. SHOW issue a lot of my BETA readers said they didn't like about my writing style.

I wouldn't know what to say or think about those types of negative reviews.

Do you actually read your reviews?

It seems there are as many authors who don't read them as there are authors who do so religiously, so I guess it's a crap-shoot Topic... six in one, half-dozen in the other.

I suppose if you adore your Editor and trust your BETA readers, it might not be all that necessary to keep a constant watch on your reader's opinions, but I don't know that I would subscribe to that way of thinking -- even if I did want to become Brick & Mortar'd.

No one wants anyone to tell them their precious baby is boring, a waste of money, and stupid.

To me, those are the very things we need to know in order to improve our craft.

If an author includes cuss words in their work and a lot of potential fans aren't into that kind of thing, the author is going to get MURDERED in the negative category of reviews, so it would be wise to let the reader know WAY ahead of time that you have included crude language in your work and hopefully avoid losing points from outraged readers.

If your sexual content is too graphic, the same thing will occur if you don't know how to TAG your novels.

It always amazes me how many ROMANCE readers feel the need to give a negative review and then spend their whole rant complaining about the sexual aspects of the story.

Why are you reading Romance if you don't want ANY mention of even hand-holding or heading for third base instances to occur?

It is hardly the author's fault that their readers are on the dim-witted side and can't seem to figure out what a ROMANCE novel actually entails.

However, I've come to realize after having read so many reviews over the years that a lot of authors don't properly label their work, and that some even click the Christian and Family Values tags for their erotic romance.

I would be angry, too, if I bought a book based on the TAGS and then found a ton of filthy language and overly explicit sex scenes.

That's just not nice or fair, and you deserve every bad review you get.

Lastly, I'd like to think that if my worst review said something about not liking one of my characters because He is too masculine or She is too submissive, I would ignore it entirely and chalk it up to the reader being on the Feminist side, which I'm not.

If my worst review had anything to do with my story not including or even sounding PC, or that it doesn't adhere to what the reader just learned in her College Lit or Gender Studies class, I would ignore that as well.

But then I am in the habit of pre-warning potential readers at the beginning of my novels that I don't adhere to that line of thinking and neither do any of my fictional characters.

I also let the reader know that they aren't likely to 'learn' anything by reading my novels because I write them to entertain and transport, not teach or preach.

Thank you for stopping by to read my contribution to this week's Challenge Question.

Please scroll down to the LinkyLink tool and click on the next in line to find out what They Learned from Their Worst Review.

Blogging is an opportunity for authors to connect with readers. Despite being writers, blogging is an entirely different style of writing and often stumps us. To help our authors blog consistently, thoughtfully and with purpose, Marketing for Romance Writers is announcing the 2018 Blog Challenge. Each week, authors use our writing prompt to create a meaningful blog post. We'll be posting every Friday... join us as often as possible.
All authors with blogs are welcome to participate. 


  1. glad you decided to post. Found the post and your thought processes interesting.


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