What authors must do when they get a bad review

 

One way of dealing with bad reviews is to write the Very Bad Book as Andy Griffiths has done!

One way of dealing with bad reviews is to write the Very Bad Book as Andy Griffiths has done!

Newsflash for authors! Not everyone is going to like your book. In fact, some people are going to dislike it so much they won’t even get past the first few pages. And now, with so many opportunities for reviewers to share their thoughts online about your book, you are going to know exactly how much they love or hate it.

I have to admit, Write About Me has attracted its fair share of bad reviews. The most recent review  in a highly-respected Australian magazine – seen as the book bible for individuals and book clubs looking for the next best book to read – plus the experience of one of my US writing friends on the weekend, has prompted me to share my tips on what authors must do when they get a bad review.

It’s heartbreaking for writers when this happens, but there are a few tips to managing those bad reviews.

1. Accept that your book will not appeal to every reader, and move on. Each review is subjective. I remember my Mum saying to me when I first published Write About Me that it’s just like when you go and see a movie. Sometimes it’s a blockbuster but for you, it falls flat. It could be the mood you’re in, it could be the simple fact it’s not your style. There are so many films I love and so many that I don’t – and the same goes for books. Now move on.

2. Accept criticism gracefully, and move on. BUT… I remember my first one-star review for Write About Me. I was aghast at some of the things the reviewer wrote. They had it all wrong! That’s not what I intended when I wrote the book! Hang on, my writing style was deliberately chosen and they hadn’t read it closely enough! They’ve missed the point! How can they say that! Everyone else who’s read it loves it! I have people writing to me every day and coming up to me on the street saying how brilliant it is! You’re wrong!

The simple fact is you can’t engage with everyone who’s read your book. If they didn’t like it, they didn’t like it and it’s their right to express that opinion. BUT, and there is a but. Watch out for trolls and reviewers who have nothing better to do than harass you online. There are ways you can deal with these situations. For example, if someone has published an unfair review on Amazon, authors can ask Amazon via Author Central to remove it. A US author friend of mine had someone publish a scathing review and copy that to all her books. The reviewer stated clearly they hadn’t read the books. Amazon swiftly removed these reviews as they were very much a personal attack not connected to the contents of the books themselves.

3. Say thankyou, and move on. Reading a book takes time and effort, so every time someone takes the time out of their lives to read your book and enter the world you’ve created with so much love and passion, deserves a thank you. A book is such a personal project for writers, but you can’t take it personally if your personal project is rejected or criticised. This is something all creative people face on a daily basis, in fact, it’s something all people face every day. Writers need to develop a thick skin when they choose to publish their work. Once you are in the public domain you are open to public criticism.

Fortunately you are also open to public praise. So take all the praise and put it in a big pile, then go to that pile every time someone criticises your work and bury that criticism right at the bottom. It also helps if you have other writers to talk to – they understand and will provide all necessary comfort and counselling!!

 

 

 

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Top 5 PR tips for new indie authors

New indie author and PR agency owner Melissa-Jane Pouliot

New indie author and PR agency owner Melissa-Jane Pouliot

By Melissa-Jane Pouliot

I am a new indie self-published author, as well as the founding director of PR firm mp|media solutions, which I established in 2000 after leaving my hectic deadline-driven world as a newspaper journalist. I work with businesses of all shapes and sizes, new and old, successful and extremely successful. Here are my top 5 PR tips for self-published authors at the start of their journey.

1. Treat your foray into the brand new world of publishing as a start-up business

You’ve dreamed the dream, you’ve finished your book. But wait, before you go any further you need to set up yourself as a business. After all, the ultimate goal is to sell books for money and hopefully one day give up your day to pursue your ultimate goal of being a world-famous author. So the first step is to set up your new business. You’ll need a tax file number, bank account, a marketing plan, an accounting program to keep track of bookshop orders if you are printing paperbacks and so on and so forth.

2. Hit publish, then make it happen

You’ve got an awesome cover, you’ve got it laid out and have hit the publish button. Phew, job’s done. No way girlfriend (or boyfriend!), writing and publishing is the easy part. But your friends and family have told you it’s brilliant so the rest of the world will think the same! Wrong again. Your book is one in millions and millions so you can’t just sit back and wait for people to buy it – whether it’s sitting in a virtual or real bookstore. It’s up to you to make it happen. You are in control of your marketing and you need to cover all bases.

3. Be realistic about what you can achieve
Just because you have written the best book ever written, doesn’t mean you can make a living from it. Don’t expect to be an overnight success – yes, this does happen but for the majority of people in business, including the book publishing business, you need to really work at it. Remember to be realistic about what you can achieve – the whole time you are marketing this book you need to be writing your next one and planning the one after that. Recognise that you are only one person so try not to get too overwhelmed when the overnight success takes more than one night.

4. Adapt to change
Embrace new technology! Always look at ways to streamline, be more efficient, maximise sales – just because you’ve done it the same way since day one doesn’t mean that’s the way you should do it on day 100. Look at what other successful self-publishers are doing and see what works for you. The important thing is to be adaptable – your product will not change but the way you market and sell it needs to.

5.Know where you’re headed and don’t get sidetracked
Okay, so I’ve told you to adapt to change, but you need to be careful that you don’t spend all your time adapting and no time reaping the rewards of being so adaptable! Every day new technology hits the market but just because it’s new and hip and happening, doesn’t mean it’s for you. Know what your business is all about and stick to your goals while testing new ideas along the way. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t bother with it. Also, don’t be adhoc. Build social media into your business plan so that it has a purpose and you’re not just pissing about on the Internet/Facebook/twitter/Instagram/Tumblr/Wattpad/Wordpress/Pininterest and so on and so forth!

6. Talk to people about who you are, the world famous author, but always remember to K.I.S.S.
I needed an extra one! This one is vital. Whether it’s online, face to face or over the telephone you need to tell people who you are, what you do, why you do it and how well you do it. You are your best form of PR and you will need to give up a bit of yourself when you’re promoting yourself as the next big thing to hit the book writing world. But you need to Keep It Simple Sally – you need to have clear strong messages that people can quickly and easily understand and connect with. Be consistent, clear and interesting while being true to yourself.

People will feel so inspired that they will go out and buy your book, review it on Amazon and GoodReads, tell their friends to buy it (and not lend it) then send copies to Ellen and Oprah on your behalf!