Sideffects of bad reviews…

Okay, finally, after all these years, I am ready to accept bad reviews as part of the deal for authors.

The first really bad, read harsh, review I got for my first ever attempt at writing and publishing (self) a novel – back in 2013 – was, wait a minute, maybe I didn’t get a bad review at all!

But when I decided the book was not good enough, I retired it and worked tirelessly revising over and over, till I could not do it anymore, sending it to three more copy editers , costing me (US$ 1,200). The first book had gone to four editors, one developmental editor, a line editor, a copy editor from India to recheck the facts were right and a proof reader, making me 3,000 US $ poorer. I am not even mentioning the formatting, cover and promotional expenses to spare any aspiring writer reading this a heartache. bleeding-heart-800x800

I was pretty sure I had it right this time. I had spent about six months revising and perfecting the book structurally, chopping off scenes that I thought bored the readers, basically gave it my best shot, and published it as a Kindle book, renamed it ‘Meantime Girl’ chose a more suitable cover to match the story, as a novella of 32,000 words approx (the original novel was 50,000 plus words!).

cover copy fullI sat back and hoped for some appreciation. I still didn’t think I would earn millions. But I knew I had made an honest effort to “unbore” my readers.

bad reviewsInstead, I got really merciless reviews,and mostly from readers who got free copies to read during promotional offers for which I had paid myself. (I did get some good reviews as well, one got removed by Amazon admin who suspected it was by one of my wellwisers!, my efforts to convence them failed :(, sadly).  In short I paid for those harsh reviews, again hundreds of dollars to get pelted with stones. I have been flogged in life, literally and metaphorically; but here I was doing more than what I was expected to do, and hence the hurt surpassed the bleed.

Initially, whenever I read a really bad review, it used to feel like a slit thorugh my heart. Now it is better, I mean easier to bear.

Maybe I am getting used to it; is it a good thing? Don’t know.

But each time a harsh review appears on my Amazon page or as an email, it hurts like hell and robs me a couple of weeks of productivity. I feel like a looser and am unable to write, read or live normally.

So dear readers, if you don’t like my book, please resist an urge to be mean or so harsh. Don’t ever read my books, tell all you friends what a lousy writer I am; but don’t, please don’t, put it where I can read.

Why am I writing this? Can’t waste any more time over bad reviews. Don’t know how much time is left for me on this earth, to live and write. I really want to leave behind a legacy my son can be proud of when I am gone.  No, I am not suffering from any known tricky heath condition. I just feel within this nagging urge and rush to write something brilliant. Hopefully…

10 thoughts on “Sideffects of bad reviews…

  1. If I read a book and do not like it, I will NOT leave a comment. I am sure those leaving bad comments or negative reviews are themselves not writers and have never done anything productive so they are not aware of what it feels like to actually WORK at something!

  2. If I ever get a novel published, I’m unsure whether I’ll read the reviews. I might make my husband read them first and tell me whether or not I should. Perhaps some of that negativity is productive, but more than likely it would just scar me. I agree with you, though, that if people don’t have anything nice to say, they just shouldn’t say anything at all. Why bring others down? What good does it do them? I’m sorry you had to endure that. Keep writing anyway. You have no where to go but up!

  3. Bad reviews hurt a lot, especially in the beginning. Fortunately, we do get better at handling them. Some authors I know don’t read their reviews. They just keep writing to the best of their ability, learning and growing and putting their books out there. My best to you. Happy Writing!

    • I open those emails in spite of feeling really nervous since there is always a chance of finding a really great review, which I wouldn’t want to miss. Though all I spare those harsh reviews is one fleeting glance, before I trash them, the mind somehow retains the gist of the opinion longer than I will it to. It hurts real bad and makes you want to disappear into some dark cave. The mood changes a few weeks later; in the meanwhile I google God,; no luck so far . 😦 Maybe, some day…

      • I just see reviews on Amazon. I didn’t realize you are getting them in emails. That’s particularly harsh especially if the reviewer is simply being mean and not offering anything you can work with. I like constructive criticism. If a reviewer is just being mean, it isn’t helpful and it says more about them than it does about your work. Hang in there 🙂

  4. Bad reviews sting, and it’s impossible to ignore them. But two or three days later, you can set them in perspective, think about them more objectively, discard what’s irrelevant or false and mull over anything that might be constructive. And move on from there to be a better writer. All the best!

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