How NOT to React to a Bad Review

There have been many posts about how to deal with a bad review, how to pick up and move past it. But what, oh what do you do after you’ve gone off the deep end?

http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2011/03/greek-seaman-jacqueline-howett.html

The review is not a great one, (as in not great for the book) the backbone of the argument is that she uploaded the wrong copy, one with typos and errors, and then reuploaded the correct one and that the reviewer, Al, did not redownload the new version.

Whether he did or not, the author’s conduct is absolutely ludicrous! From comments like “The book is out there doing well without your comments. My first book is great! and I intend to promote now without your ball…I want this review removed or its just considered abuse.” to “You are a big rat and a snake with poisenous venom.” and the most eloquent “%$#@ off”, I think Jacqueline Howett has demonstrated a definite what NOT to do when you get a bad review!

I have to say, this is one book I won’t be reading, not based on the review, but on her conduct. Ye-ouch.

14 Comments

  1. Rose Gordon says:

    Not to be contrary, but I read a post where Al himself said he did re-download and review the “corrected” version, which was still full of a lot of errors–he even cited two examples. He also said he could figure out what she’d meant well enough to finish reading the book and gave her a 2-star review on Amazon.

    Either way, she behaved poorly. A simple, “Thank you for taking the time to review my book,” was all she needed to say, or nothing at all. Probably if she hadn’t said anything at all very few people would have known the truth of how poorly edited it was and she could have fixed it. Unfortunately for her, she has no real options now except to use a pseudonym and change the title of her book if she chooses to keep pursuing a writing career.

    1. Yeah, I saw that he said he did, and really can’t imagine why he wouldn’t have. What would be the point in reviewing an obsolete copy?

      I have to say, the idea of asking a reviewer that you approach to review your book to download a second copy is already enough to set my teeth on edge. I mean – yeesh! They’re reviewing you.

    2. RMY says:

      Two words: Anger Management. 🙂

  2. Christina Li says:

    Thank-you so much for this. I just asked Al if he would review my book. 🙂 He was so professional in spite of the author’s nasty responses, I thought he would be a reviewer I could trust to give me a professional, honest review.

    1. I thought about it, Christina! But then his submission page says he’s not really into supernatural, so I didn’t. Good luck!

  3. I wish I had 2 star reviews that good! I agree that’s it’s not wise to respond to a review on a public forum. I think it’s an even better idea to not check reviews at all. I know people disagree with me, but I’ve had my creativity kicked out of me for two months last year because I read my 1 and 2 star reviews and started to believe that I was a horrible writer. When you start thinking that, it destroys your ability to write, not to mention your passion. Plus, it cost me one book I never wrote and published because I went through severe writer’s block.

    Regarding this post, I think we’re looking at damage control, if there is any. I agree with Rose that (should this ever happen to you because we all have our less than stellar moments) the best thing this author can do is get another author name and start fresh. But if she doesn’t want to do that, then I’m thinking of what would I do if I were in her shoes. I’d set up a public apology on my blog and then make sure I never check my reviews ever again so I could avoid the urge to retaliate. While she just hurt her reputation, I don’t think she’s beyond hope. While the Internet might remember things forever, people tend to have short memories. The next big viral thing will make its way around the Internet and this will fade.

    Personally, I thought the fact that she stopped commenting was a step in the right direction. Maybe she can begin the road the recovery.

    1. Like Mari says below I bet she will get several sales from this where people want to see if its really as bad as the review said. If she doesn’t mind being known as that kind of a person, she might pull out of it all right. i think it will depend a lot on what kind of books she writes. for instance, I think romance readers would be less likely to forgive an outburst like this than thriller or horror readers.

      1. I thought of that after I made the comment. It could all be a ploy. Any time your name gets out there, it doesn’t hurt sales. If her sales climb high enough and her book is actually good, this might help her get more sales down the road due to increased exposure. The more people see you, the more likely you’ll make a sale. But if her book does suck to the majority of people, I don’t think the sales will be long term, unless she manages to pull off more than one clever stunt.

        Personally, I wouldn’t go that route because it contradicts the message in my books.

        She’s either laughing at all of us as she counts her sales going up or is hiding her head in shame.

  4. Mari Miniatt says:

    Salon did an article on it. http://www.salon.com/books/2011/03/29/jacqueline_howett_greek_seaman
    Basically they wonder if it wasn’t intentional. Because now people are downloading her book, just to ridicule it. The same sort of fandom Rebecka Black found herself in a few weeks ago (a million paid downloads later, I am sure she doesn’t mind the jokes about her song)

    It gets you attention for sure, but whoa you need a thick skin if you use something like this to promote, especially if you twist it to that effect.

    As for me, I would have thanked Al for reviewing, and that would have been the end of my comments, if any.

    1. Thanks for the link, Mari! I have to say I don’t think she did it intentionally, but as I mentioned above to Ruth I think she may reap some benefits. there are a lot of people who like a controversial figure. The make or break is going to be if it’s the people who like her genre.

      Same here. I’d have just said “Thanks for your professional review” and left it at that and never linked to it anywhere, LOL!

  5. That whole mess was hilarious, but sort of sad at the same time. I responded to a couple of reviews before I knew better, but I never went crazy like that.

    I did respond two or three months ago to a review where I was attacked personally. (I was accused of stealing a character from another book, and the reviewer admitted only reading a sample),and I was very offended. Afterward, I had several author friends tell me I shouldn’t respond, but to have Amazon take down the review. I emailed Amazon and they took it down immediately. So, really, we shouldn’t respond to ANY negative reviews. What about responding to good reviews? What do you think about that?

    1. I think if it’s someone you went to for a review (ie, you mailed them the manuscript and said “please review me”) that a “Thank you” is appropriate whether the review is good or bad because they took the time at your request, but like Amazon reviews or goodreads, I don’t know. If it;s someone I know I usually will say something to them like “Thanks for leaving me a review!” but I’ve never looked up anyone I didn’t already know. (not that there are a lot of those, mind you, LOL!) It’s a good question, though!

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