From the cover of EVILLE by Holand Peterson
EVILLE is a hoot of a read. I mean that literally, I hooted laughs several times while reading this spoofy fantasy adventure supernatural novel (think a more imaginative and fresh Young Frankenstein). Holand creates a wacky world of supernatural beings. When Mr. Average Guy and this world intersect...it's funny and fun.
Granted this is a good review, but it easily illustrates why there are no evil or bad reviews. I enjoy oddball spoofs and takeoffs of genre fiction. But there are people who dislike or even despise that sort of thing. And are very vocal about it, sometimes on reviews. This is where the writer needs to put on a "reader" mindset. When looking for something to read and browsing the reviews as a reader, I experience a bad review differently. Many times, I'll read the one star reviews first. They are often good for a laugh. An example: a one star review for a novella, that gave it one star because it wasn't novel length and the reviewer didn't like novellas! Now, the novella was stated as such and priced accordingly, in fact was pretty cheap for an eBook of that length. Another review of an anthology of four novelettes gave one star because each novelette was written within the author's well known world. Again, it was clear from the cover that was what each novelette was. And that's what I enjoyed most about that anthology. So a bad review may generate a sale or several.
But what about a review that specifically attacks the writing? OUCH. Again, as a reader, I may discount the review if it's badly written. Even if well-written, I may like what the reviewer dislikes, "too complicated and convoluted a plot" for example. I don't believe there is such a thing. And I may want to read the book to see if I agree or disagree with the reviewer's review.
As a reader, the only review that turns me off a book is one that talks about bad or sloppy writing. Bad is weak characters, a poor plot, or little or missing conflict, and sloppy being too many grammar and spelling errors. And that's something we authors have control over.
Now, I know bad reviews drop your Amazon ranking and that's not good, and you may lose sales, and that's not good. But when you consider reviews as only a small and necessary part of a writing career, and that everyone gets bad reviews, it's not quite so painful. Remember the famous saying: "I don't care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right" (readers, who said that first?).
Finally, bad reviews can also generate good ones. I've written more than one good review after reading a book and disagreeing with the bad reviews. So, try, try to relax a little, dear writer friends, about reviews!
Feedback? Review my post? Give it a bad review? A good review?