My first reaction was to turn to my editor, who was also thrown under the review bus. "Alice, please take a look at this and tell me how you think I should respond, if at all," I emailed and forwarded her the link. Thankfully, Alice was plugged in that night and responded immediately. She confirmed it was a really nasty review, I won't use her exact words and forwarded me a link to a recent article in Oprah magazine (http://bit.ly/12WvSs6). I read the article and let the advice sooth my wounded self. "Thanks, good advice, Alice; you're right I just won't comment on it."
I still needed to vent to my husband who was sympathetic but didn't have any advice in this field. I needed a little more reassurance. After all, I had just spent countless hours and a lot of money to put this book together and I planned on writing more. I certainly didn't want to waste another moment of my time and resources if the only people who would read it were my circle of influence. I returned to my laptop and forwarded the review to a woman who I trust to tell me like it is, a former executive in the publishing businesses. "Maretta, I need your advice. Was my book any good? I need you to tell me the truth. Are people just being nice when they say they liked it?"
Maretta responded the next morning in her authoritative tone she usually speaks in. "Who cares (cares elongated) what other people think! If you enjoy writing, write. If people really didn't like your book they would not say anything or they would say it was good and look away. I see the way people respond, they like it. Besides, look at all the other reviews on the other sites, read those!"
I picked myself back up and decided to follow the English mantra that has been reconfigured in so many ways and keep calm and write. I reread the one-star review and noted the few editorial points that she made. At least I would take something positive from it. My awareness of how not only words, but tone can affect others was heightened and I vowed to try and be more aware of that myself. Thankfully, more 4 and 5 star reviews keep coming in, to tip the scales on that Simon Cowell of book reviews!
Are you an author? How or do you respond to reviews of your book?
Are you a reader who writes reviews? What formula do you use?