April 20, 2017 | by Mark Stephen O'Neal
A negative book review can sting an author like a bee, ruin an author's entire day, or even rock an author's soul to the core if the review is bad enough. Negative book reviews can have three types of effects on a writer. They can either cause a writer to develop a thick skin and use the criticism as fuel to make the necessary adjustments in becoming better at one's craft. It can also have the opposite effect on a writer by causing him or her to give up altogether because of the feeling of rejection, discouragement and unworthiness. Lastly, a writer can ignore the unwarranted criticism and keep it moving.
Now, I want to talk about unwarranted criticism (an egregious book review) because these types of reviews aren't really reviews at all. They are, in reality,
indictments on the reviewers themselves. I remember the first one-star book review I got on Amazon. It really upset me because I had worked so hard on my second fiction novel The Moment of Truth. I
took some of the constructive criticism that I received from the first novel Ulterior Motives and applied it to this novel. The book review read as follows:
This was the most boring story ever. Believe me it was only 99 cents and I still want my money back!
Once I cooled down after a day or two and did some critical thinking, I realized that the person who made this negative comment was a troll trying to get a rise out of me. Why was the story boring? And why did he want his money back? He offered no feedback whatsoever other than he didn't like the book. My light bulb moment came when I realized that no matter how well-written I believe my books may be, everyone isn't going to like my writing style. I learned to focus more on the people who like my work and even the people who give me constructive criticism because it helps me become an even better novelist.