Tag Archives: negative reviews

Friday’s Internet Goodies: Big Als Books and Pals

InternetGoodiesThis Friday, I’m going to start a series called Internet Goodies, which is about various websites that I feel are useful to readers, writers and indie publishers alike.

I chose to start with Big Al’s Books and Pals, because the site is dedicated to helping Indie authors find their audiences, and I think that Big Al and his Pals go about this process in an intelligent and thoughtful way.

BigAl’s Books and Pals concentrates on reviewing books from independent (“indie”) authors available for ereaders, primarily Amazon’s Kindle, but also the Nook from Barnes and Noble.  Several people contribute to this effort. The leader, is (of course) BigAl. This is how he describes himself:

An avid reader for more decades than he wants to admit, BigAl previously reviewed music for a variety of websites and magazines. After having several readers and authors tell him, “You ought to start a book blog,” he said, “what the hell.” BigAl also runs another website, The Indie View, which has resources for authors and readers, including an index of indie book reviews from around the web, a database of indie friendly reviewers, and frequent interviews with authors and reviewers. He is also a regular contributor to Indies Unlimited, and although he denies that he’s an author or writer, somehow got listed as a contributing author to Indies Unlimited: Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital World. (You can purchase this fromAmazon USAmazon UKBarnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

BigAls&PalsBig Als Pals consist of various people that he knows from across the globe. Some sound like editors. Some are Indie Author. And one of them is related to BigAl.
Indie authors are encouraged to send their books in for submission. However, there are two things you should bear in mind:
1. Submission is no guarantee of a review. The reality is that the majority of books submitted won’t be reviewed.
2. The purpose of the review is to tell READERS whether they should buy the book. It is NOT to help authors.
For submission guidelines, click here.
About negative reviews, click here.

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How to respond to a bad review

As I’m sure everyone has heard by now, there was an unfortunate incident last week in cyberspace when an author, smarting from her 2-star review, had a very public meltdown.

So, what should you do when you get a negative response? After all, you’ve put years and years of work into your novel, your characters are very personal, the tale you tell is personal, and in many senses having a novel is like having another child.

It goes without saying that you should never be rude. Not just because your mother told you not to, or because it’s good manners, or because you would be letting down the side, as we say in Britain. But because in a fundamentally practical way IT DOESN’T WORK TO BE RUDE. Think about it. The chances of convincing the other person of your point of view diminish considerably, and you harm your reputation. And if it goes viral on the web, as happened last week, the damage you do to yourself might become permanent.

What to do? Should you just take it?

Not necessarily

I see nothing wrong with answering negative comments providing that:

1. You have something to say that is valuable to the community at large,
2. You feel that there has been a genuine misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up
3. You are polite.

BUT if what you have to say to a negative review doesn’t fall under the above, or you are just too upset to think straight, then the best thing you can do is to be silent.

I know that silence sounds weak, the sort of thing a doormat might do. But that is an unhelpful myth. Silence can be a sign of strength. No-one can argue with someone who is silent, and no-one can lose dignity by being silent.

Why not give yourself a treat of a month, week or day away from cyberspace? Take a walk. Practice your violin. Paint. Sew. Quilt. Get on the phone and invite a friend to lunch. Do something that doesn’t involve typing on a computer.

Bad reviews hurt. They sting, and it can take some time to recover. It’s OK to be upset. It’s OK to be angry, and want to get back. But you should never ever have a public meltdown over it. Don’t ever forget that the messages you send out into the ether never go away. Never forget that any conversation you have over the web, however seemingly private, is public. If you remember that, you won’t write something that will come back later to bite.

If you have any stories you’d like to share, or tips on how to help writers who’ve suffered the bruising of a bad review, feel free to comment below.

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–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear. FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself