I Got a 2 Star Review… and Didn’t Even Flinch.

2 starsAuthors seem to live and die by reviews. That moment you check your amazon author page and see that a new review has come in is both thrilling and terrifying. At least it WAS to me. Now… not so much.

You see, two weeks ago, out of the blue, I landed in the hospital for a full week with a severe pan colitis attack. One moment I was running around NYC without a care in the world, and the next, well, I wasn’t. The scary thing is that there is still no real diagnosis, except that I couldn’t eat or drink and the only thing keeping me going for days on end was IV fluids. It was one of the most disgusting, painful, and frankly, frightening experiences I ever endured and needless to say, there were some pretty dark times. I watched my skin dry up before my eyes, my weight plummet, and now even a full week out of the hospital, I’m not back to where I was and the doctor said it could take two to three weeks more to feel like my old self and stop holding my stomach when I walk. Sigh… (I am getting better every day though, so there is light at the end of this tunnel). But, back to the topic of this blog.

You see, right before I was admitted to the hospital, I’d just completed a Book Bub promotion for my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU. The promotion went well and I sold a nice amount of books, so I was expecting some reviews to come in for that, along with the sequel.

Well, when I got out of the hospital and finally had the energy to turn on my computer, I decided to pull up my amazon page, and, lo and behold there was a new review for The Hunt for Xanadu. A brand new spanking 2 star. Here it is if you’d like to read it: “This is one of those rare instances where they probably need to make a movie to appreciate this book more poo. Unfortunately the descriptions were hard for me to imagine and found myself glazing over certain areas of the book. This seems like a movie that turned into a book.” Yes, it actually says the word “poo.” I wish they were able to edit themselves so I actually could find out what they really meant to say.

Now, in my previous, “un-fighting for my life author brain” I would have freaked out and been so upset by this two star review. Now? I looked at it, and still look at it, and it’s like it has absolutely no impact. I sort of shrug and say, “Meh, sorry you didn’t like it…” and move on. Truth be told, I kind of like the review – the book should be a movie and I’m still happy the person bought it and took the time to read and review it. Come on, not every book has all 5 Star reviews… it also gives my novel some sort of weird validation. Still, the hope is that people will take the time to write a review, even if it is only a few lines.

So what I want to leave you with is this. Yes, bad reviews hurt your feelings and impact your rankings, but they mean nothing. Not in the scheme of life. It’s someone else’s perception of a personalized piece of your work, just like artwork, choice of clothing, food, home decoration, anything subjective. Let it go. Read the good reviews. Relish in them. Maybe find something relevant in the bad review to take away, but don’t dwell. At the end of our days no one is going to be bringing up our two star reviews at our eulogies. They’re going to bring up all the wonderful glories we brought to the world. I promise you that.

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22 thoughts on “I Got a 2 Star Review… and Didn’t Even Flinch.

  1. I agree with the two star review, sort of. It should be a movie. I seldom say that about a book but as I read Xanadu, I was thinking this book has the complexity to be a great movie. My review will be coming soon. I am glad you are on the way to recovery and you came out of your illness with a new perspective.

  2. Somehow, something tells me that in a eulogy at your funeral, somebody is going to mention that 2-star review – it could be me!! LOL. You have the correct mentality on this subject. People tend to fluster over a low review when in reality, it is nothing more than that person’s opinion. I used to follow the movie reviews and found out, go see the movie myself for my own review. Why should I rely on another person’s opinion. I have a mind, I have an opinion. And like my grandpa always said (and you like the phrase) “If we all liked the same thing, we’d all be jumping grandma.” And like William Alexander said when painting “You cannot have dark without ight.” That holds true for writing – what good is a 5-star review if all reviews are 5-stars? Be proud of that 2-star.

  3. This is something I struggle with. I am learning that everyone has an opinion and it’s OK if it’s not the same as mine. I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say, “If you don’t agree with me, don’t listen to my show.” I’d love to get where you are when it comes to readers reviews. My goal is to be able to say, “If you don’t like what I write, quit reading it.”

  4. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better. As for the review, as you said, very few books get all five-star reviews. And if they do, you have to question how many of those are real. No book is perfect, and cannot appeal to every reader.
    I would be curious, though, to find out just what the reviewer meant by “poo.”

    • You and me both… I’m thinking maybe a line got deleted? Either way, that’s what’s on Amazon now, so he looks rather illiterate in the first place. Which I guess is good. The book is complicated and deals with ancient buddhist spiritual mysteries, so it could have been too much for him.

  5. I agree with you about reviews, Elyse. A review like that serves as a reminder that all kinds of strange people are reading your books. Glad you’re doing better; it’s nice to see you back here.

  6. I generally get good reviews on my books but noticed that the least favourable ones are those who felt my books were too short (novellas) and rated me on that rather than how the story took them. I learnt to take them with ‘a pinch of salt’ now as everyone got different reading tastes and standards to book length so your posting is a nice reminder to other authors – just let it go!

    • Thanks for commenting, Mark. We’re at a point that we’ve put ourselves in the public eye and we have to let go – we can’t control what other people do, so why stress about it? By the way, it’s not like your folks didn’t know how long the book was – the page count is listed right on the amazon page – lame to mark you lower for that. People are interesting, that’s for sure.

  7. Reblogged this on Just Can't Help Writing and commented:
    I’ve been the recipient of a couple of very bad reviews (sadly, in important places) that were fortunately balanced by excellent ones. I really appreciate getting this kind of reminder as I start working toward getting new reviews for my previously published mystery novels set in the Thoroughbred racing world. Thanks to Elyse, and I hope she’s doing well now!

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