Bad reviews happen. That’s just a fact of a writer’s life. Everyone gets them, from Stephenie Meyer to Stephen King to Mitch Albom. Like the sunrise, death, and taxes, bad reviews are gonna come.
Now, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck to get one. It does. But the longer I am in this crazy scene the more I realize that you can’t let them get you down, and you can’t just respond to them with a knee-jerk post about why the reviewer is wrong. Because after all, there is no such thing as an incorrect opinion. That’s why they are opinions. I can tell you that I think asparagus is nasty, and you can spend thirty minutes telling me how much you love the stuff and how it takes a subtle palate to appreciate the fine flavor, etc. etc. etc. But in the end, I still don’t like asparagus.
I do think if a person is going to leave a bad review it should be more than “this book sucks monkey balls” or something equally uninformative, but there isn’t much to be done about that. Those reviews are going to happen, too. You just have to let them slide off your back and keep plugging. But there are some negative reviews that are far more valuable than even positive reviews. Those are the ones where the reader takes the time to articulate what they didn’t like about your book and why it didn’t work for them.
Those reviews are like gold. They are excellent teachers. That’s not to say that you should try and tailor your book to every sub-three star review you get, but you can still learn something from them. And you know what? When you learn something as a writer, it makes you a better writer.
So let the bad reviews come And when they do, read them carefully. Don’t take them personally, and see if there is something that you, as a writer, can take away from the review and use to make your work better.