The Truth About Bad Book Reviews


We’ve all been there. Everyone who ever put words on paper and presented it for the world to see has had this happen. Critics shame us, perhaps drag us through the mud, and can make us wonder why we put ourselves out there at all.
Maybe we just suck. Maybe everyone else is lying.
Michael Alvear wrote an article about this very thing where he quotes from neuropsychologist Rick Hanson’s book “Hardwiring Happiness.” He explains, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”
Why is that? Why is it that the 100 good reviews are suddenly forgotten? It’s as if they never happened. One sucky review from someone you don’t know—and will likely never meet—suddenly means everything. This quite possibly has to do with the way our brains are built, as mentioned above. We are hard wired to focus on the negative more than the positive.
So, what do we do with it? Is this bad review the end?
No, not at all. But let’s delve a little deeper.
When an author never receives bad reviews, it’s highly suspect. Put yourself in the readers’ shoes. When there is nothing but five-star reviews for a book, the first thing you consider is an author may have gotten their friends and family to post reviews for a book they might not have read.
Not only that, but some authors pay for fake reviews. This has been a real problem on sites like Amazon. It’s why Amazon has the hardcore review policies it does, to weed out the not-so-honest. So, that one-star review sitting there in between all the four and five stars makes everything look legit. It’s potentially a “real” reader. It’s a “real” thought. It’s someone who, despite what they might have said, took the time to actually read and finish the book, and comment on it. That one or two-star review is really a badge of honor.

Read the entire article in the July/August 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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