How to deal with a 1-star review

My book now has 2 reviews on Amazon: 1 five star review (of an author with the same publisher) and 1 one star review of a book reviewer (going by the name Kindle Reader). I was surprised by that last review, more so since I didn’t know who reviewed the book.

Written on the 7th November, I discovered it on the tenth – and this was the first Tweet I send out:

My one-star review on Amazon reminds me that you can’t please everyone. Nevertheless, even though it sucked (for that reader) – thanks for reading it. And have fun!

At that moment, I still believed it to be a fair (though somewhat harsh) review of someone. Now, my perfect score of 5 stars was gone, but that actually never bothered me. 5 stars mean nothing, really. They say someone liked it (that’s always nice), but the review is also written by someone I know.

Book reviewers, however, often give you the choice: they will tell you that they don’t like your book, but if you don’t agree, you can ask them not to publish it. Then they won’t.

In this case, once I checked the link to the Kindle Reader‘s account, I figured she had to be a book reviewer (I will explain later why I call her a ‘she’) if only because she reviewed 10 books that 7th November.

Secondly, there was a personal touch to the review that ‘good’ reviewers don’t do.

About a boy named Monty, who is autistic. The narrative almost reads autistic as it shifts suddenly and awkwardly at times. The whole thing’s quite slow and NEVER gets anywhere interesting.

So far, nothing to report. Okay, it’s harsh, but it’s about the book, as it should be. The sting sits in the end, though…

Just a TERRIBLE book! No organization. Just scattered all over the place. Makes one wonder if the author was autistic. Talk about being “fantastically askew.”

First, she can’t know if the author is autistic or not (I’m not). But while this is personal, I can still live with it. However, she also attacks my publisher (the fantastically askew) and I don’t see the value there.

This 1-star review was personal. I just didn’t know why. Until I remembered a discussion I had with an angry reviewer on the 1st November.

I send this that day:

Sent: Mon, Nov 1, 2021 1:04 pm
Subject: Please unsubscribe me from your list

She had offered me a free month to try her review service. I didn’t expect much, but I decided that if I didn’t get any reviews, I unsubscribed from her list. Since that couldn’t be done automatically, I had to send a mail and I send the above one.

This was her reply:

On 1/11/2021 21:11, Sandra Lopez wrote:

Okay, since you’re not willing to be part our program, then your book, Children of Little Might, will be removed from our review program and will NOT REACH our reviewers.

YOUR BOOK WILL NOT GET REVIEWS FROM US

I answered here back:

Thanks, but a book already moved from your list can’t get any reviews. Also, so far, no reviews came for my book. I have no hard feelings toward this, but your treats are empty and useless.
Either way, have fun and good luck with your project. Please remove me.

Peter

To be fair, my book WAS still on her list. I just didn’t find it (at that time). Also, I was 10 days early, but I figured that out after the fact. My mistake.

Well, in all honesty, you didn’t give your book a real chance in our review program.

If you were expecting 20 reviews, well, that’s just unrealistic since you only signed up for the free month.

Books that have gotten over 20 reviews from us are the ones that have STAYED in our program.

You’re not promoting your book very well if you give up on good resources like us, especially if they’re FREE.

If free doesn’t work for you, you might want to start paying then.

My reply:

When did I ask for 20 reviews? I would be thrilled if I had 1. I’m not angry I got nothing. The reasons for that undoubtedly lies with me. I don’t think I blamed you for anything. I merely saw no reviews and that’s okay. But I’m not going to pay for something that obviously didn’t work (in my case and for my book). I don’t have an endless supply of money (sadly enough), so I have to make choices. Sometimes hard ones.

Why should I pay for a service that promises 20 reviews when I pay, but can’t give me 1 for free? I tried the one month to see if it worked. If I got 1 review out of this, I stayed in. If I got more, I probably chose to pay for the service. It didn’t work out and since my book is no longer in your list (the last one you send around), I figured it made no sense to stay. I am not angry or disappointed, I just weighted my options and that’s it. I’m a good writer, but I’m not good at marketing it – I know that. I don’t blame anyone else but me for that. But when I noticed the book was gone, I figured the month was over. And since it didn’t work out for me, that’s why I asked to leave.
If I’m mistaken, I’m sorry.
Have fun (really),
Peter

So, the blame goes both ways. I was too fast to reply, she probably a little bit too aggressive. It ended there and I thought nothing of it, until that one star review. So, actually, her book service did deliver me a review (thank you and kudos for that). Technically, that should be a reason to stay in the program. Still, I kindly decline.

Why?

There was no sale for that book during that period. I also didn’t send out a mail with a digital copy of my book to any reviewer (during that period). My big issue lies not with the 1-star review (though, admittedly, it stung), but with the fact she didn’t read the book. At all. And still wrote the review.

BUT: it’s easy to blame someone. If she wrote a five star review, I probably wouldn’t complain; probably not even if I discovered she didn’t actually read the book. 5 stars, you know. So, maybe, I’m a bit of a hypocrit here.

I admit I thought of ways to get back at her, but in the end, I decided against it (I’m too lazy to be bothered). And I really don’t mind, because a 1 star review is much more valuable as a marketing tool than you imagine. She gives you some general ideas of why the book sucked (for her), but there are never any examples. And let’s face it: if she bothered to read the book for real, I’m sure she found plenty. Examples: Monty uses words in different languages and then explains them (literally no one does that in real life), he keeps quiet, but he thinks his answers. I show he has autism (but maybe that’s not obvious to the reader), etc, etc…

So, Sandra: I wish you all the luck in the world and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the review I had hoped to get; though I prefer to get one after you read the book. Not before.

Have fun!

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