Of course, no one likes a bad review. I had one for The Blood that Binds that I felt was entirely unfair and vitriolic. I went ballistic over it. It was my first book–my baby. I cried. I groused to friends and family. I’ve held a grudge for a decade, but I kept it off the net.
When I was editing some of that first book to be included in The Luckless Prince, I read that review again…and do you know what? That review had changed. This time, it actually had valid, useful points that helped during the edit. I still didn’t agree with everything the reviewer said, but time and distance granted me perspective enough to realize she might not have been totally wrong.
A second reviewer objected to Prince Roland’s vacillation, running hither and yon and back again. With this in mind, I strengthened his motivation for each leg of his journey, and it made a positive difference. Roland is a more sympathetic, likable character when he behaves rationally.
So, what do you do with a review? If it is a good review, thank the reviewer and link to it proudly. If it is a bad review, accept the lumps and move on. Making a spectacle of yourself is the last thing that you want to do. It will win you few friends, and sell even fewer books in most cases.
That still leaves the question of the genuinely destructive review, If this happens to you — whether it’s caused by a technical glitch, a sloppy reviewer or a jealous peer — you may feel compelled to take action. How do you deal with a review that’s beyond unhelpful, perhaps even damaging to your career? If it is actually potentially going to cost you money, as opposed to just something you don’t agree with, what do you do?