Essential Tips for Dealing With Negative Book Reviews

Being an author is a great profession, and it allows you to let loose your writing talent, and earn money at the same time. However, as inviting as writing is, the profession could also be quite challenging. This is especially if you are releasing new content such as a book or an article through your online platform.

If you are thinking of being an author, you should expect to get bad reviews from readers. You should also know how to write a book review. This is a part of being a writer, and if you don’t know how to handle rejection, your will to write may get damaged.

Why do you get negative reviews?

Negative book reviews are a pain to deal with. These negative book reviews will not only make your work look bad to readers, but also can damage your self-esteem as a writer. Before you go out and confront the reviewer (which you should never do) you should at least wonder why you got the negative review, and decide for yourself whether the review was warranted or not.

1. Your writing

Before you start getting angry, you should take a long hard look at your work, and then the book review. If the book review called into account your grammar, spelling or overall writing style, then you should not overlook this. Maybe your writing could use a little bit of tweaking before you release another book.

2. Bad research work

Yet another reason why writers get bad reviews is bad research work. This is especially true for works based on history and other fact-based content. Contents that are not based on facts are usually easy to spot, and a major pet-peeve by many reviewers.

3. Your book layout and cover design

While your writing might be good, don’t think that this is the only thing that reviewers will scrutinize. If your book’s layout and cover design are lacking, book reviewers will not hesitate to call this out.

4. Personal issues

While this may be rare, there may be times where you will receive negative reviews because of personal reasons. Is there a fellow writer that you have problems with personally? Are they the type to hold a grudge? Would they go that far to sabotage your writing career? This may seem farfetched at first, however, there is a chance that this may occur during your writing career. If you have acquaintances who wish to ruin your writing career, then you should take this into account. They may write a negative book review just out of spite, and to sabotage your work.

5. Expectations that are not met

While marketing your book may be a good idea, this may also do harm to you in the long run. Your work may not meet up to the expectations of your readers, and they may write book reviews about your work in response.

6. Your choice of topics

Book reviewers do not limit themselves to scrutinizing the author’s writing style. They will also check the book’s topic, and the may sometimes criticize it if they do not like it. This is more likely if you are writing about topics that are controversial. If you are going to write about such a topic, you should be ready to get unfavorable book reviews in return.

How to get fewer negative reviews?

Getting negative reviews is a normal part of being an author. However, you should not take this as a matter of fact.

1. Take it as a part of the job

While it may hurt to get a bad review, you should remember that it is part of the job. Being a writer, you are expected to show off your work to the rest of the world. If you are easily discouraged, then you are in the wrong business. The negative review may feel bad at first, however, you should not let it lessen your motivation to write. This is merely an occupational hazard, and should not be taken as a personal attack against you. If you put too much attention on the negative review, this will just distract you from your writing, and you won’t get any work done.

2. Adapt a different mindset

Getting a bad review has always been a great fear of many writers, and they will do almost anything to avoid it. This is a common reaction, because negative reviews always sting. The stress could even damage your confidence as a writer. The best way to counter this feeling, is to have a new mindset. Instead of being defensive and offended by the book review, your mindset should be to accept the review and any criticism of your work. Don’t think of it as an attack, but as just a part of your journey as a writer, and also as a means to improving your work. Having a new mindset will allow you to get through this challenge and actually evolve further as a writer.

3. You are allowed to feel bad

A bad review is always an unwelcome thing for many writers. It not only points out your shortcomings, it also makes you feel inferior as a writer. This is further emphasized if your book review is posted online for other writers to see. While you should not let the stress damage your confidence, you should not ignore your feelings. You should allow yourself to feel bad. Getting bad reviews of any sort will always hurt, and you will feel bad. What’s important is that you feel bad, absorb the feeling of disappointment, and then move on.

4. Learn from the bad reviews

As you receive a negative review, you may feel that it is an injustice, and that the review has no warrant. However, you should ignore this impulse and remember that reviewers usually don’t give out negative reviews because of malicious intent. They usually give out bad reviews because they want the author to improve his or her writing style. Take the time to look through the review. What did the reviewer actually say about your work? Were there any pointers on how to improve your work? If there are, then take them to heart and use them to improve your future works.

5. Talk about your feelings

A negative review is always a very painful experience. It could harm your confidence as a writer, and cause you to lose your motivation to write. If the effects of the negative review still persists, you should not hesitate to talk to someone. If you have a friend who is also a writer, he or she should be your first choice. Because he or she will know exactly what you are going through, and know how to comfort you through it all. If you don’t have any writer friends, any family member or friend will also do.

6. Move on

Now that you have recovered from the shock of the negative review, it is time to move on. Dwelling on the negative review will not only hurt you further, it will also hamper your progress as a writer. Letting go of the feelings of hurt and insecurity may be a bit difficult at first, however, if you want to continually evolve as a writer, it is important that you let go and move on. Start on a new writing project, and strive to be a better writer.

How you can make some negative reviews go away completely?

No matter how hard you try, there will be times where negative reviews occur. As a rule, you should know how to handle, and address the book reviewer.

1. Answer negative reviews respectfully

If you still feel bad about the negative review, it is not a bad idea to answer the negative review. However, you should never under any circumstances be aggressive towards the reviewer. This will not really help your case, and will make you look petty and insecure. The best way to answer reviews is to be inquisitive, and ask for advice on how to be a better writer. Be respectful, and address him or her in a formal tone. If you feel that one of the points in the review are a bit unfair, you could call it to attention, however, you should not be confrontational and ask for an apology. Just defend your point of view, and give some justification why your work and methods are like that. You should not really expect an apology or any type of new review for your work. Think of this as a way to get in touch with the reviewer, and also gain closure for your book review.

2. Answer them as soon as possible

Once you get a negative review, you should not waste time. Try to make contact with the book reviewer as soon as possible. The sooner you respond to the review, the more effectively you will be able to address the issue.

3. Each response must be tailor made for each reviewer

If you are going to respond to reviewers, it is important that you respond to each of them with a message that is specifically made for each of them. If you just create one response, and then send them to all the reviewers, this will just make you sound insincere and won’t really help in solving the issue.

4. Don’t answer the review online

Most book reviews are done on various online platforms, which makes them embarrassing if the book review is negative. If you are going to respond to the book review, you should resist the temptation to do so online. You don’t want to have the whole world see your messages to the book reviewer. Readers may think this overly aggressive, and instead of defending your work, you will just air out your dirty laundry for the rest of the world to see. The best way to adress book reviewers is through email and other private messaging options. This will help you keep your privacy.

5. Follow up is key

Once you send out your message, you should make sure to follow up. This will show the book reviewer that you are sincere, and give you a chance to address whatever issue they have on your work.

6. Make sure the reviews are removed if they are malicious

While a negative book review is a part of being a writer, this does not mean that the book reviewer could go out and insult you. As a writer you should know the key differences between a constructive book review, and a malicious one. If the review has no constructive criticism and malicious in nature, you should not hesitate to have it removed. Remember that you should be patient, but that does not mean you should let yourself be bullied.


A key aspect of being an author is the ability to take rejection. Remember that sharing your work with the world will leave you open to bad reviews or rejection from readers. This is common, yet this does not make it any less painful. With these key tips, you’ll be able to handle negative book reviews no matter how harsh it is.

Become a Self-Published Author in 3 Simple Steps

Powered by Experts, Published by You. Reach 40,000+ Retailers & Libraries Around the World. Concierge Service. Tailored Packages. BBB Accredited Business. 100% Royalty Program.

Become a Self-Published Author in 3 Simple Steps
Close menu