Replying to a Negative Book Review?

I may have mentioned a time or two that I am a BIG fan of Chuck Wendig’s TERRIBLE MINDS blog.

I haven’t read any of his books. I really ought to. They ARE on Kobo, after all – but the household budget this year has been strained a little by my wife’s return to college and my book-buying addiction has been voluntarily curtailed.

Still, his blog makes me giggle and it teaches me at the very same time.

Just yesterday I read a blog entry of his that spoke about the reasons WHY a writer ought to think twice about replying to negative reviewers.

Let me add my own two bits here.


Oh sure, you’re going to say. That’s good advice, Steve, but I don’t have to follow your advice now – do I?

Well yes, it is good advice. And it is JUST my advice – and no, before you can say it I am NOT the boss of you.

But is good advice – even though it is JUST advice.

Same as – “Do not put your foot in that bear trap!” is just advice.

So, now that I have established that I am indeed a knowledgeable guru-giver of good advice that you really ought to listen unless you LIKE the idea of a bear trap as a pedal accessory – I probably ought to tell you WHY I think that replying to negative reviews is a BAD idea.

Listen – that negative review is just somebody who has made their mind up – and no matter HOW persuasively you try to encourage them to see things your way – odds are you are going to wind up in the middle of a discussion that most likely will turn into a digital fist fight and might possibly result in an onslaught of bad reviews – either delivered karmically by some unseen dubiously-benevolent get-your-goat god – OR – delivered to you by an angry peeved-off steamed-up mad blood-stalking book reviewer who has made it their personal mission in life to hunt your e-books down and bash them unmercifully until they either die, give up, or take up stamp collecting.

Remember – the One Hundred Year War – that really lasted about 116 years, if memory serves – started out with two old boys standing in a field saying “I disagree”.

If you want to read Chuck’s blog on this matter – and about a billion reader comments swing on over to TERRIBLE MINDS and maybe even follow it – because a good blog is a terrible thing to waste.

AND – while you are in the blog-reading mood – why don’t you hit this link and give a look-over to my other take on this situation – ADVICE FOR DEALING WITH A BAD REVIEW.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

2 responses to “Replying to a Negative Book Review?

  1. Reviews are for readers, not authors. It’s never good to respond to a negative review, but some authors do. It is literary suicide, and one big lash-out can sidetrack a writer’s career for some time (in addition to making him/her look like a childish @ss). Of course, many new and inexperienced authors disagree with me on this, but ohwell. 🙂


  2. Until I can secure the services of a good reputable discrete hit man I have resolved to NOT reply to negative reviews.

    Besides – at the end of the day a negative review is nothing more than a long string of words. You show me a writer who is AFRAID of words and I will show you a severely geeked up personality!


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