If you’ve published a book, started a business, or have put yourself out there in any way, social media can horrify you. Negative opinions hurt.
One way to handle negative reviews
Over the past month, a couple of my book marketing students have received negative reviews. While it’s fine for me to say: “DON’T read reviews if you think they’ll upset you — focus on writing your new book,” it’s not exactly helpful.
Then I found this article in SmartCompany about Zumbo, the celebrity pastry chef, who’s using his negative reviews as a marketing campaign:
“Overpriced, overrated and outrageous,” says one. “Definitely overhyped. My local bakery makes better macarons,” says another.
“Talk about overrated. We waited approximately 30 minutes only to be completely disappointed by the unimaginative and unimpressive desserts at Zumbo’s. We won’t return and I advise you not to bother,” says another reviewer.
Could you be not merely cavalier about negative reviews, but also embrace them?
It depends on how confident you are. From the article:
Zumbo said negative feedback also makes him work harder.
“It pushes you harder, even though you laugh at some of it you push yourself more,” Zumbo said.
Yes, negative reviews push you to improve, but they can also send you into a depression.
You can’t control what people think and say
You can only control what you do.
Here’s what I suggest to my students, if getting negtive reviews scares them:
- Use a pen name;
- Always be working on something new;
- If a negative review has a point (your formatting needs work, or you need an editor), fix the problems. On the other hand, if someone says they hate your heroine, there’s not much you can do.
- Laugh about it.
- Forget about it. Stay busy. Ideally, you’re too busy promoting and working to even think about reviews, good or bad.
Can negative reviews wreck your sales?
That’s my students’ biggest worry. Yes, negative reviews can be bad business if you run a hotel, or a restaurant. With books? No one cares. All books receive a range of reviews. People are smart. They’ll figure out the real value of your reviews by reading them, and whether or not they want to read your book from the sample.
Publish your next book, and the next. Read the reviews, and if you can fix a problem, fix, if not, move on.
Social media can be a challenge, but you work hard. Don’t give unnecessary mind-space to someone else’s throwaway opinion. Keep working.
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