The stages of reading a bad review.

Told in .gifs. Lots of .gifs. If you hate them, move along. Nothing to see here.

Another part of writing, though it won’t be your favorite, is unfavorable reviews. Reading reviews is something you either do or you don’t. I have friends that won’t read the reviews and prefer to use the sales figures as the standard for success.  There’s no right or wrong, it’s a personal choice. Me, I read reviews. Call me a masochist if you like. If you choose to read reviews, the day will come that you’ll get a crummy review. Let’s not focus on what was written, for the sake of this post I want to talk about the rating itself only.

You’re browsing the page for your book on goodreads/amazon/barnes & noble/any site you can think of that would sell your book, and you see a one star rating. One. Star. Out of five. Una  estrella.  Your eyes were happily moving along and BAM! Whiplash.


What the heck?!

You stare at it, turn your head this way and that. Maybe you stand on your head, hoping it’ll change. It doesn’t, but no one blames you for trying. Now that you’ve seen it, the healing can begin.


Step 1. Pretending is all good

Shake it off, no big deal. Who cares if you got a one star? No one reads reviews anyway. Except me. And readers. Like I said, no problem.

(Denial is strong with this one)


Am I upset? Nah. It happens.

Stage 2. Anger and Sarcasm

This is ridiculous. I bet it’s that girl I went to high school with that hated me. One star???? What crap is that?!?!?!

(Rational thought has flown out the window. If you’re an innocent bystander, slowly back out of the room)


No, I mean it, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

Stage 3. Comisseration

You know who understands me?  My writing friends.

(And they do. One stars hurt, justified or not. Honest reviews are important and we all have to get over the trauma of the one stars, so we’ll hug and give the one star the side eye glance)


Author 1: OMG! A one star? Author 2: I know, right?

Stage 4. Depression and Sadness

The cogs in your brain start turning again, rational thought kicks back in. Hello friend, I’ve missed you. Your personal feelings aside, the reader wasn’t into the book. If there’s nothing wrong with them, then it must be you.


Should I stop now?

Stage 5. Acceptance

Get back up and dust yourself off. Are you really going to let a little rejection stop you? Artists, musicians, and writers have been getting doors slammed in their faces since time immemorial. You can go your whole career and never make it big, but does that mean you failed?


Take today to get past your disappointment and tomorrow start anew. Congratulations! You survived your first low rating, you deserve a pat on the back.



Special note to readers who review!

Keep it up. You rock. One star or five stars, I’m glad you took the time to say something. Yeah, I’d love to get a solid five star author everyone loves, but those don’t exist. I cherish your honesty.


3 thoughts on “The stages of reading a bad review.

  1. Good humor based way to deal with it. I challenged my authors to not read their reviews for ONE calendar month. The junky review readers ended up with so much less stress they can now deal with reading them and don’t NEED too (like weight watcher-itus, the jumping on the scale every fifty minutes after peeing).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know it’s hard getting a bad review, and I honestly hate giving them. I know it hurts the author’s feelings, and that I’m calling their baby ugly. They’ve put a lot of time, effort, and thought into that book. However, I’d like to point out that I’m reviewing from my perspective, and the people who follow my reviews usually have similar interests. What I’m really saying with my review is, this isn’t the book for that group of people. For instance one book I reviewed was being marketed by the publisher to readers of paranormal romance, but it was written at a level more appropriate for jr. high students. I hated it and the marketing genius who tried to expand the title’s audience did neither the book nor the author any favors.

    I think it was Ilona Andrews who said every reader brings their own experiences, frame of reference, and history to a book so every single person reads a different book. So see, really, it’s them not you. 🙂


    • It can be hard to separate personal feelings. Our books really are our babies, but we put it out there and asked for an opinion. Very, very few reviewers are making a personal attack. All that I’ve dealt with have been professional and i can’t speak from experience about the ones that aren’t so nice. I try to remember even if you hate it, you picked it up in the first place. Silver linings, and all that jazz.


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