Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Disarming reviews: "So disappointing..."

I'm starting a new, weekly habit here on D.A. Confidential and I'm calling it "Disarming Reviews." Yes, I know that's an ambiguous label but it's intentional. Here's the plan: I want to take my bad reviews and disarm them, render them harmless, and do so in a way that is itself quite disarming. Simple, no?

But why would I do this? Two reasons.

First, as you might imagine, if a writer has a hundred good reviews and then one bad one comes in, guess which gets his attention? The words sting and smart, even for the writer with the thickest skin (and mine's pretty thick). But an author has to suck it up because there's a rule in the writing community that forbids authors from responding to, addressing, or otherwise interacting with reviewers.

"Reviews are for readers, not writers" goes the saying.

Fair enough. I don't do any of those things but you know what? Thumb tacks are for art projects, but they still hurt when you step on one. So, every week I'll be taking a bad review and not interacting with the reviewers, but rendering their words cute and harmless. Like this, which addresses my first novel, The Bookseller:


The second reason I'm doing this? Well, any excuse to put my kids in videos...

Oh, in case anyone wants to give me points for originality, please don't. I saw this done on a website where children's book authors read aloud their bad reviews. It's awesome.
Here's that site: http://noblemania.blogspot.com/2014/01/childrens-authors-read-reviews-of-their.html


  1. She has got to be the most adorable kid ever.....Can she do my performance appraisal this year? i'm an avid reader and i loved The Bookseller, but then, i'm related to you and my opinion doesn't count.

    1. I'm not related to him...never met him, and I also loved The Bookseller, so my opinion can count.

  2. Every opinion counts! And thanks, she's pretty cute, I agree. :)

  3. This is such a fabulous way to face your less-than-stellar reviews. My favorite part is the smile and giggle after, "So disappointing."

  4. Oh my God, her face at the end before she smiles at you, Mark...PRICELESS!! She definitely took the sting out of a bad review. Is she for hire? I could use her talents.

  5. Thanks Michelle and Nancy.
    And yes, you can hire her, Nancy, if you ever get a bad review, which seems highly unlikely. :)

  6. Thanks Heather. Sting has its place, but it feels good to remove it, too. :)

  7. You know, I really and truly believe that the number of reviews counts waaaaay more than the average rating. If you are to pick between a book with 2 5-star reviews and a book with over a thousand of reviews with an average of 3.8 stars, which one will you pick?

    Aside from that, the video is adorable indeed. :-) And a less than stellar review is welcome if it makes some kind of constructive criticism, but in this case there's no take-home message. In these cases all I can think of is that they were having a bad day and they decided to unleash it on you. Alas, it's one of the side-effects of being famous. :-)


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