Dealing With Bad Reviews

Dealing With Bad Reviews by Colby Marshall

When we send our own pieces of writing into the world, be they in book form or blog or a poem written on a sheet of notebook paper, we always believe they’re worth something. In fact, we don’t just think they’re worth something. They’re our babies, and most of the time, we think they’re pretty. Unfortunately, no matter how beautiful that “baby” is, someone is going to think it looks funny. Therefore, I’m proud to present to you the Top Ten Ways to Deal With a Bad Review:  Colby Marshall

1. Sit on your hands. Repeat after me: “Never will I ever engage a reviewer, even if I think he or she is wrong.” He didn’t understand the story. She must not have read the whole book. Who does he think he is? Stephen King? While all of these may be valid responses in your mind, they won’t be to the person who wrote the review and will only make you look sour. The person writing the review has nothing to lose. You do. Keep your cool. There will be those who love your book, and then, there will be those who don’t. You can’t win ‘em all.

2. Use your phone a friend. When you have those urges to spew venom back at the reviewer and tell them exactly what kind of cross between a donkey and a baboon he must be to not understand the subtle brilliance and intricacies of your book, call and vent to a friend instead. You’ll get it out, plus, it won’t be in writing to come back to haunt you.

3. Re-read the positive. Remember that first good review you got, or that time your mom read your first draft and assured you it was perfect, you shouldn’t change a word? Now’s the time to pull that reinforcement to the forefront of your screen. Remind yourself that for every naysayer, there’s someone who subjectively likes your work.

4. Look up your role models. Quick! Head to your favorite author’s Amazon page! Now, scroll down to the reviews. I guarantee there is at least one one or two star rating. Click on it. Read it. See? Even the biggest, most awesome authors get bad reviews. It’s part of the game, so you’ve earned your stripes.

5. Say a bad word. You know you thought it…it’s better to go ahead and let it rip in the privacy of your own home. Now, don’t you feel better?

6. Write your own bad review of some book you didn’t like. Then, promptly delete it, because dang it, you’re not a jerk like that guy who left you one!

7. Now, write your own good review of the latest book you read and liked. Post it. Because dang it, karma will come around.

8. Have some chocolate or a glass of wine. Hey, you deserve a reward for being such a caring son of gun and leaving that positive review.

9. Laugh. You, your readers, your friends, and your dog all know that it was hilarious how the gal who left her evil mark on your masterpiece misspelled the word “alliteration,” and that she called your character Biscuit instead of Bruno. Take a moment to chuckle at the review. I promise it’ll help it to slide right off your back.

10. Most importantly, take note of anything the ridiculous, horribly-thought out, mean, short-sighted review might’ve actually gotten right. Hey, even wicked people can stumble on a good point now and then. Put it down in your mental notebook so that next time, he or she won’t have it to comment on. Then, go ahead and write something else and stop thinking about it. You’ve given it ten steps…in this case, you’ve admitted you have a problem, so twelve steps would be too many.

How do you deal with negative feedback?


The road to the Oval Office is paved in blood…

The simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President catapults the Speaker of the House into the White House as the first female President of the United States. Evidence points to a former Navy SEAL as one of the assassins.

Relegated to writing sidebar stories instead of headlines, journalist McKenzie McClendon composes a scathing story about the Navy training killers.

Former Navy SEAL Noah Hutchins doesn’t believe his partner could have committed the heinous crime. They’d endured the horrors of Afghanistan together. His buddy was a hero, not a murderer.

No one who knows the truth is safe…

Thrown together in a search for the truth–and a career-making story–McKenzie and Noah must unravel a dangerous web of lies that includes a radical foreign faction, a violent ultra-feminist group, and corrupt politicians willing to kill to keep their secrets.

And an assassin who is still on the loose.

His next targets are already in his crosshairs…

Chain of Command is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, iBooks, Kobo, other major e-readers, directly from the publisher at (free shipping), or in select independent bookstores.

Watch the official book trailer for Chain of Command here:

You can learn more about Colby and her books at


About Colby Marshall

Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she is a perpetual workaholic. In addition to her 9,502 regular jobs, she is also a contributing columnist for M Food and Culture magazine and is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. She is actively involved in local theatres as a choreographer as well as sometimes indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress. She lives in Georgia with her family, two mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status. Her debut thriller, Chain of Command is about a reporter who discovers the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President may have been a plot to rocket the very first woman—the Speaker of the House—into the presidency. Chain of Command is now available, and the second book in her McKenzie McClendon series, The Trade, is due for publication by Stairway Press in June 2013.