Be Grateful for a Bad Review

Reviews are the least expensive and most effective form of book promotion. More than 300 titles are published each day. There is no way anyone can know and rank them.

That is why bookstores, libraries and readers rely so heavily on book reviews. Reviews sell books.

Occasionally a book receives a negative review. The reviewer might be having a bad day, might be envious of your success or may dislike your stand on some issues. Take heart. Any review is a good review because it results in ink. Exposure, kind or unkind, will bring in orders. Focus on the amount of ink, not the character of the words.

While some readers may be discouraged from buying your book from a bad review, others will see through the review and buy the book because the subject interests them.

No one remembers the negativity of the review but they do remember the title of the book. – John Kremer, 1001 Ways to Market Your Book.

Most reviewers are underpaid and overworked. Their contributions to bookselling go unrewarded and unrecognized. No one ever built a statue to honor a reviewer.

Many book reviewers are mean spirited. Even if a reviewer likes a book, he or she must find fault and write snide and/or patronizing little asides about the author’s character or motives that demonstrate the reviewer’s intellectual and moral superiority. – Andrew Greeley, author.

Just write the best book you are capable of writing; then, take solace in the fact that most people do not buy books on the basis of any review they actually read. —Steve Wasserman, book editor, The Los Angeles Times.

Few new products get the free publicity showered on books. Authors, publishers and booksellers owe a debt of thanks to reviewers. Hope for good ink and be grateful for bad ink. Ink is ink and ink is free.

A bad review is better than no review.

© Dan Poynter, the Voice of Self-Publishing, has written more than 100 books since 1969 including Writing Nonfiction, 4th Edition: Turning Thoughts into Books and The Self-Publishing Manual. Dan is a past vice-president of the Publishers Marketing Association. For more help on book publishing and promoting, see