Turning a Negative Book Review into a Positive

You can’t win them all. It’s as true in book publicity as it is in any other part of life. So when you open up that newspaper or log on to that blog only to find your book torn to pieces by a rabid reviewer, how do you possibly walk away with some positive thoughts?

The first thing to keep in mind that while many reviewers will give their honest opinion, some aim to dish out a terrible review for the sake of entertainment purposes to build up their own notoriety (enter the old phrase “sticks and stones…” here). For the bad reviews that may hold some merit, instead of envisioning running them over with your car, you, as an author, need to take it as constructive criticism.

If the editing job of the book is under attack, take a look at your book and see if you perhaps missed some grammatical or punctuation errors. Having these bloopers pointed out in a public forum is a tough pill to swallow, but unless you want to continue to make the same mistakes, you need to take a lesson from it and move on. Is the editing of your book stellar but the format or design of the book under fire? Is the reviewer critiquing your character development? As hard as it may be, take these observations and lay them against your book – it’ll hurt, but it’s important to know what areas you need to strengthen before moving on to the next project.

Bottom line: if your dream is not only to be a published author, but the best writer you can be, you need to take the good reviews with the bad, and use it all to your advantage.

Melissa Sileo is the Director of Publicity Services at Smith Publicity, Inc. Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity is one of the world’s leading promotional firms, specializing in book publicity. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, the company has worked with over 900 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and businesses representing a wide range of industries. The Smith Publicity reach is international with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, and London. For more information about Smith Publicity, Inc., please visit www.smithpublicity.com.