When Reviews Help and Hurt

So I have started to feel the effects of how one bad review can make or break something you want to sell. This has happened both on my Book and my Etsy Shop. Since I received an unfitting 1 star review of my book, it seems like it has been almost black listed. It still have 3.5 stars but my once 5 star book that was getting a good amount of hits is now trailing behind terribly. Something similar happened on Etsy too but I am still holding a 4.5 star rating. Is it just the way the site rates products? I don’t know what to do.

I want to be able to get my book into people’s hands but I really feel like they have judged it before they really got to read it. How is a new author supposed to get their name out there when a person writes a review that is completely opposite of all the others? Why does that review hold so much weight against the others? It doesn’t make any sense and it is rather frustrating.

Back when I had a 5 star rating my book would sell rather well for a no body author like me. And if I did a free promo it would do even better. Now it has hardly moved and it has been on a free promo for an entire day. Has anyone else had this problem and if so how did you fix it? I may not a “professional” author yet but NO book deserves a 1 star review. The time, effort and guts for an author to put out a very personal part of themselves starts the lowest with me as a 3 star. It’s just disrespectful in my opinion to rate someone so low when what you have to say is just out of spite.

So once again, I am asking for help so please comment. I don’t want to close my shop or pull my book when there is something I can do to help it. And if you have bought my book or a product on my shop, I do love to see reviews and comments. I can take constructive criticism but not if it done in a way that is only meant to hurt me and others like me. So don’t be afraid to review but make sure that whoever you review, every word is 100% true. And remember that the person who you are writing about does have feelings. If you wouldn’t say it to their face then maybe it isn’t best to put it in a review.

Any way, hope everyone is having a great day and I will see you next time. Bye!

7 thoughts on “When Reviews Help and Hurt

  1. Sorry to hear about your trouble.

    Have you tried sending out your book to review bloggers in order to get some more (hopefully positive) reviews?

    They could help to offset the negative one.


  2. The question of “quality” in books is very subjective. In my opinion, anyone who buys my book has every right to rate it however they like, 1 star, five star, and anything in between. When they’re rating my book, they’re speaking to their enjoyment of a product that I sold them; their rating is not any indictment of me as a person.

    That being said, I’ve gotten some fairly poor reviews, and I’m not sure that they have had much of an impact on sales.

    I did notice, however, that your book has been out for a while now. Note that Amazon’s algorithms favor newer books. The longer your book is out, the less visibility is has, and absent promotions, sales drop.

    I’m also not sure why you’re setting your book to free if you have no other books to sell. Typically, authors offer one book as a loss leader in hopes that readers will buy more books.

    Specifically regarding the quality of your book, I couldn’t help but notice that you open with a lot of telling instead of showing. I’m not sure that was the best choice as, absent as really compelling character voice, showing tends to draw readers into the story better than telling does.


    1. Hi One Reasonable Person, That is an very interesting perspective. I’m having the second book in proofing right now so in the mean time I thought a free promo would ve refreshing to the book. I’d love to hear more about the differences between showing and telling some more. Would that be with the actual book or the blog? Thank you so much for commenting. I do want to become a better author and produce wonderful books that people want to read 🙂


  3. Showing vs Telling was in regards to the book.

    Let’s say that you need to convey to your reader that your character is hungry. You have lots and lots of choices of how to do it. The simplest, most natural way is to simply tell the reader:

    Jane was hungry.

    The reader will definitely get the picture, but generally, this method isn’t considered to be engaging or immersive for the reader.

    Instead, you can choose to show an action and let the reader discern the information:

    Jane’s stomach growled.

    That sentence is, maybe, a little more immersive than simply telling, but not by much.

    If it’s important to your story, you can Show the reader how hungry Jane is by writing a scene where Jane digs putrid remains from a restaurant out from the bottom of a dumpster, all the while fearing that the chef is going to attack her with a cleaver.

    In your story, you start with several paragraphs simply telling me about what Nora’s life was like. In general, it’s considered better craft to open with something happening instead of telling the reader about the character’s backstory. You could have chosen to show these details about her life. Or you could have opened in the story present and dropped these details in later.


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