How to cope with a ⭐ review

Spines of paperback books displaying their titles.
Picture credit: Annie Spratt and Unsplash

My psychological suspense novel The Secret Life Of Carolyn Russell was released on 3 July 2023 and received a ⭐ review less than a month later. No author likes to have their hard work criticised but what drives someone to write nasty things? Here is the review so that you can get a flavour of the criticism.

Readers do invest considerable time in finishing a novel and it must be frustrating to find the story isn’t the one they’d anticipated. Having said that, I can always find something to appreciate in novels that are not to my taste. I tracked down the writer of this  ⭐ review and found she had levelled similar criticism at a novel with over 3,000 positive ratings. This brought some comfort and made me realise that it’s only one person’s take on my work and not a consensus. 

I’ve spent time thinking about negative reviews and believe they don’t necessarily impact on sales. Certainly my novel’s ranking on Amazon didn’t take a nose dive after the ⭐ review was posted. A few readers might be tempted to invest in a purchase simply to see which side of the fence they might fall on, others may buy the book in sympathy with the author. One thing is for sure, I’m now happy to receive any review whether it be good, bad or ugly. It’s confirmation of the interchange between writers and readers which is part of the process of launching work into the world. 

How do reviews influence your book-buying patterns?

(This piece contains some of the same subject matter from a recent post on my blog.)


  1. Difficult to swallow such harsh criticism, but at least the reviewer had ended with “I see I’m in the minority, as most reviewers have enjoyed the book.”
    It seems, from your check into their input, that they make a point of such untypical reviews, so it looks as if the problem is theirs rather than yours.

  2. Wow, that is harsh. I don’t see why the person took the time to write that, but you noted that’s their pattern. I like Gill’s take on it!

    A writer friend of mine – who has been quite successful self-publishing – told me years ago that she never leaves anything less than 3 stars, as she appreciates the incredible efforts it takes to write any book!

  3. Most book bloggers take the same approach and don’t publish reviews that are less that 3 stars.

  4. Oh Gail!
    That’s just nasty!
    But there are some people in this world who aren’t happy unless they are miserable, and some people for whom nobody can do anything right. Except themselves, of course!

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