Bad reviews suck. Whether it's for a book, a new hair-style or the color you just painted your house, it can feel rotten for some stranger to diss it.
We've all gotten bad reviews at some time in our lives, but when you're writing books and they're out there on the Internet for anybody to comment about, that book, your baby, can be even more vulnerable to fly-by snarks.
Some people say to just ignore those nasty reviews, which is wise advice, but you can be even more proactive than that. Below are four tips for minimizing beastly reviews on Google.
#1 Don't Press That Bad Review Link Again!
I know, you're tempted. You just read it, and you feel as though you swallowed a tray of ice cubes. You want to show that nasty, mean-spirited review to your mother, your best pal, a coworker who wants to commiserate...DON'T.
Every time you click that button and re-read that bad review, you're sending a signal (literally) to Google and other search engines that the review is interesting to people. And when a search engine thinks people are finding some webpage interesting, that page gets boosted in rankings and more people see it. Hey, you don't want that so resist the urge to read and re-read that bad review, and don't pass on the bad-review link to others, either.
#2 Okay, You Clicked It Again. Now Fix It.
If you just couldn't resist pressing that bad-review link, click the back button on your browser and go visit one of your gushing-positive reviews. One of those 5-star babies that made your day. Good. Now close your browser. This sends a signal to Google and other search engines that this second interview, that effusive, darn-near lyrical one, has more impact that the previous one.
#3 Don't Search for That Bad Review Again, Ever
That rotten review might bug you -- did he/she (couldn't tell if it was a man or woman from their IEATCLOCKS Amazon ID) really say that your free book wasn't even worth that price??? As Tony Soprano would've said, fugghitabout. Re-read numbers #1 through #3, above. Don't even look for a keyword in that snarky review because guess what? You'll again be signaling Google and other search engines that those vile keywords are significant when it comes to your book.
#4 Don't Post a Rebuttal
Some people think it's a good idea to post a rebuttal, but I think otherwise. For starters, you're...yeah, you know the answer. By adding a comment to the bad review, you're adding relevant content to that review, which signals search engines that the review and its nasty keywords are significant.
Okay, so you're staying away from that bad review. Good! Here's a few more things you can do to proactively boost positive reviews of your book:
- Write content about your book. Write about some facet of your story, research, etc., and post it in your blog, your Twitter account, your Facebook page, and any other web presence you have.
- Sign up for interviews. There's all kinds of book bloggers and fellow writers out there who actively seek interviews with writers. Or, research the different book review blogs at BookReviewBlogs.com or Book Blogger Directory to see if there are any book blogs that fit your genre--then query those blogs for interviews.
- Hang a sign to encourage you to write, not mull over bad reviews. I have several writer-pals who do this. One has hung up a sign next to her computer that says "Be Your Best!" Whenever she has a moment of self-doubt, or has the urge to check out a lousy review, she looks at that sign and gets the boost to keep working at her craft. This writer is a New York Times best-selling author, by the way.
- Ask book fans and others to post positive reviews.
Carole Lombard Wore Her Bad Reviews!
This Hollywood star had a great, and bawdy, sense of humor. She once wore a gown covered with her own bad reviews to a formal party!
But first the backstory. Seems when Lombard's husband Clark Gable got some hideous reviews for his acting in a film, she decided that laughing at himself was the best medicine, so she posted some of the bad reviews around the MGM lot so he would come face to face with them wherever he went.
The below excerpt, from the site Dear Mr. Gable tells how Gable got back at her...but she had the last laugh at her own expense:
To get her back, for a one year anniversary present, (Gable) gave her a custom made gown designed by Adrian, with newspaper headlines plastered all over it: “Parsons Pans Lombard!” “Lombard Flops Again!” “Lombard Limited–And How!” “Critics Cauterize Carole!” Carole, head held high, defiantly wore the gown to the next formal party they attended, despite Clark’s protests.
Maybe having a sense of humor about life's bumps (and bad reviews) is the best advice of all!