Novel Marketing

Novel Marketing

Where Negative Book Reviews Come From And How to Make Them Go Away

May 25, 2020

Reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are critical for online book sales . But too many bad reviews can tank your book’s success, especially if the negative reviews come shortly after your launch. 

The first reviews your book receives are the most important. They set the tone for future reader reviews. Your first reviews must be good, and that is why having a strong book launch is important.

You need to know:

* Where negative reviews come from* How to get fewer negative reviews* How you can make some negative reviews go away completely. 

Where do negative book reviews come from?

Source #1 Politics

Rest assured, I’m not talking about political politics. If your book touts the virtues of Ford, don’t be surprised if Chevy fans leave you negative reviews. If you hype the iPhone, don’t let negative reviews from Android users get under your skin.

If you take a stand with your book, be it fiction or nonfiction, you will get negative reviews from people who disagree. The good news is those reviews are rarely about the book itself. Most people don’t pay to read books they disagree with. Instead, they will be critiquing your public appearances and your associations.

Many of the unfavorable critiques of Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Principles for Life(Affiliate Link) do not address the book itself. Negative reviewers speak about him as a person. They criticize his affiliations or comments he has made outside of the book.

Politically motivated negative reviews boost your sales. Let me say that again. Politically motivated negative reviews boost your sales.

If your book is about how amazing Ford is, negative reviews from Chevy fans cause Ford fans to love you more. So celebrate! 

What to do about these negative reviews:

* Ignore. There is no value in reading these reviews. These are not your people.* Celebrate! Negative reviews from the “other side” mean your book is getting traction. 

Source #2 Expectations Mismatch

Bait your fishing hook with bait that attracts the kind of fish you want to catch. If you don’t want to catch catfish, don’t use stinkbait! The same holds true for how you promote and place your book.

Bad reviews typically come when the reader’s expectations do not match what the book delivers.  

If the book looks like a dark urban fantasy and turns out to be Christian literary fiction, that mismatch will result in bad reviews. A mismatch will also repel the right readers who would have left good reviews. 

Reader expectations come from:

Other Books in the Same Genre

If the other books in your genre all include a kissing scene, and your book does not, then you will end up with an expectations mismatch. 

The Cover

If your cover indicates the book is a cozy romance, and in reality, it is a steamy romance, you will get some negative reviews.

When I say a book has a “bad” cover, I do not mean it is pretty or ugly. A “bad” cover is simply using the wrong bait to catch the right...