How to respond to reviews

The best way to respond to a new review is to say very little.

If you’re happy with the review, great! If it’s on Amazon, be sure to click “yes” where Amazon asks “Was this review helpful to you?” The most upvoted reviews will get featured on your book’s product page.

Take this opportunity to learn more about your readers, too. On Amazon, click the reviewer’s name to see other books she has reviewed. You can learn a lot about your potential audience by understanding what else your current readers have read, liked, and disliked.

Tips for handling negative reviews

Every author has his or her own way of handling less-than-positive reviews. Lindsay Buroker explains how bad reviews can actually be a learning experience for an author. Liz Long, on the other hand, says authors shouldn’t even read them (good or bad) because “reviews are for readers,” not writers.

Our recommendation —
Read all of your reviews at first until you find what approach works for you. In any case, two rules always apply:

  • First, do not comment on the bad reviews. You won’t change the reader’s mind, and engaging with negative reviewers usually causes more harm than good. If a review is so offensive or false that it violates the retailer’s review terms, you have the option of contacting the retailer and requesting that they take it down.
  • Second, try not to dwell. The best thing you can do is click “no” when Amazon asks if the review was helpful, and move on.

It may also help to remember that some of literature’s greatest works didn’t please every reviewer:

“Not nearly enough consistency and far to [sic] little plot.” —Review of Harry Potter And the Half Blood Prince

“Whitman is as unacquainted with art as a hog is with mathematics.” —The London Critic, 1855, on Leaves of Grass

“...a pointless and confusing story.” —Publisher’s Weekly, 1963, on Where the Wild Things Are

“For our part, The Great Gatsby might just as well be called Ten Nights on Long Island.” —Ralph Coghlan, St. Louis Dispatch, April 1925