Replying to negative reviews is a BAD idea

 

I decided to do a bit of spring cleaning, headed to Goodreads to trim my TBR stack. There I came across a horrible case where an author’s meltdown after a one star review avalanched into a massive shitstorm and ended up ruining their book sales.

Most of the books in my TBR have average ratings above 4, so a book with a rating of 1.51 stuck out like a sore thumb. It had a nice cover, which made it all the more curious. So I clicked to see what was going on, scrolled down to see the Goodreads community questions and there I found my answer.

As it appears, a reader gave the book a ranty one star review and stated the author used the characters to convey propaganda about their socio-economical views. They also criticized some language misuse. The author wrote a long and whiny comment in response where he insulted the reviewer and it exploded from there. Other people wrote angry comments (one of the one star reviews has 900+ comments under it!), the author wrote more heated replies, which resulted in people organizing brigade campaigns to rain one star ratings on the book.

Judging from the statistics of the ratings, people shared screenshots of the abusive replies from the author and it went viral in book reviewer communities, which resulted in the book getting downvoted into oblivion.

The author realized his mistake and deleted the awful comments, but it was too late.

I am not going to link to that book page or share the screenshots, for the details and identities do not matter.

Word to the wise: Never, ever reply to negative reviews for your book! Refrain from answering any sort of criticism on public forums. Let the positive reviews speak for themselves. So long you have enough number of 4 and 5 stars, a few one star reviews are not going to do much damage.

In the age of social media, getting all worked up about a couple of one star reviews is certainly not a good idea. That one star will turn into a thousand one stars in no time if you get involved and spark a drama war. Just don’t do it. Great literary classics, cult icon books and popular books with huge fandoms all have a whole bunch of one star reviews.

Besides, according to some studies, bad reviews boost sales of unknown authors. Here is the link to the Harvard Business Review article explaining the phenomenon:

https://hbr.org/2012/03/bad-reviews-can-boost-sales-heres-why

Bristolcon 2016 Report

I should have written this sooner, but the jetlag and the lack of sleep made it a bit difficult. Bristolcon is the first book/literature related convention I’ve been to, also the first time I traveled alone to unfamiliar territory in many years. It was the best convention I’ve been to, in terms of positive energy, super friendly folk, great authors and cozy atmosphere. In fact I can’t think of anything even close to the amazing overall experience -and I have been to a lot of different conventions/gatherings, many of them nerdy events.

There were interesting panels, but I went to only one and cause the airline lost my luggage and I have been busy chasing it down, I sadly missed the panel about Grimdark ladies where Anna Smith-Spark was a participant. However, I am not much of a panel person and I prefer sitting at the bar and talking to people. Sitting down for an hour and being quiet doesn’t agree with my hyperactive mind and talkative character. Therefore I don’t have much to report about the panels, it’s so not my thing. I am not sure if I can do panels even if I become a published author some day, I’d much rather sit at the bar and chat with the folk till I drop.

I was happy beyond words to finally meet some of my Facebook friends, even got to meet a bookish blogger friend, Sarah from Brainfluff blog, we chatted for quite a bit not realizing we actually were regular visitors to each other’s blogs. What a small world! It has been great to meet GR Matthwes, To Munro, JP Ashman, Luke Scull, Julia Kitvaira, James Latimer, Mhairi Simpson, RB Watkinson, Ben Galley, Andy Remic and many other awesome people whose names I can’t recall or didn’t catch. I talked to so many people my head is still spinning.

I was extra happy to finally meet Mark Lawrence and Agnes Meszaros (She runs That Thorn Guy and is behind all kinds of awesomeness) -that was perhaps the best part of the convention for me as a huge fan of Mark’s work.

After the convention closed, we continued the party at the bar and everyone had blast. Both the convention and the afterparty were brilliant, you could hop from table to table, talk to complete strangers and geek out about books, have drinks with the Facebook friends you got to meet in person. It was the complete opposite of the horribly exclusive convention scenes Kameron Hurley describes in a blog post. There were no closed wheels and whatnot, everyone was sweet and friendly.

Overall, it was awesome to meet the fellow fantasy fans, grimdark lovers and geek out about books nonstop till we all dropped. Not to mention I added even more books to my ever-growing TBR pile.

Here is a bunch of photos from the con and the afterparty: Bristolcon 2016 Photo stack

I am already looking forward to Bristolcon 2017!