Internet sucker punch via an Amazon review

Internet sucker punch via an Amazon review

I spent years writing my first book, Genesis. It only took a couple of days to get a scathing review. For a moment, it really stung. I’d used an editor, had a handful of beta readers go through it, and had an overall positive editorial review from Amazon’s Kindle Scout editorial board. For just a second, none of that mattered, because this was my second posted review and it was one star.

Before I go any farther, I want to sincerely apologize to the author (or close friend or family or an author) who posted it (just a suspicion, I’ll get to more on that later). 

When I reread the review, I realized the review was entirely vague. It made claims with no specifics. I hadn’t shared the book very much yet so it seemed clear that someone I knew had written a false review because they didn’t like me. Essentially, I came to the conclusion that someone was being vindictive.

At that point, I had the thought, “Are all this person’s reviews this negative?” So I clicked on the “Amazon Customer” (review name) link. When the page loaded, I found something pretty odd. See that picture on the left? This person, the one who gave me a scathing one-star review, is also following my author page on Amazon. Why would someone who can’t stand my writing want to receive notifications about any blog posts (hi there), or new books posted to my Amazon Author page? Probably because they really don’t like me. Given the authors this person was already following and the books they’d reviewed, they appeared to be very interested in science fiction. I texted my brother-in-law and complained about it. We commiserated about people being negative. 

To the reviewer, I hope you’ve read this far because this is where I started to recognize my own hypocrisy. I went to my own reviewer profile page, wondering who’s book I might have left a scathing review for to see if I could determine who it might be. Unfortunately, I read a lot of books, and sometimes, I leave vague, scathing reviews when I really dislike a book because I don’t want other readers to have the same negative experience I had. I read through some of those reviews. There are not many 1 or 2-star reviews, but there was a handful. I read them all. Some were specific in their critique, other’s weren’t. In most of them, the review was abrupt and not at all sympathetic to how the author might receive it.

That’s when I learned a small lesson about karma and consequences. While I felt like some of my reviews had merit, I deleted every 1 and 2-star review because they’d been written in an inconsiderate fashion and I’d offended someone. Offending other authors as a reader… not a great way to begin writing my own books.

So, that’s why I wrote this post because as one of my followers, that reviewer should get an email telling them about this new post. To the reviewer, if you haven’t actually read my book, I hope you will. If you already did or do in the future, and still have scathing feedback, please send it to me. I want to improve my writing.

As for future reviews, even if I finish the book in the middle of the night, I’m going to take my time and be a lot more careful about giving other authors critical feedback.