Dealing With a Bad Review

Some people will really hate your book.

Some people will really hate your book,

So today, I got a three star review. That might not seem so bad, but the review had almost nothing positive to say. I’m in no way trying to call that reviewer out or focus on the review itself, only to call attention to the fact that it’s hard to deal with a bad review, especially when you may disagree what the person said.

For instance, if they say, “Bob’s sister was Mary, not Jane! That’s a serious consistency error!” you’re not allowed to show them to page 58 where you introduce Jane and Mary as Bob’s sisters, plural, and throttle them until they take back your two-star rating. It doesn’t work like that.

People will find creative reasons why they didn't like your book.

and they’ll find creative reasons for why they hate it.

In a perfect world, people would only read books they liked, but unfortunately that doesn’t happen. People will read your book and not like it. It’s inevitable. They’ll read your book because they liked your cover then complain that they don’t like the genre. They’ll read it and hate it and speed through it just to finish and then complain that your story felt rushed. The only way past is to just get over it.

There will always be critics.

There will always be critics,

Harry Potter has tons of bad reviews. 50 Shades of Grey has tons of good reviews. One review either way will not make or break your story. Some people just aren’t going to like your story. It will be too sexy for them or too fantasy or your character’s name will remind them of their ex. Whatever it is, it’s not a big deal. They aren’t your target audience.

You will always have fans, though.

but you will always have fans, too.

First, you need to remind yourself: You wrote a book. That’s a big accomplishment, so good on you. At least you wrote it and got it out there.

Next, ignore the bad reviews. Look at all the nice ones you’ve gotten. Focus on the positive, not the negative. Every time a review is even slightly critical, I think about the one fan I have who requested to buy my book before it was published and has nothing but good things to say about it.

Your fans will always have something nice to say.

They’re the ones you’re writing for,

Lastly, remember that you can always take it back. If your book gets only bad reviews, maybe it isn’t ready for the world. You can take it down, do some serious rewriting, and then release it as a second edition. All the reviews, good or bad, will be wiped clean. You can have a fresh start.

So just move right past the bad stuff.

so just move right past the bad stuff.

How do you handle a bad review?

My Bookshelf: The Bard’s Daughter


Title: The Bard’s Daughter

Author: Nicole Shepard

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Alexandria Findahl was five years old when she decided her future; she was going to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a bard, traveling the country and sharing her musical talent with the world. Her mother rails against her decision and her father is amused, encouraging her once he sees that she really does have talent, maybe even more than he does. The people in her town openly shun her, she has no friends except one, Daniel Thacher, the son of her father’s best friend and a young wizard. As she grows older she realizes that what she thought of as friendship is quickly turning into love, love she can only hope he returns. Spurred on by a steamy kiss shared between them one summer, she finds herself dreaming of a life with him and forgetting, however briefly that she wants to become a bard, that she is not interested in marriage or a life filled with children and boring domestic duties. After he fails to pursue the relationship she realizes she was wrong and renews her vow, determined to become the most famous Bard in all of Adelay.

Three years later she is accepted at the most prestigious Bardic school in the land and firmly on her way, but on the eve of her graduation she finds that her father has gone missing. She finds herself drawn into a deadly world in order to save him. Forced to seek help from Daniel, a member of the secret society that has caused her father so much trouble, she enlists the help of her two new best friends and they set out on a danger-filled journey to save him. Alexandria thought she was over Daniel, but her reaction to him and her inability to forget their one embrace makes her realize she has been living in denial. Daniel has been the only man to encourage her in her dreams and knows secrets about her, some she doesn’t even know, and whenever she looks at him she finds it hard to remember what exactly she was so determined to do. Will she be able to enlist his help and find her father or will she give in to her passion only to find death waiting at the end…”

My Summary:
A girl is going to Bard school and ends up getting drawn into a dramatic death plot of some sort. There are also sex scenes apparently?


  • I made it to chapter 3 before quitting. That’s something, I guess.


  • The writing is very juvenile. It’s obvious that this is self-published because no publisher would put this out there in its current state. The phrasing of some things is terrible. It read like the rubbish I wrote when I was 14.
  • I hate the setting. I thought it was supposed to be like in medieval times (but a fantasy version) but there were doornobs (invented in 1800s) and a “modest” house had two stories and the MC had her own bedroom with a bed and a dresser. The setting just seemed lazy, like the author wanted to write it as fantasy but didn’t want to do it fully. The author told me it was supposed to be an alternate fantasy universe, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
  • I don’t think Bards made as much money as she seemed to think they did.
  • The author relied heavily on cliches. Like, “…his gaze was so intense it was almost if he could see into her very soul.” Also, we have a halfling elf, a Mary Sue character, and a lot of focus is put on the ol’ “I’m a girl but I want to be a warrior, not domestic!” shit that gets real tiring after a while.
  • More on the Mary Sue-ness: She has violet eyes (the author said this would later become relevant, but that didn’t make it better in my opinion), she is SO VERY ATTRACTIVE that all the other girls HATE her out of jealousy… yeah… and she just comes off as a bitch, but an unintentional one.
  • Do you like tell, not show? Then this is for you. She calls the coachman judgmental for NO REASON and we’re just supposed to accept it because she said it, not because he acts like it. It’s just little things like that.
  • Finally, the author doesn’t use the Oxford comma. It’s a disgrace.

Would I recommend it?:
Absolutely not. I couldn’t force myself to continue reading. I got a free copy of the book when the author was complaining on Facebook about being turned down for a publisher. She wanted to know if it was bad or if the publisher just turned it down for no reason. Let me tell you, it was bad. Had I paid any money for this I would have been livid. I’m disappointed once again to have to give a bad review to a small publisher (self-publisher, actually). No wonder people have a negative view of indie publishing. (As a side note, the author was very ungracious about receiving an honest critique.)

Amazon link: