Dealing with a 1-star review

As a new author, with a new ebook on Amazon, reviews are essential, especially good reviews. It therefore came as a bit of a shock, and disappointment, when my first review only awarded “An Illusion of Peace” 1 star out of 5. This was compounded by the facts that this rating had come from someone I know, and that the accompanying review text suggested that the reason was simply that the book was “not my cup of tea”.

In some ways I would have been happier with a direct criticism of the book. If they had found the characters unconvincing, the story dull or the conclusion unsatisfactory, at least then I would have some idea of where I had fallen short. But feedback that suggests that the only thing wrong was that the style or subject of the book wasn’t something that the reader would normally read isn’t terribly helpful.

Whatever the reason, this leaves me in the difficult position of being an unknown new writer, competing with hundreds of thousands of ebooks in my genre, with a 1 star review. It is difficult enough to sell an ebook, even at 99p, but the addition of a poor review might make this impossible.

Was I disheartened? Well yes. Did it make me wonder whether it was worth continuing to write? Yes again. But then, after a rather down day, I remembered why I write in the first place. To some extent it is for my readers, but in the main part it is for me. I enjoy writing, I think that my writing is OK, and there are worlds within me I want to explore. I don’t mean deep philosophical revelations, or ground-breaking insights into modern society and the human condition, I simply mean stories about interesting characters in challenging situations, their worlds, their hopes and how they cope with the crap thrown at them.

So I will soldier on, and enjoy the journey. Hopefully my readers will enjoy both that and the destination.

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