In this article excerpted from Episode 6 of the Books, Business, Abundance Podcast, Michele Pariza Wacek shares her thoughts on you shouldn’t be afraid of bad reviews and how to use them to improve your book(s).
Michele: Putting a book out there, even if it’s flawed, even if it’s got a horrible cover, even if the title isn’t right; it’s still better (than not putting it out). Because to me, if I hadn’t gotten the feedback that I did, and if I hadn’t had the chance to be on and be interviewed and speak about it and all this other stuff, I wouldn’t have gained the necessary experience and insight in order to write the next two books.
Ellen: That is great. And you know, I love reviews when they’re not good, but they’re constructive criticism.
Ellen: So what you just said, yeah, sometimes it can really help you improve your writing, so …
Michele: Yeah, don’t be afraid, exactly. The thing is, is that nobody’s perfect. So if you can get beyond that. And if you can get beyond the cruelty piece of it. But yeah, a lot of times you can take that criticism and incorporate it even in another draft, or just for future books.
I know for one constructively criticism negative review I got on Goodreads, I actually reached out to her. Which is interesting, I went back and forth on this, ’cause Goodreads puts all these red flags like, don’t reach out to people. ‘Cause obviously they don’t want me yelling at her, which I wasn’t going to do.
What I did was I reached out and I said thank you for your review, and she was very much, it sounded like she wanted more the how-to book. So I said look, this first book wasn’t meant to be a how-to book, my second book is, and I’d be happy to send you a copy free just because I think you just got the wrong book.
And then I went through and tried to change my marketing more so people would buy the correct book. And she was very, very sweet about the whole thing. In fact she says, no no, I’ll probably just go buy it myself. She didn’t want it.
But yeah, so that’s the kind of thing. So when you get that feedback I’m like, oh I guess I need to, I guess I wasn’t, I went back and reviewed and did some more tweaks on the description. Because even though I had books out there, obviously something wasn’t clear enough and the person got into the wrong book.
Ellen: You know, that is a really great point, because I had a client who wrote a book, and when he put it up on Amazon, he had the same issue where he was getting some reviews that weren’t happy. And what I realized was that, it wasn’t that it was a bad book, it was that the expectation of it was something different than what it was.
Ellen: Yeah, and people do not like that. They get very upset when that’s the case. In his case they were saying, well, it’s not breaking new ground but it’s a practical guide. And so I finally said look, in your subtitle, why don’t you just say, a practical guide to … you know, what it is. Because people will love it when they’re getting what you say you’re giving them.
Michele: Exactly. Yes. And you know, on Amazon, those bad reviews can really hurt you. I’d say if you get some disgruntled people because you don’t have the description quite fitting it, take that seriously and make the changes. Because you’re right, if somebody’s got the wrong, it can be the best book in the world, but if your expectation is wrong, you’re not gonna be happy.
For more great talk with Michele on how to turn an idea into a series, how to market series as opposed to single books, how to write both fiction and nonfiction, and how to overcome the fear of writing fiction from Michele, listen to Episode 6 at: www.BooksBusinessAbundance.
Ellen Violette is an award-winning book and business coach & Grammy-nominated songwriter, who helps entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, consultants, become #1 bestselling authors. Ellen is also a multiple International #1 bestselling author, 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, regular contributor to Published! Magazine, CEO of Create a Splash and Grammy-nominated songwriter.
Her company is a full-service company for book services for authors and entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, trainers, and speakers. It also delivers done-for-you services. To learn more, go to www.booksbusinessabundance.com