I’ve just read a piece on the BBC website by a man called Adam Gopnik, on how an author should deal with a bad review. My review of Mr Gopnik’s article is short and sweet; it would have been twice as good if it had been half as long. He may take that or he may leave it; his choice, but I’d recommend the latter, since it wasn’t written with malice in mind.
How do I deal with them? Mostly, I do not react, unless I feel that the reviewer is being personally offensive, in which case he or she will get to know about it. Reviews on Amazon are the exception to that policy; that facility offers, in my view, an open door to wannabes, egomaniacs and idiots, and they are all best left to their own devices. It’s a pity that it isn’t more carefully moderated, since there are some valid points made there and valid views expressed, but they tend to be suffocated by the dross. In basing judgements and purchase choices on Amazon reviewer ratings, it’s worth noting that they give Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, four stars out of five in book form, and four and a half in Kindle.
To any would-be reviewers among you, and indeed to any professional reviewers, remember this; however qualified to comment on someone else’s work you may believe you are, you are simply an individual with a keyboard, expressing an individual opinion. Whatever you thought of a work, that is your view and yours alone. Every person who reads a book, whoever the author might be, will form a unique mental picture of the events described. Some will agree with you, some won’t; do you have the right to dissuade any of them from finding out for themselves?