I never realised how having a thick skin would help me so much. Not only just in life generally but especially in my chosen career path. When submitting my book to agents I geared myself up for all the rejection letters knowing full well that I would get so very many. I kept in my mind that no matter how many people said NO to me it would only take one person to say YES, so I had to be patient. Whilst I was waiting patiently though I got itchy feet and started to look in to self publishing. The rest is history, as my previous blogs will have explained.
Then of course came a fresh set of challenges and of course a new test of just how thick my skin really was. Marketing and promoting the book is not an easy task by any means, but there are people out there to help and give advice. Then of course there are the all important reviews. For me it was actually getting to hear what others thought after they had read my book that was the biggest challenge. Submitting the book to all kinds of YA book bloggers and awaiting reviews has become harder and harder for me. While I wait for their opinions I cant help but pick apart the book that I so dearly love to try and anticipate their every quibble with it. However, when I first released the book and my family and friends were there to buy it and of course review it if they wanted too I had a different worry, the "would they be honest" worry. So you see, there is always a panic about something once your book is out there. The truth is that no matter what happens you need to prepare for it. As thick as my skin is I had a nasty run in with someone who really didn't like Self Published Authors or the work they have to do to market their own book. They went as far as to call my reviews "FAKE" and also slate the book when they hadn't even read it. They did it in a forum and then when they got no response they did it on my Amazon product page. Other members that saw the forum post and reviews were wise to it though. Luckily people are very clever and can spot a indecent and dishonest post from a mile away.However I should tell you that it all started because I made a huge mistake and self promoted on a post I should NOT have. My warning to you is take your time and be careful. Needless to say it was a mistake that won't be making again!!
Bad reviews can get under your skin easily but, I have tried very hard to learn from what they are saying. If I really don't agree or decide not to take it on board then that's my choice. NEVER argue with a bad review. Don't go telling them all the ways that they are wrong or how they are unjust in their review. It is just their opinion after all. My advice would be don't reply what so ever, but if you must reply make it a thank you. Anything else will make you look very unprofessional and undo a lot of your hard work.
Then there are others, the bloggers that have really helped me on my Self Publishing journey. They helped with marketing and reviewed my book with decent and honest reviews. The formatter that I use for my work and the editor, both of which are writers and have books of their own out, which means they know the process from both sides of the coin. Friends and family support is always plentiful. Amazon themselves are very supportive of their authors, in my experience, and of course the readers that have bought the book, read it and honestly reviewed it.
The fact of the matter is that the whole process is very yin and yang. There will be great people that you meet and other run-ins with not so nice people that will leave you deflated. Its those run-ins that I personally find hard to deal with. And yet I did.
I have had good reviews and bad reviews and the truth is I appreciate all of them, as long as they are honest. If they are honest reviews then good or bad they can only help you. They let you know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong, constructive criticism may be hard to hear but it is worth listening to. They also help you notice your audience. If a lot of adult readers posted bad reviews of my work but a lot of YA readers liked it, then I'd know that I should be marketing more toward the YA genre. Proof is there that good or bad, the reviews help.
As for any spiteful attacks or dishonest reviews my advice is ignore it. You can report the abuse to Amazon or whatever platform it has come from and then let them deal with it. If they are left up, then so be it. Let people read it. Like I said, people are very smart and they will know when they read a review and when they read an attack.