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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What I Wished I Might Say

Writers are at the mercy of their readers.  I often wondered what my response would be if professionally I could respond to the negative comments or reviews.  I’ve composed many mental responses to the less than positive but, of course, I’ve never posted them.  I have wandered around my house for days readdressing the comment and what I would like to say.  For example:

v                Comment:  “Made me wonder if she's a teenager addicted to the worst quality TV soaps.”

My wished for response:  “Do you get off on putting writers down? You’re an idiot! Bite my …..!”

v                Comment:  “The nicest thing I can say about this book is ... I've read worse.

My wished for response: “You suck! If you’ve read worse, why take the time to comment on my book or did I just get lucky?”

v                Comment:  “This book had great potential but where is the rest. Other than the book being way too short it was a good short story.”

My wished for response:  “Okay, you knew it was a short story! If you’d read the description, you’d have seen it was a short story.  Are you stupid or just plain clueless?”

I could go on and on but as all of us know when visited by the evil commenter, we just have to grin and bear it.  Responding in the negative is inappropriate and unprofessional.  On the other hand, nothing makes my day brighter than to receive a comment or review that glows with approval, such as:

v                “I loved the book. Once I started reading it, I couldn't let go....” 
v                “Let me tell you i was up until five in the morning because the book was just the good!” or
v                It is SO good that I didn't realize I'd racked up 15 miles on the exercise bike while escaping into this story.”

So while the bad ones hurt, there are always those good comments which balance the scale —and most often outweigh the bad.  While I’m reading a negative comment, I take the time to skip to a good one to ease the sting. I’ve learned to toughen my skin and accept that every reader has a different view and, while I might not agree, the right to comment, good or bad. 

P.L. Parker is the author of two 99 cent e-books, Fiona and Riley's Journey, time travel romances.  


  1. I so sympathize. And isn't it true that no matter how many great reviews you receive, you remember the bad ones. Recently had one for a novella titled HAPPY IS THE BRIDE. This has no sex, only a couple of kisses early on the wedding day between bride- and groom-to-be. One reviewer said she hated the porn and characters acting like animals in rut. I was left wondering what book she read, because it sure wasn't this one. Fortunately, one of my other readers answered her for me. Yay!

  2. Good for your other reader, Caroline. I've had a few of mine answer as well.

  3. I've only read one of your books, Absolution, and it was fantastic!!!! A fun, quick, entertaining vampire read that had me turning the pages from the start. People are assholes. I'm sorry you fell victim to some cruel and undeserved comments-here's one to add to your list-I was on the worst blog tour of my life last month and to make a long story short, one of the reviewers refused to even rate my book because zero stars was NOT an option!!!!! LOL! She said it was toooooo disgusting!!!!! Great interview and great site! Dina Rae

  4. P.L., gosh, yeah, comments like that are frustrating and trust me, I'm right there with you wishing I could reply back, but I honestly think the "classiest" way to reply is with no reply at all, because with readers like that, they'll always find a way to say something get under your skin.


  5. Thanks Dina and Steph for commenting. Yes, the best way is to ignore the bad and instead focus on the good. Dina - what a terrible comment! I often feel that some of the comments are disgruntled writers - which is really sad. We should support each other.

  6. I usually don't reply to nasty reviews and negative comments. But once a reader told me that Puerto Ricans didn't need a work permit to come to the US. I knew that but unfortunately I wrote that she was waiting for her papers, I meant references and recommendations. Reader thought I meant work permit. Anyway, I left a comment thanking her for attracting my attention, and I clarified my sentence and reuploaded the book. Other than that I cry and whine about bad reviews and then forget them. Nothing else to do but to work harder on the next book.

  7. So far I haven't had bad reviews, but I know I will. One did say she liked my story and characters, but there were lot of grammatical errors. I looked back at it and I guess she didn't understand southern "accents" with dropped g's and other southern speak. She said would still read other work by the author.

    Sorry you've met some jerk-face readers, who don't always read what they review.

  8. Thanks Mary! I've run into the same thing in one of my stories, had to laugh about that one.