I’m Telling the Truth…

See what I mean:

ATW: How do you handle unfavorable reviews?

Joleene: Most authors say to ignore them, but the truth is that this is impossible. Rather than giving you the “publicly acceptable” answer, I am going to do something scary and tell the truth!

The first thing I do is get incensed. “How dare they not like my work?” Then, after I calm down, I read it over and over, until there is no more sting in the review. A that point I analyze whether their complaints are valid. By this I mean “the plot was hard to follow” vs “this book was too short for free” (I actually get the second one. Those I ignore because the book description starts with the words: Short. 8,000 words.) If the complaint is genuine, then I try to apply remedy that in future works.

I know, I know, it’s pretty terrifying, but don’t let that stop you from checking out my interview, which Authors to Watch (run by the talented Tricia Drammeh) has so kindly hosted.  Be sure to check out Tricia’s work while you’re there!

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Leave a comment


  1. I liked how you answered the last question on your interview, the comparison to the old west, etc. 🙂

  2. I do everything you do but that still doesn’t stop me being upset. How dare they not like my stuff. They’ve obviously no taste. I try to ignore the small voice in my head suggesting that just maybe my writing was rubbish.

  3. Ugh. What is it with people and ‘the plot was hard to follow’? Didn’t they learn to read in school? Great interview with Tricia.

    • Thanks! I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t actually gotten that review (I don’t think – now wait and it will be there somewhere!)

  4. I am so busy I rarely have time to look at reviews, whether positive or negative, but when I do get around to reading/looking at them, it’s pretty clear immediately which of the negative ones are constructive that I can learn something from and which are simply bullies. The one who make false statements about my books or me are the ones I know are simply trying to cause trouble, and I have one of those right now. Those people I do ignore. Again, I’m too busy with productive and uplifting projects to waste my time on someone who is simply trying to cause problems.

    • I have one of those on my second book claiming he read an excerpt on a website asking for reviews (!!?!?) I’ve toyed with contacting amazon over it but like you say, there’s only so much time in the day!

  5. It is odd about those free books. 🙂 I swear I get the most complaints when I offer a piece for free. It definitely makes me more cautious about offering works for free to the public since my best reviews tend to come from paying customers and review bloggers and majority of the folks who review a free book tend to skew my results negatively. Doesn’t really seem to be in my best advantage these days, especially with the algorithms used at places like Amazon.

    Sometimes I do have to laugh about the whole thing. The complaints about free books is like walking through the food court, accepting one of the free samples, then sending in a customer complaint because the sample wasn’t a complete meal. haha It makes me wonder. Do people realize how foolish they sound at times?

    • ha ha! Yes, exactly! And the KDP select makes it worse because people start to expect freebies – like every novel should be free… *sigh*

  6. I hear you on the complaints that a story is “short” when you’ve warned them in the description. That one grates on my nerves more than any other. As for the complaints about the characters or plots, I figure taste is subjective. I hear you on it taking time to be able to look at a review and decide if it’s something you should pay attention to or not. The best criticism comes from those who love your books. The sugar makes the medicine go down easier.

    I love your honesty. 😀

    • Yeah, I’m not sure why people don;t read the descriptions a little more thoroughly. Or the samples. We spend hours or days or weeks in some cases crafting a book blurb and I’ll tell you the truth I’m starting to think we’re all over thinking it because no one reads the things!


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