Five Star Blessings, One Star Review

Five Star Blessings, One Star Review

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Luke 6:28

“This book was a simple waste of my time. It was a full three hours that I cannot get back.”

“Don’t waste your time. I struggled to get almost half through and finally just skipped to the last chapter. It wasn’t funny nor entertaining. Most if the characters were morons. Awful, just awful.”

“Save The Buck!! Please!! Heed my advice! Don’t waste the .99¢ and more importantly: Don’t waste your time reading this dribble.”

These comments are what some people think of my books.

If you write and your books appear on Amazon, you will be judged. This is the life of an author. Negative reviews can kill a book. Moreover, they can crush a writer’s spirit. When I see a negative comment about one of my books, my normal reaction is to reply with a deadly zinger.

I’m good with zingers – just ask Cindy. Or my wife. Or anyone else who has dared to point out my flaws. That’s the way of the “flesh.” Fight back, crush, and destroy.

Christ received a lot of one-star reviews. He heard comments like:

  • “He saved others, but he can’t save himself!” (Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.)
  • “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” (Don’t you know bad writing when you see it?)
  • “So he is the King of Israel, is he?” (You think you’re a novelist?)

This year God impressed upon me the need to humbly accept criticism and let it go. If you know me at all, you know how tough that is. Here’s my new strategy for dealing with negative reviews.

Prayer. Yes, prayer. Not for improved book sales but for the person who wasted 99 cents on one of my books or lost three hours of their life reading my “dribble.”

Please, this is not an invitation to heap abuse on my books just so I’ll pray for you. If you want my prayers, ask. But from now on when someone writes a negative review of one of my books, I pray for that individual and ask God to bless them. Obviously, I don’t know how God answers those prayers, but I trust that person’s circumstance or heart is changed.

Praying for those who post honest but painful book reviews may not be the best book marketing strategy, but it’s hard to move forward when you’re hauling a cart full of resentment. We can’t all write five-star books, but we can offer five-star blessings for those who don’t like us.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “Five Star Blessings, One Star Review

  1. This is a tough one. My first book was released last month. At first it was fun… getting five star reviews on Amazon was so encouraging. But eventually I got my first one-star. She called it “tedious and boring”. I was crushed. But a second one-star review really killed me. She accused me of having a “secret agenda”. She called me “anti-Semitic”. Really?? The hardest part to read was her assertion that the book is full of inaccuracies.

    None of these things are true. I am a careful researcher and work hard to keep from putting words in God’s mouth. I footnoted all of my facts and checked original sources.

    I’m still trying to figure out what my response should be, or if I should respond at all. My concern is that she is discrediting truth. I’m thinking that is what needs to be addressed, in a loving, humble way. God’s truth is worth standing up for. Our writing will not please all the people ever. Much of the criticism (like “tedious and boring”) comes from personal preference, which people are entitled to. But when God’s truth is attacked, I’m thinking I need to respond.

    • Sometimes I’ll reply (kindly) to address a reviewer’s concern. (And boy is that hard.)

      The experts say we should not engage reviewers but I disagree. This is the social media age and interaction is part of our virtual culture. It’s doubtful we’ll change minds but letting a lie find traction is wrong, too.

      So I’ll sometimes point the reviewer back to the book’s description – “It’s a short read, less than 30 minutes” when they complain the book is short. When a reader complains about too much or too little Christianity in a novel, I refer them to my bio (which is on the book’s description page) that states I write for Christian publications but that I’m also writing for unbelievers.

      Finally, I pray for them. That’s the only way hearts are changed anyway. Kindness and prayer, then I move one.

  2. Thank you! This has been bothering me for a while and nearly making me leave the Christian writing group I’m a part of. Responses to bad reviews seem so defensive, angry, and disbelieving. It makes me sad that we can go on Amazon and blast someone back and call it a “righteous response” to someone who isn’t a believer. That’s not Jesus’ type of response. Everyone isn’t going to like everything. No, I would probably never give a one-star review. I see no reason to harm someone just to see my name on Amazon. But firing back only hurts our witness as a Christians, and I think it also makes us look extremely unprofessional.

  3. Thanks, Eddie. I received one of those nasty reviews yesterday. I found the reviewer on twitter and I was sad at what I saw. God’s Word offends those who don’t believe. She is on a fight for evil. So, of course, she didn’t like my Christian book. I thanked God she read We All Married Idiots and prayed God’s Word would not return void in her life. Afterall, the Holy Spirit must be working or she would not have read We All Married Idiots in the first place.
    My peeve is with the reviewer who writes a bad review and says “I didn’t finish the book” or “I didn’t read the book.” My opinion is Amazon should declare no reviews will be posted by people who don’t read the book. Some just want to see their name in print, I fear.
    Blessings on all you do for Christ!
    Elaine W. Miller

    • Yep, it’s tough but I think when we get those reviews it’s God giving us a connection to someone that needs prayer. In a way you can thank Him :). At least the reviewers are not nailing us to a cross, so we have a ways to go, yet.

Comments are closed.