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.