Tag Archives: amazon

Bad reviews and unprofessional behavior

A friend lent me a book recently called The War of Art – Break Through the Blocks and Win your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield, whose debut novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was adapted for screen. A film based on his book was released in 2000, directed by Robert Redford.

The War of Art is for writers, artists, and anyone who hopes to breathe life into their creative works.

I don’t read many “self-help” books, but this was a quick read and contained a few gems. One section that resonated with me referred to how “professionals” behave. I’d like to expound on this in relationship to book reviews.

If you earn a living by writing, or are trying to make a living this way, this post is for you.


A review can be a double-edged sword.

A good review can help sell a book. A bad review can alert potential readers not to buy it.

Authors count on reviews as a means to promote their work to new readers. They are a form of marketing. They don’t need to be scholarly book reports, just honest accounts of what readers like or do not like about a book. Initial reviews are crucial for establishing a pattern for a book. Does it average 4-5 stars? Or is it more like 1-2 stars? Right or wrong, the star system is a how many readers determine the quality of a book before they buy it.

It’s why many authors, myself included, solicit reviews from a healthy cross-section of readers/bloggers once a book is released. The more reviews, the better, because as time passes, the 1 and 2-star reviews appear less important when the overall average for a book is 4/5 stars.

And though more reviews do not guarantee more sales, an absence of reviews may correspond to fewer sales.

What does this have to do with unprofessional behavior?

In his book, Pressfield writes: 

“Evolution has programmed us to feel rejection in our guts. This is how the tribe enforced obedience, by wielding the threat of expulsion. Fear of rejection isn’t just psychological; it’s biological. It’s in our cells.”

Whether you believe what he says or not, we can all agree that rejection and criticism (in the form of bad reviews) hurt.

No one likes negative feedback. If you consider your creation as an extension of yourself, then you probably feel a bad review as a rejection of who you are.

It may explain why some writers behave badly at times. I’ve seen authors attack readers both verbally and via the social networks. Sometimes, there are long threads of comments to discredit a reviewer (usually a faceless, unknown entity).

The degree to which each of us reacts to criticism varies. Though I can understand the public display of anger by some authors, it is not something I consider healthy or helpful for anyone. It certainly is not professional.

bad_review cartoon

Credit Firstsecondbooks.typepad.com – Mark Siegel

3 truths about book reviews:

1) No piece of writing is universally beloved, so as wonderful as it is to receive 4 and 5-star reviews, they are not the ones that will help you become a better writer. The 2 and 3-star reviews are more likely to provide clues to your writing deficiency, especially if it’s a recurring criticism.

2) It’s a waste of time to engage with online trolls, people who post ridiculous comments because … well, because they can. These are reviewers who like to push their own agendas on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. Remember, a reader can write a negative review for ANY reason, even just to be mean.

3) Reviews, good or bad, are not a measurement of your abilities as a writer. The actions and opinions of others DO NOT define your work.

reviewersBad reviews sting, but they don’t have to sting for long.  

I’ve had my share of bad reviews, but I choose not to dwell on the negativity or take them personally. I don’t allow negative comments to derail me. After all, external feedback is not the reason I write. I do it because it’s my passion.

And though I don’t look to reviews as validation of my efforts, I do appreciate praise. Who doesn’t? I also appreciate honest reviews, when someone takes the time to tell me what is wrong with my book. I know this is more difficult to do, so most people won’t do it, and that’s okay too.

The truth is, writing reviews is not obligatory for readers. It’s not their job to review a book even if they LOVED it, even if they know it might help the author sell more books. As professionals, it’s important to ask for reviews but not to coerce them from readers. Some people may choose not to write reviews, for whatever reason.

review_1aSo do opinions from readers matter?

Yes, they do. Feedback should be sought. Beta readers, editors, critique partners are not the enemies; book reviewers are not the enemies. Learn from constructive criticism and ignore the troll-like comments.

As a professional, grow a thick skin, not one that will numb you to bad reviews, but one that will allow you to believe in your own strengths while working on what needs to be improved.

You don’t have to crumble at the first sign of a 1 or 2-star review.

Bad reviews are part of being an author and not within your control. How you handle them, though, is entirely within your control.

Whatever you do, don’t let someone else’s negativity stop you from writing.




Filed under Craft of Writing


I have another Amazon freebie as mentioned in my earlier blog,

UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY is FREE for 3 days starting today. It’s a story that takes place in spring, guaranteed to warm you up as we head into the winter freeze.

No sex but deeply sensual. The story is inspired by the art of letter writing and my love of words. Part of it takes place in Ireland, a country of writers and poets–C.S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde, and James Joyce to name a few. You only need to read some of the letters Joyce wrote to his beloved Nora Barnacle to understand the power of words.

Pick it up, and I hope you enjoy. If so, please let me know by way of a review on Amazon. Whether you thought it was good, bad, or meh … your opinion matters to me. 😉

Unlocking the Mystery

From: Spring into Summer (Spring)

“…one of the best short romantic fiction I’ve read in a very long time. It touched my heart in ways I cannot explain and gave my soul wings.” – Beach Bum Books

Hit the book cover and be taken to your Amazon region.

unlocking the mystery









Have a great week,




Filed under Promo of ebooks, freebies

The NORWEGIAN is #FREE Dec 10 – 12

I have another freebie as mentioned from my earlier blog,

THE NORWEGIAN is FREE for 3 days starting today. It’s a winter story that takes place in northern Canada and involves a writer and an Olympian biathlete. I know from many readers that it was one of their favorites from my book Fall into Winter.

Pick it up, and I hope you enjoy. If so, don’t hesitate to let me know by way of a review on Amazon. It’s helpful even if you leave only a few words to let me know what you thought of the story. 😉

The Norwegian

From: Fall into Winter (Winter)

Whimsical and redemptive. A Norwegian athlete and a Canadian writer meet for the first time, but it feels oddly familiar. An erotic thriller during Christmastime in the Great White North.

Hit the book cover and be taken to the site for your region.










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Have a lovely day,




Filed under Promo of ebooks, freebies

Weekend specials – The LOTTERY #free and STRANGER AT SUNSET #99cents

I have a couple of weekend specials to announce. 😉

As mentioned in an earlier blog, I’m offering freebies from my backlist of erotic novellas.

The first is from my anthology, Spring into Summer


This story holds a special place in my heart because my experiences closely mirrored that of the protagonist.

My travels to Thailand as a young woman taught me the importance of sacrifice. It’s for this reason I chose the title “The Lottery” — a favorite story of mine by Shirley Jackson, which speaks to a different type of sacrifice. I knew little of what sacrifice meant until I met the women of Thailand. To a large extent, befriending the Thai women, some of whom were merely girls, taught me the greatest lessons about men.

It’s for this reason that I dedicated the story to them.










BONUS:  Stranger at Sunset, my psychological mystery/thriller is 99 cents until Sunday. Please share and spread the word. The more people who download the books, the better! Wishing you a wonderful, warm weekend, eden 
SAS Cover_medium











Filed under Promo of ebooks, freebies

Turn up the heat in December with my #FREE #erotic novellas

It’s December, winter, snow, cold … please don’t remind me.

The only way to stay warm is to turn up the heat. For me, that means crawling under a blanket with a hot book.

While promoting my latest psychological mystery, Stranger at Sunset, I’ve not paid much attention to my backlist of erotic books, so I’m turning up the heat this month by offering 4 of them FREE on Amazon. Each novella is included in one of my two anthologies—Fall into Winter and Spring into SummerI thought it’d be fun to offer one free from each season!

From sweet romance to BDSM ménage, my novellas cover the spectrum of heat. Download what you like. I’ll make an announcement right before their free days to remind you. Here’s a list of what to expect.

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Unlocking the Mystery

From: Spring into Summer (Spring)

Sweet and romantic. This is a unique story for lovers of words. An erotic tale with no sex – go figure.

Heat meter: 5/10 

unlocking the mystery









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The Norwegian

From: Fall into Winter (Winter)

Whimsical and redemptive. A Norwegian athlete and a Canadian writer meet for the first time, but it feels oddly familiar. An erotic thriller during Christmastime in the Great White North.

Heat meter: 7/10










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The Lottery 

From: Spring into Summer (Summer)

Creative and culturally-diverse. Thailand is where a young North American woman learns about eroticism. She also discovers what she will do in the name of friendship.

Heat meter: 7/10










* * *

Act Three

From: Fall into Winter (Fall)

Kinky, wild, and raunchy. This story pushes the envelope with two men, one woman, and a New York City apartment equipped for adult play. And there’s a twist. 😉

Heat meter: 9/10













Filed under Promo of ebooks, freebies