two starWoo-hoo!!! Give the Lady a Ride got its first two-star review! Isn’t that great?!

According to conventional wisdom, when a book gets too many fours and fives, readers think the author’s friends are the only ones scoring the book. Well, yes, we do get friends and family to get the review process started. But before long, the scores start coming in from folks we don’t know. I can’t help it if folks I don’t know were scoring Ride with four and five stars, too. It’s the logical score for a terrific book, if I do say so myself.

I can’t help keeping an eye on my books and how they’re ranked. Smarter, more experienced authors learn to ignore this. Good reviews inflate the head, bad reviews stab the heart. The need for a rhino-hide goes both ways.

But I’m too entrenched in the fact I’m not “there” yet, haven’t reached my goals yet, to let the good reviews get to me much. I love them, don’t get me wrong–they’re incredibly encouraging–but they’re based on one book. The author who can consistently earn these coveted stars runs a higher risk of an ego trip. And this particular “two” doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. The person who wrote it made a couple of comments that speak more toward her unfamiliarity with bull riding and rodeo than it they did to my story. Rodeo cowboys have been taking a knee long before Tim Tebow threw his first completed pass, and, as I explained in the book, there are female bull riders. In this age of equality, that shouldn’t surprise anyone,  but it goes back farther than that. Women were riding bulls for fun before Betty Friedan drew a breath.

My co-authored books have been doing just as well. Four- or five-star ratings are the norm for them. But Writing in Obedience also drew its first two, though this one doesn’t bother me either. The criticism was a valid one, something to learn from, and I appreciate it. I’m still proud of our book, I still believe it is a helpful tool for those who write Christian fiction and seek to be published, but for what this one woman was looking for, it missed the mark. 31 Devotions for Writers got a one-star rating out of meanness–which speaks more about the person writing it than it does the book.

These reviews are different from critiques, edits, and beta-reads. Unlike the manuscript that has been subjected to scrutiny, the books are out there, already on the market. There’s nothing I can do about them now–not that I want to, but keeping that in mind makes a difference when I read negative reviews.

How do you take your negative reviews? They’re inevitable, you know. Getting upset about them is pointless; learning from the ones worth learning from is priceless. Looking at both negative and positive reviews philosophically, with a thankful heart that God lets us engage in this wonderful, horrible job that we love, protects us from becoming egotistical or demoralized even better than rhino hide–but adopting a rhino hide never hurts.



About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Writing, Writing Tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Two’d!

  1. Ah, the old two-star review. I know I go through the grieving process when I’ve gotten them…first, the shock, then the indignation, then the sorrow, then finally the ability to glean what’s good in the review for honing my craft and throwing out the mean-spirited stuff. Thankfully, I only have a couple of these zingers right now, but if my books ever get popular, I’m sure there are more to come.

    Good thoughts here! Happy wordsmithing. 🙂


  2. Still waiting on my first one… I’d actually welcome it!


  3. Linda, I have had a two in the midst of fours and fives. Yes, it hurt because it was from an acquaintance. But at least she was honest in her opinion.

    By the way, I wrote a response to that two point commenter about her thinking to drop to a knee and acknowledge God was over the top for a bull rider. I couldn’t let that one stay there without a comment. The reviewer needs to take in some rodeo or better yet, watch some PBR. It may surprise her how many hunky cowboys drop to the knee after a ride or a buck off.


  4. hopeclark says:

    Yep, I’ve been two’d and one’d in three of my four books. I almost wish one would show up for the latest, Palmetto Poison, so I can get it out of the way. Yeah, I now we’re not supposed to look at the reviews, but hey, I can’t help it. We have to just let those low starred reviews roll off, but it can’t help but sting. Even when so many of them are pretty jerky.


  5. L. Brannon says:

    Honesty is always the way to go, even it it stings. However, I also believe in the power of just biting your tongue as you did Linda when a snarky response leaps up in defense. Well done. I hope I have such a great attitude in a few weeks when my book comes out. You ladies are inspirational in so many ways.


  6. Books, like art, are subjective beauty. They will not please everyone. There are too many varied tastes to please them all. When I was doing commercial art and commission work, I learned that truth very early. If someone didn’t like my art, it didn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t good. Just didn’t fit their taste. And, of course, constructive criticism is important as there is always room for improvement. It will be the same with my writing.

    And most important, when it comes to public comments, as in the case of reviews, silence is golden. Most of the time, the reviewer who feels they must be ugly would never back down on their opinion, so wasted breath – er type in trying to refute them.

    At least people are taking the time to read your book. Hooray for that, Linda.


    • You’re right. The guy who commented on our devotional was just angling for a fight. Absolutely no point arguing with him.

      I didn’t know you were a commercial artist. How cool!


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