We writers are so fragile, aren’t we? A single, lousy, one-star review sends us underground for some binge drinking and manuscript burning. While some poor reviews may have an adverse effect on sales, they aren’t the end of the world, and some, while spiteful, are either so stupid they make you pity the reviewer, or funny enough that we just have to give some respect to the reviewer.
A friend and fellow author told me about a one star review he received. The reveiwer said he hoped the book would be made into a movie so he could trash that as well. My own books have a total of just 26 reviews. Two of them are one star reviews, but they are boring one star reviews. Certainly nothing I would share with a fellow writer, just the “Don’t waste your time, this book is dumb” sort of thing.
Don’t allow a bad review to ruin your day. In fact, let some of these bad reviews make your day. These are from online reviews of classic books.
For Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, which is one of the funniest books I ever read:
“I know I didn’t give it enough time before giving up, but I figured I had suffered enough.”
Ulysses by James Joyce, is considered to be either a brilliant book or utter gibberish. This reviewer thought the latter:
“This is a tough book to read unless you understand several languages and are on LSD.”
Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury
“I took this book with me to rifle practice and I shot at it instead of the targets. I got busted, but hey, it was worth it. Mail me if you want a picture of my shooting.”
The Devine Comedy: Dante
“The most worrisome part of this book is that Dante left out one circle of hell…the one where you are forced to read this book.”
The Holy Bible: New Testament:
“For those of you who don’t know, this is God’s second novel after the Old Testament…”
Tales of HP Lovecraft:
“Lovecraft was a bad writer and I’m glad he’s dead.”
The Giving Tree: Shel Silverstein
“At some point, the tree should have started singing Janet Jackson’s ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately?’ and begun dropping apples on the human’s head.”
A Good Man is Hard to Find: Flannery O’Connor
“I’d really, REALLY like to read a pleasant book for English class. Just once.”
One-star reviews can be pretty entertaining…if they are for someone else’s book. Sometimes, though, if the review is funny, we writers just have to laugh. In fact, if your own books are lacking one-star reviews, there’s a site, onestarreview.com, that will give your book a snarky, humorous one-star review for just $25.00. They claim that such a review, if it’s mean and funny enough, will actually boost sales. Hmm. You go first!