Today I received my first Amazon one-star review on a book from my Haunting Danielle Series. When authors receive one star reviews they respond in a variety of ways. Some simply ignore reviews, maybe not even read them. Others get defensive and believe the reviewer is a troll. An author might experience depression and vow to never write another book. Personally, I try to learn from reviews, yet take them all—even the positive ones—with a grain of salt.
As for today’s one star review, I could actually relate to the reviewer. I’ve been her before. Just ask my husband and daughter—if I’m watching a movie and a scene makes me uncomfortable—maybe it is excessive violence or a favorite character is threatened—I find an excuse to leave the room. When reading a book, if it takes a turn I dislike, I might stop reading and just skim, as did my one-star reviewer.
According to the reviewer, she enjoyed the first two books in the series, and was enjoying the third book, until—for the record this is not a spoiler—Sadie the golden retriever is kidnapped and almost sold for dogfighting. She is rescued by the next chapter. This book isn’t about dogfighting, even though I made sure those involved are arrested by the end of the story. The point was to illustrate the evilness of two characters in the book. Plus, I wanted Sadie to get just a little pissed at Walt for being so irresponsible.
While the story didn’t contain graphic description of dogfighting—the mention of the horrific practice was enough to bother at least one reader.
My story so upset the reviewer that it prompted her to write her first Amazon review and cross me off her list for future books. I’d be willing to lose a reader if I believed my story struck a cord—even an unpleasant one—making the reader reflect on something I find horrific and needs to stop, like dogfighting. But the fact is, I imagine my one-star reviewer is already an animal lover who doesn’t need this lesson. She resented me dragging too much real life into the cozy.
On the flip side, I have to chuckle just a little, because some poor woman did get her head bashed in and was left for dead in the first chapter of this story and that didn’t seem to bother the reviewer. Which reminds me of the sweater slogan: I don’t care who dies in a movie, just as long as the dog lives.
I’m an avid animal lover, so I can totally relate to that slogan. I can also relate to the sentiments of my one-star reviewer.
Would I re-write the story if given a chance? Probably not.
(If you want to purchase one of those sweat shirts, click on the above image. I believe the money goes toward animal rescue, yet I can’t personally vouch for the organization. Yet, it is a great shirt!)