Monday, January 14, 2008

Taking Advantage of a Negative Book Review

Once you’ve published your book, you will probably start getting reviews. Most will be positive and you’ll be able to use them for promotion, but what if you get a critical review? What should you do with it?

I regularly check to see whether any readers have written anything about my book RIGHT TO RECOVER Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Last month someone wrote a negative review of my book. This review seems to have been written by someone who not only hates the book, but also dislikes me and is perhaps an opponent of stem cell research. I was surprised to read that this reviewer found the 600 hours of research with scientists, medical doctors, researchers, an embryologist, and other experts in this field “a shell-game of half-truths and lies.” I clicked on the link to see how many reviews this reviewer had done, and what they looked like. This was the only one she has written to date.

I’m not naïve enough to think that everyone is going to love my book or agree with my message. I realize that stem cell research is a controversial topic and that there is a minority of people who oppose it. The opposition has voiced their opinion many times on my blog. Through, I have the option not to publish detrimental comments people leave on my blog. However, I do not have this option on because they have editorial power. This doesn’t mean I do not have recourse.

Recourse 1

While every reviewer has a right to their own opinion, I believe that Amazon wants to sell my books and I imagine they would not want to keep a review online that might sabotage the sales of my book.

If I were to contact Amazon about negative reviews that were obviously written by serious reviewers, they would probably think that I’m on an ego trip. However, this particular review was an attack not only on me and my book, it was also an insult to potential customers and readers who would “appear ignorant or boring and feel deception is appropriate to get your way.” I could email Amazon at and explain the situation, and most likely they would remove the review.

Recourse 2

I can completely ignore the review. It probably won’t have that much bearing on my sales especially since all the other reviews I have received are very positive and the book itself is endorsed by some of the top researchers in the field. This critical review might put my book even more into the limelight because it could bring my book more exposure and credibility. Those who read her review might be inclined to purchase my book just to see if I am really as ignorant as the reviewer says.

Recourse 3

People seem to remember negative comments more than they do positive ones. I could engage in a positive rebuttal with the reviewer. This reviewer may be an ultra conservative right-winger who opposes stem cell research. Like most who believe that a blastocyst in a lab dish is equal to a human being, I could ask this person if they are against the in vitro process which creates a reserve of blastocysts. I would remind them that these cells are currently being discarded when they are no longer needed. My book advocates using the leftover cells for research rather than tossing them as medical garbage.

A negative or critical review may be a good thing. I support you in taking advantage of every opportunity and turning it into a positive experience.

Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services. She and her team of ghostwriters and editors service clients all over the world by offering quality writing and editing at an affordable price. If you need a brochure, web text, business document, résumé, bio, article or book, visit

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