Best Author Response EVER

Published authors get hit with the worst criticism at times. Everybody has an opinion and is happy to spread it all over the Internet. So what do you do, as a writer, when you receive a negative or downright slamming review of your book?

Some writers suggest you ignore the negative ones. That idea has a certain amount of merit. Why dwell on the bad? Not everyone in the world is going to like you and not everyone will like your book, so just ignore it and let it go.

Above all, experienced writers will tell you not to respond to a negative review. You won’t be able to change the reviewer’s mind and you’ll just come across as defensive and possibly as attacking the reviewer. Not to mention, opening yourself to more criticism based on your response.

That seems like wise advice to follow. But recently I came across an author who chose to ignore that advice and the results were incredible.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is a site that posts reviews on romance books. They aren’t timid in their reviews–oh no, they tell you exactly what they think of a book, good or bad. One of the books recently reviewed was Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy.

Okay, I see the confused look – Pregnesia is a coined term stemming from “pregnant amnesiac”. Yes, the heroine in the story is… a pregnant amnesiac. (I’m sure Carla’s publisher stuck her with that title, though which person at Harlequin thought that was a great marketing title is a gigantic and confounding mystery.)

The review is typical SBTB–it pulls no punches in its list of 26 reasons why Pregnesia is the best book in the history of pregnant amnesiac romance books. Yes, you see the tongue-in-cheek comments coming, don’t you. The review is hilarious. It pokes fun at various aspects of the novel–unbelievable characters, plot holes and other general ridiculous happenings.

So far… a typical negative review. Funny, but negative. As the author I’d be embarrassed and probably angry to read such a review. We put our hearts into our books–who can stand to see them ridiculed?

Conventional writer wisdom says that Carla should have just ignored the review. But she didn’t. And her response to the review was the absolute BEST author response in the history of writing.

10 Reasons I love this review and other musings by the author of Pregnesia

  1. Any publicity is better than no publicity
  2. My original title was Pregnesia-The Story of A Pregnant Princess with Amnesia Who Lusts For An Ex-Navy Seal Turned Sheik Cowboy. Unfortunately, it was too long.
  3. Any publicity is better than no publicity
  4. I was working out my issues about being kidnapped by a blood-thirsty cult who might think I was eight months pregnant.
  5. Any publicity is better than no publicity
  6. I was hoping you’d tell me about the big plot hole. It’s been bothering me for months!
  7. Any publicity is better than no publicity
  8. Stay tuned for my next blockbuster – Virgin Bride With Secret Babies Wants A Cop who Rides The Range
  9. Reading the Review Made me think of comfort food. Thanks for giving me a reason to eat a box of Twinkies, four cupcakes and a box of macaroni and cheese. And it’s not even noon – and now I will have to watch out for those evil cult members who might lust after my pseudo-pregnant body!
  10. Thanks for reminding me you gotta take the good with the bad and I hope readers will check out my next book, Five Minutes to Marriage and my OCT release from Signet – Up Close and Personal. Hey, I should be able to get a little self-promo from all this!

Carla Cassidy

Is that not the best?? Carla responded with grace and humor that exactly matched the tone of the review. I don’t think I could respond so well to a negative review. I’m in awe of her.

And the best part of the entire thing was how the blog readers responded to her classy, awesome comment. 32 readers left comments that they had bought the book, were going to buy the book or were going to buy ALL of Carla’s books because of the great review and her incredible response to it. Is there any better publicity for a writer or easier marketing plan than to answer critical reviews with a sense of humor? How long would it take you to hand-sell 32 books? Carla did it in just a few minutes.

Note to all writers out there: If you can’t ignore negative reviews, take a lesson from Carla and make your response fun and light-hearted. The reward in reader loyalty and free publicity is more than worth it.

And go check out the review of Pregnesia and then buy the book!

5 thoughts on “Best Author Response EVER”

  1. Fun post Cheryl. I’m not surprised to see Carla’s reaction. She is a very fun and spunky person. I met her years ago when our local chapter of RWA used to meet and attend different functions with Carla’s chapter out of Kansas City.

  2. Loved your post! Very inspiring and good info for those of us living in fear of their first book review.

  3. Awesome story, Cheryl! That’s a perfect example of how to behave in the world. Take something negative and spin it positively and you’ll almost always come out on top. Thanks for sharing that with us!

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