No work of art is universally loved. If you publish a book, and are fortunate enough to have people read it, you're going to get some bad reviews down the line. That's just part of the game.
When I was just a young pup with naught to my writerly credit but a terrible first draft of a terrible first novel and a sudden idea for a book about gamers that had the potential to not be terrible, I did a lot of online research about the publishing industry. I soaked in every bit of information and advice that I could get my porn-saturated eyes on.
As I've mentioned before, I eventually came to ignore a lot of that advice, but there's one thing I stuck to. One of the nearly universally agreed upon pieces of conventional wisdom out there is that an author should never comment on his reviews, good or bad. Especially the bad ones. After all, the reviews are not there for the author. They are there to help potential customers make informed buying decisions.
And so I've treated reviews as sacred ground which I dare not tread upon, not even to say thank you for a particularly nice review, and certainly never to confront a negative reviewer. Instead I'll occasionally post a link to the review on my Facebook page and let my fans do the dirty work.
But this, the Caverns and Creatures website, is my sandbox, and it would be irresponsible of me to sit idly by while this vein of potential comedy gold remains unmined.
So I present to you, dear readers, the five types of bad reviewers out there, and the dicks they can eat.
1. The Lost Little Sheep
This reviewer is the sort who shouldn't have been reading the book in the first place. Maybe your grandma accidentally picked up a copy of Hustler instead of the Good Housekeeping she'd walked all the way to the Piggly Wiggly to pick up. Imagine her surprise when she finally locates her bifocals and settles down to finally get a look at that Bundt cake recipe that had all the ladies at the bingo hall in such a tizzy.
Grandma is understandably upset, but does it really make sense for her to break out her typewriter and tap out an angry letter to Larry Flynt about the pornographic content and lack of recipes in his magazine?
Of course not, and yet...
I'll take partial blame for this one. The cover didn't give any warning of the depravity within, and one might be forgiven for missing the innuendo in the blurb. And this reviewer was kind enough to begrudgingly admit that I have some talent.
That said, he or she can still eat a dick.
2. The Genuine Dislike
This is a bad review the way bad reviews were meant to be. The reviewer knew what he was getting into when he picked up your book about men who turn into bears and have sex with large women. Hell, he's an aficionado on the genre, having read every other book out there. But for whatever reason, he found that the bear-fucking in your book lacked the soul or sophistication of the other books he'd read. Somehow, your words didn't resonate with him. He didn't feel like he was there in the story getting railed by a man-bear.
His penis raw and only semi-erect, he will take out his dissatisfaction by means of leaving you a negative review, letting you know exactly how you failed to inspire him to soak the pages of your book in a sticky white mess. He'll tell you your characters lacked depth. Your metaphors didn't work. You need to read up more on ursine behavior if you expect him to buy into the mythos of your world.
These are all fair and relevant points, and potential customers deserve to be made aware of the reasons behind this reviewer's dissatisfaction, lest we end up with more Little Lost Sheep.
Thank you, Genuine Dislike. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Also, eat a dick.
3. The Idiot
These are my favorite bad reviews. The Idiot is so profoundly stupid that their negative review might actually work in your favor. "If this fucktard hated it so much, it just might be awesome."
The title of the story being reviewed here is Cave of the Kobolds. The description reads as follows:
Cooper, Julian, and Ravenus investigate a cave. Cooper gets kicked in the nuts so hard that he shits himself at one point. That's worth a dollar all by itself.
I can think of no clearer cut way to express to readers what this story is about. There's very little ambiguity here.
Ms Lee wasn't the only Idiot compelled to review Cave of the Kobolds.
The book in question here is a five thousand word short story. As such, it has no chapters.
But oftentimes, The Idiot will strive for even greater feats of idiocy than you might imagine possible. Behold!
Pro Tip: If you're aspiring to the level of cockbaggery it takes to go on someone's Amazon Author Page, talk shit about them, and try to push someone else's book, at least make an effort to get the names right.
Idiots, gather 'round. Here's a big bowl of dicks just for you.
4. The Missed Mark
This reviewer is upset about something other than the story. Maybe they thought it cost too much. Maybe their paperback got damaged in the mail during delivery. Maybe their dog pissed on their Kindle, and they don't like how your book smells. Whatever their grievance, they long to share it, along with their crippling stupidity, with the world via a bad review.
Sorry you're having a rotten day, Missed Mark. Here, eat a dick.
5. The Nothing
This reviewer won't even bother to say why he didn't like your book. They'll say something like "This sucked." or "Not for me." and leave it at that. Or in cases where they're required to enter a minimum amount of words, they'll say something along the lines of "Amazon is making me type twenty words, so here are a few more words that I am typing right now."
There's no evidence that he or she even read it. This could be an ex-girlfriend. Or it might be someone who didn't like something you said on Twitter or Facebook, or a spiteful, less-successful writer who mistakenly thinks of you as competition. Or maybe, just maybe, it's a Genuine Dislike who was prepared to blow minds with his profound literary criticism until he got distracted by the chime of his microwave.
Like the kid who shits himself in the neighborhood pool, The Nothing's complete lack of willingness to make even the smallest effort leaves an inexplicable turd for everyone to stare at.
For that, sir, you may eat a... You know what? Just go ahead and stick with the Hot Pockets.