dealing with bad reviews

Jeff Baker Psychic; Burn It to The Ground Productions

Jeff Baker Psychic

I have to shamelessly admit that I have always been a strong believer in anything spiritual…or of a metaphysical nature like this. In fact, I have been going to mediums and psychics (for lack of better words) for many years and I’ve found some that blew me away. I don’t go on a regular basis; just when I feel the need to learn something that I can’t learn any other way. At various times, when the psychic is good and the energy is just right, I’ve even contacted old friends who have passed on. The most recent psychic I found actually helped me deal with book reviews in a very interesting, scary way.

I know that sounds ridiculous to some. And I am on record as someone who has never complained or spoken openly about a bad review to anyone. I’ve always taken them in my stride, but sometimes we all need some kind of comfort. And sometimes we don’t think a review is fair, especially if every single gay romance the reviewer reviewed has five stars and yours has one. So I found my comfort with a psychic for a while. She would make up little dolls and we would stick pins in them. At the time, I just thought it was something cathartic and didn’t think anything would happen. But I actually had to stop this because of something that happened I still can’t explain. I won’t go into detail about this, but it involved a bad review from an online book reviewer, a doll with pins, and something terrible happening to the book reviewer in a way that rendered her unable to read again. Maybe it was just coincidence. But I didn’t want to take any chances after that. Not even the worst book review is worth that.

In any event, I found Jeff Baker through social media and I couldn’t resist checking him out. I have not contacted him yet, but I’m getting very strong urges. His web site looks very good, and very easy to navigate. And from what I’ve seen he’s also hands on, so to speak, where he actually isn’t too grand to communicate with his followers on social media.

Jeff Baker is a Conduit and an Empathic Healer. He is often referred to as a psychic or medium or medical intuitive. These are all just terms that characterize a giftedness that people find hard to describe. He prefers to just to be known as a person who is a conduit for healing in all the services that he offers. Although his gifts lay in almost all of these “esoteric” areas, Jeff feels that the work he does is grounded in Spirituality and is therefore practically applicable on a real and reasoned human level. And as a conduit, he prefers to not take credit for the work he does but he will say, “I am part of it for sure, but it is innate faith in yourself and what I do that makes the marriage work”. For that reason Jeff does not take on every case that is submitted and prefers to help those that he can’t by training them to be their own healers!


Burn It to The Ground Productions

I’m not sure how Jeff Baker is connected to this next link/web site, but I found the link on his web site and it looks very interesting. I’m not even certain is Jeff Baker is a gay psychic, which doesn’t really matter one way or the other. I just thought it look interesting and I wanted to share.

Burn it to the Ground Productions is currently working on pre-production for a documentary on LGBT rights and issues. This will explore how the LGBT community has been perceived, and discriminated against over the past 100 years, covering all ages, races, and backgrounds. Above all we will examine how love has no gender in a way that is accessible for all. If you are interested in participating and sharing your story, please email Juliett on the contacts tab, and she will get back with you shortly.

Dealing With a Bad Review: Thoughts From Erika Dreifus


I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while and time kept slipping away. If you’re a published author, you’ve most likely already felt the sting of a bad review. If you’re a published author and you haven’t experienced this yet, you will.

The post to which I’m linking is guest post on the David Abrams blog, The Quivering Pen. Erika Dreifus wrote the guest post in a positive voice, in order to help other authors learn how to deal with their first bad review…or bad reviews in general.

This line made me smile:

In this age of Google alerts, that might seem impressive indeed.

I smiled because I stopped all google alerts after my own first bad review…a scathing review where the reviewer roasted the book, in public, spelled my name wrong, and misled readers to believe scenes I’d written that were intended to be satirical were serious. In fact, the review was written to laugh at the book, laugh at me, and laugh at my publisher. But more than that, the reviewer, an angry woman, didn’t “get” gay humor and never will. I figured I didn’t need google alerts to point me in the direction of reviews like this, so I stopped them short and never used them again. And the book I’m talking about turned out to be a bestseller and is still getting good reviews from readers.

Then Erika said this in the guest post about the bad review she suffered. I smiled again after I read it twice:

Some of the review seemed eccentric as well as harsh.

There’s never been a better word in the history of humanity than “eccentric” when it comes to some of the bad reviews authors deal with. Don’t get me wrong, not all negative reviews are necessarily bad things. Some even help sell books. But in some negative reviews it’s important to look for that “eccentric” quality, both as a reader and an author. Because if the review is, indeed, “eccentric”…over the top, too snarky…meant as a roast…it’s not going to be a viable, trustworthy review.

Erika’s guest post goes on to explain and list ways to deal with your first bad review that I can’t recommend enough to all authors. Please take the time to read this. If for no other reason than this line alone:

Google the offending reviewer.

I find it both helpful and important to research book reviewers nowadays. Being that the process of reviewing a book is subjective, it’s important to know how the reviewer has reviewed other books, what her reputation is like, and how readers receive her reviews. If you find that you’re not the only one who has received a snarky review, you’ll feel a lot better. And if you find an inordinate amount of bitchy, snarky reviews on her site, and these reviews are laced with truncated excerpts that seem to take things out of context, you may even wonder whether or not her reviews are written more to garner her online presence than help readers choose which books to read. Trust me on this, no one does anything for free online. There’s always a hidden agenda and it’s usually about self-promotion/platform (they want a good deal). Or, even worse, narcissism.

Once again, please take the time to read Erika’s guest post the on David Abrams blog. It’s one of the smartest posts about dealing with bad reviews I’ve read in a very long time. And it’s done in very good taste, which is something I don’t see often.

This Thing About Authors Going After Reviewers

I’ve been reading this one particular blog post and comment thread about an author who didn’t like a review and the author, whom I don’t know and haven’t read, decided to confront the reviewer, in public, on the reviewer’s blog.

I haven’t read the book in question, and I doubt I will. I’m up to my neck with deadlines for publishers and I’m now beginning to read books for the 2011 Rainbow Awards, which leaves very little time for pleasure reading right now.

I have almost twenty years of experience in dealing with certain aspects of publishing. Rejection is one of them. I’ve learned how not to take it personally and I’ve learned to keep moving forward. Most rejection is subjective and there’s nothing an author can do about that. It is, in fact, nothing personal. But it took years to reach that point…YEARS.

I’ve also had twenty years of experience in dealing with reviews, both good and bad. Frankly, if all my books received three star reviews and nice, quiet comments, I’d be very worried. I’d also be worried if they all received five star reviews. Odd as this may sound, one star reviews aren’t always the worst thing that can happen to an author or a book. It falls under the category of you just can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try…LIFE. And if you’re not pissing someone off, you’re doing something wrong.

When I do receive one star reviews, I never confront a reviewer about it, not in private or in public. First, there’s nothing I can do to change it. Second, it’s just someone’s opinion and I honestly do respect that. And third, it’s all about freedom of speech and everyone has the right to express his or her opinion (I wish they would all stand behind their names when they review, not as anons, but I don’t get to decide that).

I would, however, go after a reviewer for knocking something in a book I wrote that has a social impact. I did it here, in this post. In other words, if I’m writing about an experience as a gay man, and I’m taking this information from my own personal experience and journey as a gay man and a reviewer questions this (or blasts it), I’m not going to sit back and take it. I’ve already done this a few times, and I have no regrets.

But I wouldn’t (never, never) confront a reviewer for simply not liking one of my books. And that’s because I have enough experience to know it’s not the end of my life or the end of my career. And, like I said above, I do respect everyone’s opinion whether they like me or not. I’ve experienced negative reviews from one person on goodreads about one book, and then the same reviewer has given me stellar reviews on goodreads for another book. Again, this falls into the category of subjectivity and there’s nothing an author can do about this but smile and move forward.

There is one thing in particular that I didn’t like about this entire author blasting the reviewer situation…in a general sense. After I finished reading the blog post and the comment thread, where the author in question blasted people on the comment thread, I checked out the author’s reviews on amazon for the book in question. And I was extremely disturbed by what I saw. I saw almost 100 one star, negative reviews. And they all seemed to be based on the author blasting the reviewer in public, not on the author’s book itself. This is scary because it suggests that most of the amazon reviews I read were not based on the fact that these people actually bought the book and read the book. The one star reviews were based on how the author behaved in public when the author went after the reviewer and the people on the comment thread.

I could be wrong about this. I hope I’m wrong about it. Maybe they did all read the book. But if I’m not wrong, it certainly does suggest there might be something wrong with the way people are reviewing books, and ALL products, on web sites like amazon. As far as I know, book reviews on amazon are supposed to be written by people who have bought and read the book, not by people who aren’t happy with how an author deals with a bad review.

How Can President Obama Help Us With Bad Book Reviews?

This post was prompted by a facebook post I read late last night. A young author received a bad review and he was absolutely devastated. I felt bad for him. My heart broke. But there was really nothing I could do other than offer support. Every author has to learn how to deal with bad reviews in his or her own way.

I’ve been lurking around the Internets long enough to have experienced all kinds of book reviews. For the most part, I’ve been thankful. But I’ve had a few bad reviews, too. One in particular was for AMERICAN STAR. It was ripped to shreds in a quasi satirical review that left my jaw hanging. Not because of the bad review or for the fact that there was a technical glitch beyond my control as an author that left a character’s name mispelled throughout the book. And not because the reviewer didn’t spell my name right (smile: you have to love Irony in this case). But because the book is a satire. This is clearly written in the blurb. And I didn’t understand the logic behind roasting a book about pop culture that is already a roast about pop culture. I’m almost tempted to add the link here just so anyone reading this can get a good laugh. (Ah, what the hell. Here it is.)

If you’re going to put yourself out there on the Internet, in any capacity, from business person to author, you’re setting yourself up for criticism of all kinds. And you’d better be ready to take it. Everyone has an opinion and almost everyone feels the need to share it in public. I’ve been sexually harassed by one very popular gay book reviewer to the point where I had to block him from all my social networks. I’ve even had my books slammed on amazon because reviewers didn’t like the prices, which are completely out my control. All I can say is it comes with the territory. And, most book reviewers are excellent, they truly love what they are doing, and they care about their readers. So there is a bright side as well.

When I read the young author’s facebook post about his bad review, I couldn’t help thinking about President Obama. These days it seems no matter what he does or says he’s getting slammed from all sides. How he takes all this criticism is anyone’s guess. And no matter how bad it is he still manages to get up every morning, face the day, and continue running the country with a big smile for his critics. It can’t be easy. And when you think about his criticism compared to a silly little book review, it just can’t compete.

So if you’re a new author and you receive a bad review. Take it in your stride. If you plan to continue writing, the odds are you’re going to get more bad reviews in the future. And they will always be written by someone who knows it all, knows how to manipulate an audience, and feels compelled to express his or her exhaulted opinion for the sake of literature around the world and throughout the universe. And when you think about how the President deals with criticism like this on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, it’s comforting to know it could always be worse.