Most of my books have received excellent reviews. Several have a perfect 5-star review score on Amazon. I know that some or all of my books will also receive less than glowing reviews, and indeed that has happened to some of them.
I’ve learned, however, that the timing of a less-than-stellar review can have a hugely negative impact on a recently launched book if it is the first review for that title or in the absence of other strongly positive reviews.
That happened a while back to a title I released. Someone I considered a friend left a review that I believe in the absence or near-absence of any other positive reviews for the new book at the time pretty much killed any sales momentum for that book. She left a similar review for multiple titles, but because the other titles already had positive reviews her comments didn’t crush sales for the other titles.
I felt I’d been kicked in the gut by a friend. I knew she didn’t kill sales of the book on purpose, and I believed she was even perhaps trying to help me by providing feedback. Her reviews for each of the books included a comment something to the effect that she’d lowered the rating because the books lacked a Table of Contents or Index. I was stunned that the lack of either would cause a reader to lower the rating of the book by two stars out of five. Deep down inside I knew it would have been better for each of those anthologies to have had a Table of Contents, but I felt the punishment was far greater than the crime, and that what was done was done and couldn’t be undone.
I felt hurt, and my pride, ego, and stubborness, fueled my pain, anger, and disappointment. It felt so unfair to me. I let the feelings fester.
This morning the feelings resurfaced for perhaps the hundredth time, but it occurred to me that it actually wouldn’t be all that hard or prohibitively expensive to add a Table of Contents to each of the books, and I committed to myself to do so. All of a sudden, my negative feelings changed to gratitude for her feedback and her intent. I know it may be too late to save the one title, but at least future readers of all the titles will have a Table of Contents to find favorite stories, poems, writers, and poets.
This morning I was once again reminded as to the corrosive power of ego, pride, and stubbornness, on relationships and results.
I apologize to the person who mentioned the lack of a Table of Contents or Index in her reviews. I believe you were well-intentioned. I’m sorry for not being wise enough at the time to appreciate and be grateful for your gift. Thank you.
I plan to reach out to her today and attempt to apologize privately.