I never read a book before reviewing it – it prejudices a man so. – Sydney Smith
I’ve been pleased with the reviews I received on The Ride. Yes, I paused here to knock on wood. OK…it was the side of my head, but let’s not worry about details.
Recently I read about an interesting study, Positive Effects of Negative Publicity: Can Negative Reviews Increase Sales? Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking for someone to write a bad review. In fact, I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. I’m only saying the results of the study were intriguing.
The report scrutinized the effects of a New York Times review on the sales of 244 fiction hardcover books. A negative review for established authors led to a 15% decrease in sales. A negative review for unknown authors increased sales by 45%. That’s quite an increase.
For unknown writers, I’m wondering if the increased sales have more to do with being reviewed by the New York Times than the actual content of the review.
Honestly I think a bad review would make me think more like Steve Lehto in his article, “When an Author Meets His Critics.” After receiving positive reviews in the New York Times, Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal, he talks about how bad a one-star review on Amazon made him feel.
He went on to check the reviews on some classics. He says:
“To Kill a Mockingbird was called "A BORING, WORTHLESS WRECK OF A BOOK" -- yes, in ALL CAPS -- by one reader, and "one of the most overrated and hyped books of our time," by another. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling better already.”
I suggest reading the entire article, especially if you need a few chuckles after receiving a bad review.
Have you ever given a book a one-star review? How do you handle negative reviews? Would a positive or negative review in the New York Times influence your decision to purchase a book.
Tags: Sydney Smith, negative reviews, New York Times review, Steve Lehto, Amazon, To Kill a Mockingbird