SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! How to Handle Bad Book Reviews (Hint: Do NOT Ask Amazon to remove them!)

SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! How to Handle Bad Book Reviews (Hint: Do NOT Ask Amazon to remove them!)

⇒ Author is upset about legitimate bad book review

⇒ Amazon won’t remove those

⇒ How to distinguish legitimate reviews from malicious ones

⇒ How to respond to bad book reviews


An author contacted me this week about a bad review posted on Amazon about her book. She wanted advice on how to get it removed. Some ding dong at Amazon told her that her publisher can have it removed but I had to tell her that’s not true.

If Amazon removed legitimate bad reviews from their site just because the sellers didn’t like them, people would stop trusting Amazon with their purchasing decisions. I read the review in question and it was obvious the person read the book, and had even read another book by the author. The reader didn’t like the new book as much as the old one, and gave several examples as to why.

While Amazon might, on occasion, remove a malicious review (one clearly written by someone who didn’t read the book, and who has a personal problem with the author or content), they aren’t going to remove real, honest bad reviews of products on their site. Period.

I know it’s upsetting when a reader doesn’t like what you wrote. I’ve been hung out to dry by readers plenty of times in my writing life. It comes with the territory. You spend so much time working on your baby (your book), you finally get up the courage to present it to the world, and then WHAMMO! Somebody dings you. Hard. Believe it or not, you get used to it after while and you learn how to shrug it off.

Sensitive authors must learn how to lick their wounds, pick up where they left off, and learn from negative reviews when working on their future books.

If you receive a bad review on Amazon (or any other site) that is clearly legit, and not malicious, don’t stomp your feet, and insist that somebody do something to hide it from the world. Rather, consider posting a comment under the review explaining your side (if it’s a disagreement about content). If there was a factual error in your book, or typos, you might even consider apologizing publicly, and making edits to your book for future readers. You can post under the review that you have done that and that the problems have been rectified.

I liken this type of behavior to celebrity rehab. When a celebrity screws up and kicks and scream, insisting they didn’t, the media covers the story for a loooooong time. If they apologize and check into rehab, everybody forgets the incident within a few days and moves on.

Also, consider asking some of your happy readers to post positive reviews to balance out the negative. Only do this with REAL readers who have contacted you with praise about your book. Never, EVER ask anyone to post a fake positive review about your book. Trust me – most readers will know it’s fake, and so will Amazon. If Amazon suspects review fraud, you can not only lose your listing on Amazon, but you can also get banned from the site. It’s just not worth it.

So, suck it up, buttercup, move on, do what you can to fix the problem, and do an even better job on your next book. 🙂

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About The Author

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Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com

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2 Responses to "SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! How to Handle Bad Book Reviews (Hint: Do NOT Ask Amazon to remove them!)"

  1. Pamela Allegretto  July 19, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    All great advice. I agree, posting a comment under the review might win that reader over to perhaps give your next book a try. Also, it endears you to other readers. I have not had a bad review, thankfully, but I always comment under each review I receive on Amazon, Goodreads, et al. It takes time to write a review, and I like to let my readers know how grateful I am for their kindness. As for Amazon, unless you are a “verified” buyer, they won’t allow a review. Even if it goes up, it most likely with get taken down within a short period of time.

  2. Tatiana Claudy  July 19, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you for a great article!