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When Your Hard Earned Kindle Reviews Disappear

I was literally in the middle of writing a post that shared the results of my very successful book launch for The Kindle Publish Launch Formula.  In fact, I had approximately 350 words completed which included the general outline that I was then going to go back to and fill in.

To do this I had to log into to my KDP account to take a look at my current results.

Like an abrupt smack in the face, I saw that all my reviews were gone.

Gone.

Instead of 10 beautiful full stars. I saw a link that said, “be the first to review this book”. How can that be?

My stomach dropped to the floor and I did what I always do when I encounter an obstacle. I found my wife and explained what happened.

Visibly annoyed, I made it clear to her that I needed to be brought to a better place before attempting to address this concern.

She effectively did this by saying “Mike, obviously, there is some misunderstanding or error somewhere. When did you become a guy who panics before obtaining more information?”

That is why I married her. She called me out and kept me honest.

I pride myself on being able to view everything as an experiment. If I don’t like the results I simply adjust the actions until desired results are achieved.

So why was I acting out of character?

As I reflect on this experience I realize that I was particularly emotional about this because of the topic it was concerning; reviews.

Within the very book that this was happening to, I implore writers to ensure that they obtain reviews in an honest and ethical way.

Now all of a sudden I went from 10 reviews to 0 in a matter of minutes.

I couldn’t help but feel dirty.

What had I done wrong?

Had the KDP rules changed?

Did I reach out to people and offer them a free copy in exchange for an honest review? Yes. It was always and still is my understanding that was acceptable. Prior to my launch, I asked supporters to leave an honest review but to state that they received a free copy to enable providing an honest review.

If it isn’t clear, the theme of that last chapter was honest.

I stand by this. I only ask people who I know are going, to be honest, and then I strongly implore honesty.

These people have provided less than stellar reviews for my previous books.

Now, unfortunately, I can’t tell you this story has a good ending. In fact, it doesn’t really have an ending at all.

All I can tell you is that I have since reached out to KDP support on two separate occasions and at the time of me writing this post I have not heard back yet.

There is a moral to this story, though.

Right now I have two choices. I could choose to be stressed out and anxious over this.

Or, I could focus my attention on resolving this issue and when in a period of waiting for Amazon’s response I can focus on other ways to be productive.

So on that note, I’m going to work on my self-publishing course that supplements that the book. A blog post and some course work completed.

Not a bad panic mode to be in.

 

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The Five Stages of Recieving Negative Reviews

“Needs lots of editing. Points made obvious and superficial. Great book for late teens and early 20s. Lacks sophistication for older crowd.”

This was a review that a reader left me about my book  The Persistence Formula. I’m not going to lie, it hurt. I put a ton of time and thought into that book and it is beyond frustrating that a person can rip it apart so easily.

What makes it worse is that this reviewer is essentially saying that I lack sophistication.  However, I can proudly say that I’m officially not worried about it anymore because I have endured the five stages of receiving a negative review.twitter-152681_1280

Stage 1: Nausea – its as if the words form a fist and punch you directly in the stomach. You read it a couple of times and each time you feel worse. At that point you create a distance from the you and your screen.

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Stage 2: Failure – after you come to terms with reality and the nausea subsides (temporarily depending on the severity) then you can’t help but feel like a failure. You begin to question why you even bother writing. You wonder why you think you’re even qualified to try and write anything for anybody.

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Stage 3: Anger – you become overwhelmed with all that you want to do to avenge such negativity. You want to reply with a balance of defending yourself and verbally assaulting the reviewer. It should be pointed out that each of these three stages toggle back and forth between one another until you can come to terms with the fact that negative reviews are a part of writing.

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Stage 4: Acceptance – some times it takes reaching out to your writing groups or reading negative reviews of famous authors, but eventually you get to a point where you don’t mind the review. You don’t like it but you don’t mind it. You accept it.

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Stage 5: Badge of Honor – this stage doesn’t happen every time for me but every now and again I’ll read a negative review about one of my publications and feel a sense of pride. I get to a point that I’m proud of the fact that I strive to spread my message despite that vulnerability that comes with it.

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Stage 6: Learning – again this doesn’t always occur for me but once I come to terms with the review and experience stage five I will reach point where I’m ready to read the review objectively. Occasionally, the reviews will be helpful. Consider the review above. It does offer some constructive advice. For example the review began by stating that it required more editing. Its funny because when I wrote that book I hired a new editor and didn’t thoroughly review his work. As a result I hired a different editor to revamp the book.

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Stage 7: Forgotten – you eventually forget about the review. The review that took me through the previous six stages fades away into nothingness. The reality is, as much as it can hurt to read that somebody thinks that you work lacks quality, you still have work to do. To focus too much time and energy on something you can’t control is a waste of time and certainly will not help you produce more quality work.

If you’re reading this and your thinking to yourself that the stages above are not at all relatable to you then I’ll ask you to consider this request. Regardless of your stages I beg you to be sure that it doesn’t stall your writing efforts. Do not let the negativity of a reader dictate whether or not you continue writing.

Be discouraged, be sad, be angry, be whatever you want to be but just be sure to keep writing. As I stated earlier, there is a great vulnerability that writers are exposed to when they publish their work. This is part of what makes writing so great, because it makes it slightly risky. Once you publish something you are the mercy of your audience. It is scary but exhilarating and any negative review that comes your way should simply serve as a reminder that you are a human putting yourself out there to help or entertain as many people as you possibly can.

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We All Think We’re Terrible Writers At One Point Or Another

despair-513529_1920I just finished the first draft of my fourth book. I should be excited, right? Nope. Not in the least. This goes against my character. Typically, I’m a pretty positive guy. However, the reason for my atypical negativity is a direct result of the feeling I had the entire time I finished the remaining final portion of my book.

The entire time I was writing it I just kept thinking to myself this is horrible. This is awful. Who would want to read this? People are going to think I’m full of bologna.

I am speculating at this point but I believe the cause for such a detrimental outlook was derived from the lack of clarity in my mind as to what I was ultimately trying to say.

Due to a few family issues the progress of this particular book was slightly delayed a bit so when I returned to finish it I felt like I had lost my voice. Since I am a firm believer in getting things done I worked through my negative outlook. I ignored the rude, hurtful comments my inner self was trying to convey and I wrote.

When I finished the book I felt relief but it was quickly overtaken by the fact that I had just completed a piece of trash. Here is why, ultimately, despite everything I am telling you I am still moving forward with this book.

  1. I hired an editor that understands my voice and knows me as a writer, at times, better than I know myself. He will repair any damage I’ve done.
  2. I reviewed some positive reviews from my other three books.
  3. I read a few paragraphs from my best selling book.

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These three things are enough to convince me that the negativity in my mind will pass and though I require help from others to perfect each book, that is all part of the process.

Here is what I’d like you take from this article. If you are new to writing then just be proud of yourself for completing a book or an article. If you’re a bit more experienced then leverage all the positive feedback you’ve received in the past to get you through your low moments.

Either way do not quit.

As I sit here writing I can’t help but reflect on what writing means to me. It means expression, freedom, value, problem solving, community and so much more.

Oh yeah and one more item…therapy.

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Thanks for letting me air out all my baggage.

Now enough reading, start writing!