Over the last few weeks, I have spent an embarrassing amount of time on Amazon browsing reviews. Here's what happens: I go to my Amazon page and check my reviews. Nothing new. Then I wonder how my indie author acquaintances are doing. I check out one of their books. I think, "Wow, I hope I get that many reviews some day." Then I think, "Who the hell gave them a one star review? That book was awesome!" Then I read the one star review. Then my stomach turns and I desperately think of ways to get my book out of cyberspace before anyone decides to do that to me.
I'll admit, as a book reviewer I have written my share of negative reviews. I believe I even wrote an unapologetic, scathing review once. But after corresponding with countless indie authors, I have learned to give a disclaimer stating any personal bias I might carry (we all have a bias), and also to balance my reviews with an honest compliment. And you know what? You can almost always find an honest compliment. It's actually quite easy.
If you can't find an honest compliment, and you feel the need to give a one star review, that's completely acceptable. All I ask is you remember that authors are people too. As a general courtesy, don't put anything in a review that you wouldn't tell them in person. Personal jabs like, "Don't quit your day job" and, "this author is CRAZY!!!" are hurtful and unnecessary.
Now I know why Sylvia Plath stuck her head in an oven.
(I feel like I should apologize for that tasteless comment.)
Sorry, my point is this: Readers, don't forget that us authors are people too. And authors, when you get those negative reviews, remember that art is subjective and us humans are inconsiderate. Don't take it personally.
As for me, I'm bracing myself for the one-star reviews. I think I'll feel better once it's over. The waiting is the worst part.