SPQ 010: How Do I Deal With Negative Kindle Book Reviews?

How Do I Deal With Negative Kindle Book Reviews?

The Question…

Andrew wants to know how self-published authors should handle reviews when reviews are so integral to success in self-publishing.

Biggest Takeaway…

[Tweet “Only respond to a reviewer when there’s an opportunity to provide customer service. “]

Steve’s Answer…

It’s difficult to put a lot of effort into a book and then get negative reviews, but there’s not much you can do about it. Everyone gets negative reviews, even famous authors. Steve says there are three ways to handle a negative review:

  1. Fight it.
  2. Respond to the reviewer.
  3. Ignore it.

If a negative review violates one of Amazon’s terms of service, then you can fight it. This tactic applies in the following situations:

  • The review contains profanity or inappropriate content.
    The review is from one of your competitors.
    The review is completely off-topic.

Responding to the reviewer isn’t always the best solution because it may look like you can’t take any constructive criticism. Steve made the mistake of responding to a negative review once, and it turned into a flame war. There are only two times you should respond to a reviewer:

1. You have an opportunity to provide customer service (e.g. the reviewer had difficulty downloading or opening your book).
2. The reviewer attacked your character.

Steve once had a reviewer accuse him of buying reviews and not making any money on Kindle. He didn’t argue with the reviewer, but he did comment on the review so other Amazon buyers would see that he’s not the type of person the reviewer made him out to be.

Steve recommends the third tactic: prevent and ignore negative reviews. Prevent negative reviews by writing a high-quality book and having a system in place to encourage people to leave positive reviews. Ask for reviews in the following places:

  • Blog posts
  • Email messages
  • Inside your Kindle books

If someone emails you to compliment your book, write back and ask if the reader would take a minute to review your book on Amazon.

Instead of checking reviews constantly, look at them no more than once per week. If you do get a negative review, see if you can learn anything from it, and then move on.

Resource Links

Andrew Galasetti: The website of Andrew Galasetti, author of To Breathe Free and These Colors Don’t Run

Amazon Review Guidelines: Amazon’s review guidelines list the four types of prohibited review content

SPQ Episode 2: Steve explains how to get organic book reviews

KDP Contact Page: How to contact KDP if a review breaks one of their guidelines

4 thoughts on “SPQ 010: How Do I Deal With Negative Kindle Book Reviews?”

  1. Steve,

    I like the idea of treating negative reviews like a band-aid. One look (pull) and done.

    I have found that some reviews are very helpful when pointing out what my book lacked.
    That is one step I take when researching a new topic. I’ll look at 2 and 3 star reviews of bestselling books and see what criticisms/critiques some readers have. That way I can possibly include extra material in my book that answers those questions/concerns if I think they are valid.


    • That’s absolutely a great idea. I’ve done that myself. You can use the “what’s lacking” in other books as a way to craft some that really resonates with readers.


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