My First Bad Review

I received my first one star review for ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square,’ yesterday. And, wow, what a review! They HATED it and proceeded to tell me in great detail why they hated it. In fact, it’s probably the longest review I’ve ever received. By the time I got to the bottom I must admit I was more than a little deflated. All the previous five star reviews vanished in a puff of smoke as I fixated on this particular hatchet job.

I say hatchet job as it wasn’t the most constructive piece of feedback. On the plus side at least they finished the book and took the time to post a review. It wasn’t in capital letters and they didn’t threaten to turn up at my house and burn it to the ground. I knew this day would come eventually but had been lulled into a false sense of security by all the wonderful and positive comments the book has received over the last two years.

I’m old enough to be able to take a bit of criticism on the chin. Even the greatest authors have received terrible reviews. Not everyone is going to love your work and you have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth. Constructive feedback is a great way to improve as a writer, whereby I can hone my literary skills and focus on highlighted areas where I can improve my craft.

I’m not going to go into the gory details of the review but it’s on Amazon for all to view if you so wish. But I did take issue with a couple of the comments which I found unfair and wholly inaccurate. I’m not going to rise to the bait and respond to them but they were just plain wrong and a tad crass if I’m being honest. But onwards and upwards. Thank you to everyone who reads and reviews by books; good, bad and indifferent.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

30 thoughts on “My First Bad Review

  1. I’m so sorry for you! I got 1 star review with a brief horrible note a couple of months ago! And I know how it feels!
    I’ve never read your books (I’ll read them someday :), but I enjoy reading you blog and like your writing style! This post is so well written, full of humor and true things! All the previous awesome reviews prove that you’re an amazing writer! So, keep going!👋✍🏼📖

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Two thoughts on this Stephen: First, opinions are like backsides, we all have one and second, the 6 Stars I gave you far outweigh this poor soul’s take on your most excellent work. Please keep writing!


  3. As you said, at least they finished it, and they left a review. And, you are strong enough not to rise to the bait. One way to look at it, yes, there may be those who are put off by a bad review, but there are also those who may be curious as to why someone thought it that bad, when you have others who have enjoyed it to the point of the high reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I have to admit, if I see a one-star review, I think to myself, “There must be something interesting here to have so irked this person.” And, let’s face it, anyone who has done a single one-star review is probably pretty irkable (if that is a word).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When you put yourself out there and create things you create an opening. Thankfully you are of the age (like me) where a couple of bruises are par for the course. You are a successful author and its been my experience in life that when you are successful at something most extreme (or as my Irish friends like to say “Crass”) criticisms come with a dose of jealousy. Congrats on your success as a writer, carry on mate.


  5. I’m glad you’re aware enough not to take it to heart. I remember my first negative review and it was my spouse that pointed out that if the reviewer was that bothered by the actions of my characters, then I had done my job well. Because the reviewer was moved (albeit negatively) by my characters. So, even a bad review can have some redeeming benefit in it.


  6. I read the review, and I think the main problem was the reviewer didn’t know about YOU. Anyone who follows your blog would know how key OCD was to the storyline, and how much of your own soul was in the book. As a stranger, just randomly reading, that connection can be missed. The OCD storyline was perhaps my favorite, but only because I saw so much of Stephen in Kirkwood. And you also wrote about OVERCOMING drinking – again, autobiographical – which was a key unit of the story.

    I’m sorry that it was rough, and they didn’t know about the blood, sweat, and tears that went into your book. It seems though that those who really READ it, get it. And I have faith that you will continue to reach the world.


  7. I’m not a writer but I review every book I read and will always be perplexed as to why those who rate a book one star feel compelled to write a novel about a bad reading experience (for them). I’m convince it has nothing to do with the book but an opportunity to get anger off their chest, missing the true target. Where a couple of sentences should normally suffice, long epistles get attention of a sort.

    Seriously, that review wasn’t about your book.


  8. Good for you for being able to handle the post and see the benefits of constructive criticism. Agreeing to disagree is a lost art. Yes, finishing a book and taking the time to leave a review is something I would appreciate if I were you. Discerning readers who reference reviews prior to selecting a book know how to focus on the things that really are a personal preference rather than a reflection of the author’s ability to tell a story. Here’s to the one star!


  9. Wow, that really sucks. On the plus side, they did read the book. But giving you a bad review … that’s like trolls on Facebook. Just saying nasty things cuz that can.

    I do book reviews for I read lots of books that I think are silly & stupid & many that are just plain badly written. I NEVER EVER dis a book. Sometimes it’s not easy but I always find a way to say something positive, something “pro” about the book, even if I acknowledge that it wasn’t the book for ME. Everyone is different. & I don’t expect to like every book I read. It’s not my job, as a reviewer, to like what I read or even to express whether I like what I’m reading. It’s my job to let other people know what the book is about so they can make a decision whether or not THEY MIGHT LIKE THE BOOK.

    I don’t think that writing a bad review does anyone any good. Like “readinginthewoldwood” says, don’t take it to heart. You wouldn’t take a troll on Facebook or Twitter to heart, would you? You’d just dismiss them as a jerk & move on. This is the same thing.

    Print out the review & tape it to your dart board! That’s what I would do. Tossing a few sharp ones at it would be the best therapy, don’t you think?



  10. Its horrible how someone can put so much effort in to negativity, but when it comes to being nice, they never know how!
    This must have felt awful! don’t give up on what your doing 🙂 you may not be everyones cup of tea, but your still someones!


  11. Anything we read is patched into our own lives, our own experiences and we view it from that perspective. Necessarily there had to be someone that your experiences and ideas didn’t resonate with. Let it go. It doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things.


  12. You’re doing an excellent job handling that 1. My Father used to tell me, although this was for another career, that I wasn’t doing my job if everyone liked what I was doing. You stated it well. And if anything, writing will always spur new thoughts within the reader. You’re looking at the positive side; although it’s still disappointing. Stay safe and blessed my friend.


  13. Thanks for sharing! I got some bad reviews this and last year, I never thought that it might happen to me, it wasn’t straight in my face but more of a passive aggressive silence. I didn’t know I can’t handle criticism until it actually happened to me! It could be worse, it could be me, I used to say in response to other people’s failures but this time it is me LOL live and learn I guess


  14. It’s been my experience that some people are just plain mean spirited; they cannot say anything nice. They are allergic to kindness. Constructive criticism is one thing, but deliberate meanness is another thing altogether. Don’t let it get you down; continue to follow your path. You are a success in so many ways. Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, I’ve never written a book because of my fear of what you have described happening, so I think that you are super cool for taking one for the team! One star shines brightly in my sky of appreciation.

    Your depiction of Kirkwood’s OCD has helped me better to understand the condition, and has given my depressive ruminations a place to go that is not the same, yet similar. Thank you for a more clear understanding. May the good Lord bless your soul for writing books to make the world a better place, and to have fun in the process by reading a great story. Seriously, your book has provided entertaining food for thought, and hope for my own little brain at the same time. Please stay blessed, and thank you, sincerely, for the example of your craft.


  16. I’ve received bad reviews also. Bad reviews aren’t necessarily bad. If every review is 5-star, they begin to look suspicious to potential readers. It’s good to have a balance of 1-star, 3-star, and 4 and 5-star, in my humble opinion. That said, I agree that 4 and 5-star reviews are the most desirable.


  17. I tried to copy a photo and paste it here, but couldn’t do it. Here’s what it says: “You can’t make everyone happy. You are not Nutella.” That says it all. Best wishes!


  18. Sorry to hear that Stephen! For what it’s worth, I read his comment and laughed at the irony as he himself needed an editor for the horrific grammar/punctuation errors in his review! I agree, he was completely off on many accounts. Not every story is a love story and I for one found it refreshing that you made the storyline realistic. Not everyone falls in love with everyone, as Hollywood would have us believe. His is probably the type who loves the typical mainstream triangle love story where perfect boy meets girl engaged to a horrible man, saves the damsel in distress, and they fall deeply into happily ever after.

    This is one of my greatest fears as a writer. I do not take criticism well, my heart is far too soft. Hopefully you will realize that his review says more about himself than you as a writer.


  19. WOW! I find it astonishing Stephen. The only time I was even tempted to leave a one-star review on anything I had ever purchased was when we bought a microwave from a company and it did not work at all….and then we had to send it back and wait for the replacement….which also did not work at all…second time round we just asked for a refund and bought a microwave from a different company. But you know…I left a two-star review in the end to say it looked so pretty. it was just a shame it was more ornament than functional. For someone to leave a one-star review….it really does seem as if they were having a terribly bad day and have their knickers in a twist. Please don’t let it discourage you. I felt like I was reading Victor Hugo or Alexandre Dumas during parts or your book, and other parts I became completely absorbed in your main character.


  20. As you say, for any half decent piece of literature (of which in my opinion your books are exceedingly more than half decent!) there are always going to be people who like it and people who don’t. As you keep reminding me, we must take things with a grain of salt, and distill out the useful things from each interaction we have. Even if sometimes that is simply recognising the red flags about interactions with certain people.

    I’m sorry I haven’t yet dived into reading “A New Jerusalem”, and provided a review for that book, but I am feeling the need for some Kirkwood Scott Chronicles so it’s near the top of my reading list – which is very long!


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