Caroline Hurry

Opinions flow like wine and critics have a penchant for sour grapes. You poured your heart into a manuscript only to be rewarded with a scathing review. Read on if applies to you.

Some of my worst ratings have come from gold medalists in grudge-holding. It’s personal. They’ll hide behind another name, but it’s not hard to figure out when you see the reviewer has one Facebook friend in common with you. Guess who!

You might mull over their motives. You weren’t fast enough to their sickbed or delivered snacks expressly forbidden in a WhatsApp message you weren’t privy to. They took umbrage to your “terfing” because their lantern-jawed lad with the ski feet is transitioning.

Being card-carrying members of the ‘Be Kind To Larpers Brigade,’ anyone placing self-acceptance over hormone blockers for troubled teens gets accused of bigotry. (Checkity, check, check!)

I hear “bigger tree’ because it catches more wind. Consider JK Rowling, who ‒ when Cancel Culture devotees asked how she slept after losing readers to her “transphobia,” ‒ said she counted her royalties. Her book sales rose from seven to 11 million dollars last year.

What does that tell you? Be true to yourself because the “friends” who can’t bring themselves to like, repost, or encourage you, resent you for “overstepping the mark.”

Their comments boomerang back to you as snide comments do. Even so, their antipathy is bewildering because it’s not like you won the lottery. You put down the popcorn, turned off the TV, and worked on your craft. Hard work trumps talent every time. It just takes application. It’s not a big secret!

Compassion heals the frequency clash. Shem. Things might have been different if you hugged your inner child more instead of shoving her in a closet with the anoraks, but whatever, Trevor!

Search your heart, send them love, and move on. Their purification process is not your concern.

So much for those with a bone to pick with you, but what can you do about the stinging reviews from strangers? A few choice quotes from my stash: – “too much purple prose” (fair enough); “too much like her other books” (it’s a bundle, you bozo!); “could have been 30 percent shorter” (than what?).

Unlike on Trip Advisor, Amazon authors don’t get to respond to reviews. And rightly so. I mean, what is there to say?

Take one of Amazon’s best-sellers: Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has nearly 222,000 ratings and no shortage of one-star critiques, ranging from ‘Simplistic Repetitive Drivel,’ ‘A Tremendous Waste of Time and Money,’ and ‘Overrated and Patronizing.’

I bet he beats insomnia by counting his royalties, too!

Cheer up if you’re smarting from a lousy review. There isn’t an author alive who doesn’t face the odd gust of negativity, and their books still soar. The same goes for venue owners or anything you do. Besides, some hate-raters DO make valid points. Be honest. If their criticism does apply to you, use it to improve your WIP or the book itself. The beauty of self-publishing is that you can update and improve your manuscript whenever you like! And so long as the good reviews outweigh the bad, focus on the readers who love your work and cater to them!

Two-star reviews notwithstanding, The Writer’s File is still in Amazon’s Number 1 Slot for newspaper and magazine writing reference. Lessons learned? Launch-pricing the ebook at 99c to make it more accessible paid off. Asking for reviews with a link and QR code (for print) inside the book also seemed to work. And my newsletter subscription list grew, too.

Once I hit 50 reviews (another 10), I’ll put the ebook price up to $4.99, but it’s still 99c from here.

Whatever your business, forget instant gratification. Steady and slow is the only way to go. Progress can only be seen in the rearview mirror.

A reader from Sweden sent me this image of her ‘picnic’ copy of Reign 16 Secrets from Six Queens To Rule YOur World With Clarity, Connection & Sovereignty

My first two self-published books are ticking along. Reign: 16 Secrets from 6 Queens to Rule Your World with Clarity, Connection & Sovereignty, and Flow 21 Secrets are getting FAB reviews – some of the best from men –which is gratifying. To celebrate, you can grab the ebook for 99c in the US or 78p in the UK until mid-February.

South Africans can email me directly for paperback copies at 

Sign up here to get writing gifts from me or if you’d like to subscribe to my sporadic newsletter.