Wonderfully Bad Book Reviews

one star bad book reviews

Sometimes, one-star bad book reviews can be really funny.

Call me a twisted masochist, but there is something perversely pleasurable that I adore about bad one-star book reviews.

After all the years of being fortunate enough to gain, mostly, wonderful feedback and reviews from readers, it never ceases to amaze me what some ‘let’s stick the boot in‘, readers find worth commenting on after reading (or perhaps possibly reading) my books.

Usually, it involves ignoring the story completely and finding fault in anything from spelling to hating the cover. With a little imagination, I suppose, there is always something to dislike about a book – or an author.

For those new to writing and publishing, bad one star reviews can come as an unpleasant shock, and even a depressing experience.

But they are a reality, and for any author with a thin skin who struggles to deal with them, it’s time to toughen up, and instead of jumping off the nearest balcony or in front of a train, accept them and understand that someone went to a lot of trouble to comment on your book, even if it was less than complimentary.

A few bad reviews are a fact of life.

Let’s face it, a book with only five-star reviews looks like it’s all been faked, so negative reviews are in fact very necessary, and beneficial in giving balance and to show that your book has been read and reviewed by more than just your family. In a perverse sense, a book needs a couple of bad reviews to validate the credibility of all the other great reviews a book receives.

To give a taste of the flavour of one-star book reviews here is a little selection below of a few of my favourite bad reviews I have received.

In reading 34% of this book I have documented 17 typos, and I stopped counting all the incomplete sentences in the first 10%.

As far as fast moving, this story read slower than Jane Austen or Dostoyevsky.

Well, how many pages is 34%, and sentence fragments stopped being counted after 10%? Why did you stop at 10%? Perhaps my British English spelling accounted for some of the typos, but to be ranked up there with Jane Austen and Dostoyevsky is quite a backhanded compliment. Nice!

Oh, by the way, you missed a third person ‘s‘ on read. The story reads! Typo to you at the 87% point of your review.

This is one of my absolute favourite bad book reviews.

It’s utterly banal, although Haines comes across as a person who it may be fun to have a drink with.

Cheers! I’ll drink to that. So when do we meet for a banal beer?

I am afraid that unless you are a fairly interesting person leading a fairly interesting life (let us say a Bill Bryson), writing a book about yourself and your opinions usually is not really interesting.

Who is Bill Bryson? Anyway, I’ve met Charles Aznavour and Phil Collins, which I think is interesting? But you’re right. I am really boring, as most writers are. I’ll be sure to write in the third person next time to make myself sound more interesting.

It was kind of silly to me. Might like it, it is SyFy but I did not care for the story line.

Um, I think you meant sci-fi. Oh, and of course it was silly. The story is a farce, and a farce is supposed to be a bit silly. Eh, who might like it? I’m really sorry but you grammar lost me in translation. But did you happen to like the cover?

where are all these high reviews coming from?

From readers actually. You know, those people who buy and read books, to the end. By the way, in my book, a sentence usually starts with a capital letter.

As you can see, my little selection of terribly bad reviews were actually quite fun. So, if you get a bad one star book review, don’t get upset, and definitely do not respond to them.

Some of these one star reviewers are habitual and seeking attention, so replying and trying to defend yourself, or argue, only plays to what they would like – more attention. 

Just have a laugh, or a quick little cry, and be thankful that someone went to the trouble of writing a review about your book.

One last important note about one-star book reviews.

Without fail, they are almost always posted on ebooks that are perma-free or have been part of a free book giveaway, especially on Kindle.

So if you would prefer to attract fewer bad reviews, perhaps avoid giving your books away for free too often.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

11 thoughts on “Wonderfully Bad Book Reviews

  • Hahahahaha! But seriously. Very intelligently put, especially the bit about having no bad reviews looking, well, suspicious. Am now more than tempted to read more of your stuff.

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  • Kind of reminds me of a particular one star for one of my books Derek:

    “The story dosent really pull the reader in. The writing is ment for a very young reader. The story line is rather boring.”

    Note that the ‘reviewer’ can’t spell to save themselves! ;)

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  • Its great you can laugh at yourself. There is wisdom in your amusing post. Regards. Kevin

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  • I find it amazing that the one star reviewers can’t write worth a penny. Your examples were very humorous, and it might be hard to take them seriously..

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  • Derek, a great post. The one star review bit made sense. Oh, oh…there are a couple of your typos! But, never mind, the post content overrides them. Christine

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  • The most outrageous one I have ever seen was 1 star and comment that the reviewer had returned the book unread because of the price.

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  • A friend had to explain that; “It’s a story, Jim, but not as we know it” was a bad review. Up to that point, I’d been quite flattered by the analysis. At least the reviewer was sufficiently moved to post. Positive thinker or delusional? I suppose that’s for others to say…

    Reply

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