Because Haters Are Going to Hate: How to Deal With Negative Online Reviews

It happened. You checked your e-mail and got the alert that someone recently posted a review about your book, only to find out someone had nothing positive to say. You’re hurt, maybe even ready to flip your computer screen because you worked hard-even gave a lot of yourself- crafting your project and someone virtually word-slapped you for it. How dare they, right? You’ll never make everyone happy and you can’t control what others are going to do or say. You can only control yourself. For now, get it out (not online but in the privacy of your own room) and cool off for an hour. Then, consider the following:

  1. Whatever you do, don’t delete the comment or you’ll be ridiculed for censoring the opinions of others.
  2. Don’t engage just to lash out. Now that people can screenshot or forward things easily, there’s no room for behavioral error.  If people lose respect for you, it’s harder to regain that respect later on. Be kind, even if the person doesn’t deserve it and the situation won’t be something that makes you cringe later in the future.
  3. Yes, we all know that internet trolls and online jerks are obnoxious, but really ask yourself if anything they said held any merit and why. If you can’t be honest with yourself, find someone who can be. If you’re willing to stand behind your product then remember: cream rises to the top and it’s just a matter of time before the positive reviews come in. No positive reviews yet? Ask some of those who honestly love your work (no close friends or family) to review.
  4. Find a blanket statement that works for you and use it. You don’t need to reply with an open letter trying to prove yourself. Opinions are subjective, they’re not facts. Your time is priceless, don’t spend it feeding negativity that you can’t change.

The most appalling to receive are fake reviews; reviews created by people who have emotional stakes in your work and therefore find reason to run a smear campaign against you. In these situations, document and collect evidence before responding. It is very likely that this individual, who has already proven themselves to be cowardly by hiding behind the internet, will promptly take the review down to avoid exposing themselves. You need to build a case against them; you need proof for that. Also, be aware that many other businesses/people have fake reviews posted for them to boost sales, so it goes both ways.

For more information on fake reviews check out:


This University of Illinois site on fake review spotting.

This NY Times article. Though it was published in 2011, it still has valuable information on what’s going on.

Remember, believing everything you read on the internet is so 199o and people are far more considerate about actually reading reviews today, instead of taking the percentage/star rating at face value, than they have ever been! So, chin up,  give it time, only put out your best work, and you’ll bounce back! People that don’t like your work will always be there, look for the people that do like your work and focus on them. Keep making that audience happy. I think Winston Churchill said it best in regards to “haters”:

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”


Photo credit to Pixabay.