1. Hundreds of thousands of books are published every year, and this person chose to read yours. Millions didn’t. Your gratitude for that should really outweigh your irritation at them “getting it wrong”.
2. If you respond, this will be for many, many people the only thing they ever know about you.
3. The book isn’t an exam you have set for readers. You don’t need to mark the answers at the end.
4. Before you get mad at someone for not paying attention, consider whose job it was to make them pay attention.
5. If a review is egregiously wrong, someone else will point it out. If no one ever does, it’s probably because no one is reading the review anyway. You know how people are about correcting other people on the internet.
6. Banish the phrase “set things straight” from your thoughts. That path leads only to the dark side. Be insouciant. Look at the picture of Jughead that illustrates this listicle: that’s you, that is.
7. Like a punch-up with a kitten, this is a fight you lose as soon as it begins, whatever the outcome. There is no way to win, nothing to gain. Let it lie and, if you must, comment on it indirectly later.
8. Unless it’s on Amazon, the review that bothers you so much will be forgotten before long, if anyone even notices it in the first place. The best way to make sure a bad review is never forgotten is to make a big fuss about it.
9. If you really can’t resist, at least spellcheck and punctuate your comments before posting them, or you’ll look like you’ve lost your temper.
10. Write your reply offline, on your PC, and take your time over it. Make it as short as you can. Aim for zero words.
11. Not many people, in the scheme of things, will buy your book at all. A variable percentage of those will read it. A very small number of those will be inspired to write about it. Not many of those will write about it when it is still in bookshops. Even fewer of those will have a significant platform for their writing. Don’t make yourself a writer that those people want to avoid writing about. And don’t make them give up writing reviews altogether because they’re sick of being hassled.
12. Remember that you haven’t read the book yet, not like they have. You’ve seen the words and read the sentences, but you brought to your reading all your notes and ideas, the unwritten backstory, the plans for the sequel and the roads not taken, and they didn’t. They’ve just read the actual book.
13. If your author chums are cheering you on, ask yourself if they’ve ever done it themselves. Are they supportive on Facebook, where the wider internet can’t see, but curiously absent from the blog comments? Sure, they’re glad that someone is doing it, but they know how daft it is, how bad it is for the reputation. They’ll let you take one for the team, but the team doesn’t have your back, not on this, not unless you can find a way to make it not about the review.
14. Still determined to set things straight? Read this blog post summarising author meltdowns from 2012 and see how it tends to go.
15. Oh sod it, man, go for it. Get stuck in. It’s never good for you, and it may be upsetting for the reviewers you’re about to browbeat, especially if your fans join in and start sending death threats, but it’s entertaining for everyone else, and it gives us something to write hit-bait blog posts about. Like this one.
Wednesday was supposed to be list day. This is list #6.