Sunday, June 1, 2008

Amazon Reviews... and Mothers-In-Law

copyright 2008 Mayra Calvani

You’ve published your book. You’ve sent it to many review sites and begun collecting rave quotes for promotional use. You check Amazon regularly to see whether any readers have written anything about your book. They have! Wonderful. The comments are positive. You keep checking almost everyday until—what’s this?!—suddenly you find a HORRIBLE review at the top of the list.

You’re aghast. Your face flushes as if a subterranean volcano exploded inside of you. How dare anybody say anything negative about your masterpiece creation? What an atrocity. This is sabotage!

After a few glasses of wine, you tell yourself you’re a reasonable person. You realize chances are not everybody can love your book.

But there are negative reviews and there are negative reviews… and this is book annihilation! This particular review seems to have been written by someone who not necessarily hates the book, but hates YOU.

This happened to a friend of mine recently. A few days after her book came out in Amazon, someone wrote a mean, nasty review.

The review in question was something along these lines: “This is the WORST book I’ve ever read in my entire life. It is filled with thousands of spelling, grammatical mistakes and clichés. Please don’t waste your book on this book. You’ll regret it for as long as you live…” etc, etc, etc… The review went on and on, its author clearly deranged or driven by sweet revenge.

Not surprisingly, my friend later found out that it had been written by her dear mother-in-law in reaction to how my friend depicted her in the novel (Lesson: DO NOT use your mother-in-law as one of your characters).

I know the lady in question, and while I think it’s true that she has “sagging cheeks like day-old pancakes” and clammy hands like “large wobbly maggots,” as my friend wrote in her novel, I believe she shouldn’t have gone so berserk. I mean, there’s something to be said for self control, right?

If any of you is the victim of such atrocity, there’s something you can do about it. Remember that Amazon wants you to sell your book almost as much as you do (they should—they take 55% off the retail price!), so all you have to do is contact them and explain them the situation. Most likely they’ll remove the review. Email them at:

But pleeeeeease don’t contact them for negative reviews that were clearly written by serious readers or reviewers, otherwise they’ll think we authors are egotistical maniacs who break at the slightest lashing … and we wouldn’t want that now, would we? (It’s important to keep our true nature low profiled.)


June is 'Book Reviewing' month at Blogcritics Magazine! To promote the release of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, author Mayra Calvani will be interviewing 15+ reviewers and review editors during the month of June. Learn all about the business of book reviewing and what's in the mind of some of the most popular reviewers on the internet today. Some of the guests will include: Alex Moore from ForeWord Magazine, James Cox from Midwest Book Review, Irene Watson from Reader Views, Andrea Sisco from Armchair Interviews, Magdalena Ball from The Compulsive Reader, Sharyn McGinty from In The Library Reviews, Lea Schizas from Muse Book Reviews, Linda Baldwin from Road to Romance, Hilary Williamson from Book Loons, Judy Clark from Mostly Fiction, and many others! To see the complete lineup, visit: The Slippery Book Review Blog.Stop by and leave a comment under the interviews for a chance to win a Virtual Book Tour (sponsored by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, a $150 value!) or a $50 B&N gift certificate!


Multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover and animal advocate Mayra Calvani hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She's a regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and American Chronicle. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, playing the violin, interviewing other authors for her blogs and newsletters and watching too many reruns of Gilmore Girls. Visit her website at


Marta Stephens said...

Mayra, I so enjoyed reading about your friend's experience. An eye for and eye, huh? :)

Best of luck on your launch!

Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for having me here! I love this blog!

jean said...

What a great post! Thankfully so far my reviews have been pretty positive, but I can imagine how it would feel to have someone say my book was the worst they'd ever read. Ouch! Thanks for the info about the business of book reviewing too. I'm going to pop over and take a look :)
Jean Pike

Kim Smith said...

As of yet, not there, but great information to have, Mayra! Thanks for posting!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

This one made me laugh myself silly, Mayra! Nice job. I did have one experience in the past like this - an embittered activist who had a campaign out against my first publisher. He became incensed when I actually had the guts to say that the pub had been decent to me (in public, no less! LOL). He then proceeded to rip my first work to shreds, saying he just couldn't understand why there were so many glowing reviews. It shocked and hurt at first, and I keep going back to it to see if perhaps there is some grain of truth to his criticism. It's tough! But thank God I have hundreds of positive comments and reviews from readers to keep me buoyed in times like this. Phew! I guess it means I can't be totally delusional. LOL!

giada said...

It´s really the case to say "Monster in law"..!!!