My bad reviews

Ouch!Every reader is entitled to his or her opinion. I’m okay with getting a bad review now and then for my books and stories. But some reviewers are needlessly crass and cruel. And some can really hurt an author by stopping people from even looking at his books. I’ll tell you some details, but first let me make my appeal. Please help me break out from under the tyranny of these naysayers and help me reach a greater number of readers. It will be an easy thing to do. Thanks in advance.

Now then, to the details. Have a look at the following review, which is the first-listed review out of just three reviews for my ebook, Dinosaur Wars Earthfall on Apple’s iTunes web page:

Crap (one star)
“No wonder this book was free it is absolute crap! The author only research was Dinosaur related what about the rest of the story? The belief that one laser could wipe out the military might of the entire planet in one day is too hard to swallow even in a scifi novel. Plus this laser was able to knock out ALL communication arrays and sats in one day. The actions of General Davis are not consistent with of any competent officer in regardless of what branch they serve. Overall, the characters are clownish and immature and not particularly likeable.”

Now, I’m okay with bad reviews. As I said, a reader is entitled to his or her opinion. But this review is quite a strong turn-off to people who have casually clicked a link and come to the page. First of all, it annoys them with indecent language. Then it proceeds into a detailed demolition of my story. Lastly, because it sits at the top of a short list of three reviews, it carries an incredibly heavy weight, making it easy for potential readers to click on their way without looking into my book any further.

Let me say again, I’m okay with somebody not liking my books. In fact, I am familiar with every point the reviewer makes, because they are matters I considered and agonized over while writing the story. In each case, I chose to use “artistic license” at that point in the story. In other words, I veered away from what is possible or realistic for the other very important aspect of fiction: to make the story move forward and not bog down in boring explanations of “realistic” ways of doing things. This is why bad reviews are okay. It’s just a statement that the reader is unwilling to go along for the ride. Okay fine. But when the review calls my book crap, twice, it’s being too unkind. And sitting on top of the list of reviews, it is too powerful to ignore.

Hence, my appeal to you. Please click this link and do something to help a small-time author reach more readers. You can click the “Not helpful” link the page provides for each review, or better, if you have read the book or at least skimmed it, write your own review and say something nice about it. As soon as a more complimentary review replaces “Crap” at the top of the list, then that review will lose most of its ability to turn readers away.

I’ve had many many positive reviews for my books and, as I have mentioned before, Dinosaur Wars is currently under option to a major Hollywood production company. But these few nasty reviewers are doing their best to slow down the progress of my books and my writing career.

So why don’t you take a minute or two and lend a hand? I’d really appreciate it. Big-time, bestselling authors don’t need any help. With million-dollar advertising budgets, they can hire hundreds of people to do what I’m asking you to do. All I’m asking for is an even break.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep on writing. Thanks for your support.

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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6 Responses to My bad reviews

  1. Inferdramon says:

    I just looked at the page you linked and I don’t see that 1 star bad review at the top. It’s been replaced with a 3 star review that says “pretty good”.

  2. Inferdramon says:

    I added my own review. I don’t know when it will show up.

  3. Tom Hopp says:

    Inferdramon, thanks for writing a review. Yeah, the bad review is already gone. Here’s what I think happened. After I published yesterday’s blog entry, I got to thinking, “Doesn’t offensive language in a review violate iTunes policy?” I spotted a place by that review where you can report a problem, and I jotted a note about the language. I guess Apple responded within a couple of hours and delete the review. As I mentioned, I’m not offended if someone has a beef about my story. It’s just not okay to get abusive about it. Thanks again for writing your own review.

  4. Inferdramon says:

    You’re welcome.

    By the way, when you said Dinosaur Wars is “currently under option to a major Hollywood production company”, does that mean a studio has expressed interest in making a Dinosaur Wars movie? Or did you mean something else?

  5. Tim Koenig says:

    I just finished reading Earthfall last night, one of my first e-books. Tonight I stumbled across your blog and this post. It’s a damn shame that one individual can cause that kind of damage.
    Sci-Fi has been my favorite genre for nearly 60 years, starting with Asimov and Heinlein, so I’M pretty choosy about what I read. I picked this book because it was free, had dinosaurs, and was so portable on all my devices. Didn’t have really high hopes for it based on 1) FREE, and 2) cover art, but….I will be reading the rest of the series (non free). Also enjoy your blog a lot.
    Keep up the good work, there are a lot more of us than him.

    • Tom Hopp says:

      Thanks, Tim. Your positive remarks more than make up for the negativity of some online reviewers. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series!

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