After a gross Amazon review, set your novel free!


So, I wrote an “inspiring, comical, feminist” (to summarise a radio review) chook-lit sort of novel about happiness in the earthquake epoch. That’s Fixing Mrs Philpott. Yes, it contains a few sex scenes, but most novels do, don’t they? Then I got distracted and failed to solicit those first few crucial reviews, leaving the book to languish unnoticed on Amazon/Kindle.

Uh oh, not entirely unnoticed. Along comes this email from a guy I’ll call Ron. Wallowing in apologies because he has written a “smart-alecky and flippant” review that “must have hurt your feelings.” Well, I’ve been communicating with readers for the last 40 years. This is generally a source of delight, but not everyone likes my books, and I have encountered the occasional idiot with a personal agenda. However, he did astonish me: how stupid can you get? A. to write such rubbish and B. to confess to it. In the end I’m laughing … and I pity him.

He thought my feelings would be hurt. No, but I’m annoyed because Amazon reviews are hard-won and influential, especially those stars.

My tragic reviews data for Fixing Mrs Philpott


Only a tiny minority of readers write a review. Half of my reviews for Fixing Mrs Philpott consisted of a single thoughtful, genuine review. The other 50% was squandered on — let’s call a spade a spade — sexual harassment.

What do you do with an inappropriate review?

I don’t know what’s best — what would you do? Nothing, if it’s one of 20 reviews. But because it’s one of only two (tragic, I know) here’s what I did:

  • smiled an evil smile
  • clicked “Not helpful” and “Report abuse”
  • made Fixing Mrs Philpott (Kindle edition) FREE on Amazon for the next 5 days.

Thank you in advance, dear reader-writer

I know you’re probably a writer as well as a reader. And that therefore you understand this situation. I was going to say, you have much more understanding than Rob — I mean Bob — sorry, Ron— but that goes without saying.

Forgive me for venting. This is not my problem alone. And if I had 20 reviews, it would not be a problem at all.

Meantime I do hope you enjoy reading this novel. It’s about happiness and I hope it brings you happiness. (Did I write into life? But of course!) I love giving it away free and I’ll do it whenever Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows.




15 thoughts on “After a gross Amazon review, set your novel free!

  1. lifecameos says:

    How extraordinary to go on like that ! Does he not have a life ? Nothing else to do ? He doesn’t like what you wrote ? So either give genuine reasons why if he does not like it. Or say nothing and move on. Some would be writers get so precious. Clearly he has had very little experience or practice in writing.

    1. I suspect you’ve hit the nail on the head. No life, poor guy.

      1. lifecameos says:

        It is good to see you did not take it to heart. But really !

      2. I am enjoying my evil smile. Eyes scrunched up.

  2. To be honest, if I didn’t like a book, I’d never go to all this trouble, especially if I didn’t know the author. I had a conundrum a few years back when a friend wrote a book. I did not like it. I had to decide if I would be a good friend and put a good review on Amazon or an honest one. I sat on the decision for a month. By then she had 20 or so reviews (several identified the same issue I had). At that point she didn’t need my review so I didn’t put one on. Her book was liked by most and she did well.

    1. Yours is a sane and kind and strategic response. I used to review books for the readers of a local paper, and couldn’t see any point in reviewing one I deeply disliked.

  3. bone&silver says:

    Downloaded & reviewed : ) gabrielle

    1. 1,000 thanks, Gabrielle — you are wonderful.

  4. Oh, I know just how you feel. I blogged a post after a bad review also: Getting reviews is so difficult. But really, we would like writers who ENJOYED our book to review. Those who don’t like it, just stop reading it then, ferheaven’s sake. 🙂

    1. Love that post of yours and what a great daughter/friend you have. She’s right. Moreover, if you get a thumbs down review that’s right out of whack with the majority, nearly always the reviewer has a problem that’s got nothing to do with the book. Unfortunately I forgot that, briefly, with my own bad mouther! Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Aunt Beulah says:

    You know how I feel about Mrs. Philpott, Rachel. A would-be writer trying to impress should be obvious to all who read his review of your fine book. And then his needy plea for more attention via email. Good grief.

    1. Thank you again! As you say, good grief. Or to quote a well known tweeter, “sad”.

  6. eidswick says:

    I just posted about the same phenomenon, Your response of offering a giveaway is great. I think I’ll try that too.

    1. I bet we’re not the only ones with this dilemma. Ultimately I feel sorry for this guy — and if I had done the least bit of marketing, it wouldn’t be an issue!

      1. eidswick says:

        I’ve been pretty careful about marketing, actually, but it’s hard to control for everything. If a prospective reader gives even a cursory look at the description and positive reviews, he or she should know the kind of book it is. But, to take the long view, this is to be expected and is an inevitable part of the indie writer’s ride.

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