Recently I was asked to leave a Facebook group because I posted a two star review on an author’s book on Amazon. The administrator of the group had very valid reasons for asking me to leave as he considers his group a support group and he felt that my review undermined that support.
I had no issue with being asked to leave, and I left willingly for a number of reasons, but it did hurt. The administrator of this group is someone that I respect and admire and consider a role model, and it stung when he asked me to leave.
The author in question complained in the group about someone leaving a two star review on their book. They would have preferred it if the reviewer had contacted them directly instead. The author never mentioned my name in the post which I thought was very classy.
I could have pretended not to have seen that particular conversation but I did not. I was the one that publicly admitted to posting the two star review, explained my reasons why and then linked to the review to show everyone that it was not a nasty review at all. I had complimented the author and then mentioned an area I thought required development.
Now if I had kept my mouth shut, or in this case sat on my hands, and not admitted to being the one, I might still be in that group. My being honest and admitting to being the one who posted that review cost me my participation in that group. When I discussed the issue with my mastermind group, most of the people said that I should not have posted the review. A few comments were thrown around including “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” which is advice I think we’ve all got from our mothers at some point in time.
It raised some interesting questions for me over the weekend. What is the right thing to do? If you are asked to do a review, but you have a problem with the book, do you post it? Or not? The reason I was battling with this was because I am so aware of the review manipulation that goes on at Amazon. I will not be party to this type of behaviour. It goes against every core value in my life that I consider important and critical to a successful life.
I also do not believe that one bad review does your book any harm. I know this from personal experience because I have one book on Amazon that has a shocking review on it that has nothing to do with the book. It is a totally vindictive personal attack on my integrity and ethics (you have to love the irony of that considering how I am battling with this particular issue). That book consistently sells about two copies a day, every day. I did a case study on another book that has a lot of one and two star reviews and this book sells between 100 and 300 copies a day (Why All Book Reviews are Good, even the Bad Ones).
Perhaps this advice of not saying anything at all stems from the fear of the repercussions if you do. People can be vicious and nasty when they get negative criticism. Very few people have the mental capacity to handle constructive criticism well. They lash out in anger and hurt, and will attack you in ways that leave you gasping in horror. That could put a lot of people off telling the truth.
I try very hard to be ethical and honest in everything that I do and say. I try to live my life with integrity, but I am starting to realise that sometimes you will pay a painful price for that integrity.
As this all churned through my brain over the weekend, I came to the realization that it does not matter what anyone else thinks of me. All that is important is the question “Who am I?”
The answer is simple:
- I will tell the truth but with kindness.
- Whatever action I take will be done in line with my core values.
- I will be brave regardless of the cost or repercussions.
- I accept that certain relationships will cease to exist.
- I will align myself with the people whose core values are similar to mine.
- I accept that there will be financial losses by taking this approach.
The advantage of this approach is that I will live my life with integrity and I will be at peace. I only have to answer to myself and will sleep with a clear conscience at night.
Diana Heuser specialises in e-Business and Publishing Resources for Authors. Connect with Diana Heuser on her business website, via Twitter @DianaHeuser or on Google+. Join our fabulous free Group “Secrets To Publishing A Book on Facebook”. You will find it interesting. Request to join here.