So there it sat in all it’s horrific glory- a one star review on Amazon.com.
Well, to be fair, it had to happen one day. You’re never going to please everyone all of the time.
Then I re-read it…. and I re-read it again…. and then I burst into tears.
Ever since I first posted on this blog, way back in December 2013, I have been working on building my psychological resilience. Sharing the words that I write with people still scares me half to death. FACT! It’s a fear I’ve worked hard to overcome over the past six or seven years. To see my book baby described like that was heart breaking for me.
There are three ways that folk react when faced with an adverse situation. It’s known as the Cycle of Resilience. When faced with an adverse situation, folk might:
- Erupt with anger
- Implode with overwhelming emotions, go numb and then become unable to react.
- Simply become upset about the situation.
Only option 3 promotes well-being. This is the approach taken by resilient people. This is the approach I took. Options 1 and 2 lead to people playing the victim by blaming other people and to rejecting their usual coping mechanisms when faced with a difficult or challenging situation.
There have been numerous studies into psychological resilience and how to develop and sustain your own resilience. Long story short and grossly simplified, there are four key factors to this:
- The ability to make realistic plans and being capable of taking the steps necessary to follow through with them.
- Confidence in your strengths and abilities
- Communication and problem solving skills
- The ability to manage strong impulses and feelings.
I walked away from the laptop until I had regained control of my emotions then calmly sat back down at the desk and re-read the review again, contemplating what to do.
The review in question was of Shattered Hearts and, to be truthful, it was vile. It was peppered with expletives. It was inaccurate in its description of the storyline. It misrepresented the book. It was offensive.
I slept on the issue then, the following morning, I reported it to Amazon. I did not request that it be removed. I merely reported it as being inappropriate and offensive due to the language used. If the review had been an honest reflection of the book I’d have left it where it was and taken the feedback on the chin.
Amazon removed it within a few hours. Whew!
But…. I know it was there. (I’ve no idea how many other people around the world read it but that’s not a point I dare contemplate for too long and I feel I should apologise if it offended anyone who had the misfortune to read it)
In all honesty it’s bothered my conscience that it was removed almost as much as it distressed me in the first instance when I read it. People are entitled to express their opinions but it was the right thing to do to report it to Amazon before it risked offending any prospective readers.
I’d be lying if I said that was an end to the matter. The whole thing has niggled for a few weeks now. It dented my self-confidence. It made me doubt my storytelling ability then I got it all back into perspective. I drew on my psychological resilience. I drew on my coping strategies.
I picked up my pen and went back to doing what I’d like to think I do quite well- I went back to writing and resumed work on Book Baby 6.