Bad reviews = Bad sma-shmoooos! Mummy Diaries: Pregnancy – Stumbling into the unknown

As I’ve not written on here for a while (slap wrist) I thought it best to do a post and update everyone on how I am and what I’ve been up to.

I am still feeling bitter about the negative feedback I received about my book, I know at this present time I have TWENTY THREE 5-star reviews but the 1 x 1 star and 1 x 2 star, are really getting to me still.

It’s taken me a long time to write this as I didn’t want to end up rambling and ranting but the 1 star review really hit me like a smack in the face. People say you should focus on the positives and not the negatives and at the time I had 17 or so gleaming 5* reviews, but it was so unexpected! I was just checking my Amazon page as per usual and it said 18 reviews which was 1 more than the previous evening so I eagerly clicked on to read what wonderful things someone had said about me this time and BAM… 1 star with the title ‘awful’. It read as follows:

I had high hopes for this book but it was awful! I dont know why people are saying its an honest account, I find the author whiney and self centred. There is nothing useful about this book, a complete waste of money. dont bother!

I stopped breathing. This was someone who had read my book? I had spent two years of my life writing, re-structuring, editing, scrutinising, compiling the perfect hints and tips section, and harassing ladies I know to give me their pregnancy and birth stories as I know no two pregnancies and births are the same, to create the ‘perfect’ pregnancy companion and this lady had read this very same book??

So I did what any sane 27 year old would do and cried. Hysterically.

I also wrote Tweets with a few swear words thrown in for good measure. My friend Charlie (@charlieplunkett author of: The True Diary of a Bride-to-be, The True Diary of a Mum-to-be, The True Diary of Baby’s First Year and 100 Little Words on Parenthood) called me straight away, not that I could speak through the hysterical childish sobs. Luckily 15 minutes later she had calmed me down and my voice was back to normal, bar the bunged up nose and the random hiccup-things a child has after a raging tantrum.

It took days to shake off that horrible back cloud, someone HATED my book – not dislike, not “I won’t read that one again.” Nope, took the time to go online and slate it good and proper. The thing that really got to me was that it wasn’t even an Amazon Verified purchase so she most probably didn’t even read my book.

The next bad review was from a lady called Emily – Verified purchase so she had actually bought it – she gave 2 stars and it read:

This mainly focuses on the lady’s seemingly doomed relationship with the father of her child which overshadows any actual pregnancy information or stories. There is a good collection of her friends’ birth stories which is the redeeming factor of the book but I found it all a rather depressing read to be honest!

That I can deal with, not a personal attack, just criticism. I responded to re-writing some of the blurb on Amazon to:

*WARNING* this book is not sugar coated, I do not lead a perfect life and the future of my relationship is uncertain – I hope this will make people who have the wonderful, loving husband and the perfect(ish) planned pregnancy see a different side to pregnancy, and those in a similar situation relate to parts of what they are reading – above all I hope you have a great time devouring my honest account.

I knew that when I wrote and published my book I left myself wide open to public criticism, but I never expected to feel physically winded – like a punch in the stomach. When pregnancy is such a stressful and emotional time in a woman’s life, putting pen to paper is so hard, trying to describe how terrible you feel for most of it, coming to terms with changing relationships, changing body, changing life – everything is so unstable. So for me to pour my heart out and be so brutally honest when I felt most vulnerable I thought was brave and I thought by sharing it may help women in similar situations.

Above all, I felt the comments unnecessary this is why they have lingered with me for so long – never mind turning my glowing 5 star average into a 4 ½ star average. Grumble..

Anyway, my book ‘Mummy Diaries: Pregnancy – stumbling into the unknown’ is doing well, currently #10 in the Amazon Bestsellers chart for Motherhood on Kindle so I’m happy about that. I am running a May Promotion where my book is just 77p so grab it while you can and enjoy if you haven’t already! Make your own mind up 🙂

Lou xxx

8 thoughts on “Bad reviews = Bad sma-shmoooos! Mummy Diaries: Pregnancy – Stumbling into the unknown

  1. I am so feeling for you and have nothing but admiration for you for not only writing a fabulous book, but for bravely tackling the topic of poor reviews in such an honest and heartfelt way. I’m one of your many five star readers who totally ‘got’ what your book was all about and loved it from start to finish.
    I have received my fair share of mean reviews and although I’m growing a slightly thicker skin, like you I cried my eyes out at my first one, my second annoyed me more than anything because the person said they couldn’t be bothered to finish reading it, without reading it all how could they give an honest review and why bother? Something my mum used to say to me and that has stuck with me is ‘If you haven’t got something nice to say then don’t say it.’ Personally I only give four and five star reviews and the reason for this is that I only review books that have totally captivated me from start to finish and I don’t waste my precious time reading something just to find fault, unless of course an author has asked me to beta read their work and wants any errors ironed out.
    So back to your review I have just one more thing to add, as a writer it is hard to see something you have spent a year of your life slaving over slated but when it is a work of non fiction and about your own life it is oh so much more personal. It is not a fictional character being judged it’s you and that takes an incredibly thick skin to ignore and rise above.
    Your book reaching the top ten is a tribute to how well it is doing and I for one will be cheering you every step of the way.
    You have achieved something that many people only dream of I’m hoping there is going to be a sequel.
    Charlie x

  2. Louise, you are a fantastic writer and the book is what it is, a warts and all account of your pregnancy story. Be proud of what you have achieved and the many ‘mum to be’s’whom you have helped. Not many people could write their pregnancy story as openly and honestly as you have.
    It is a fantastic book.

  3. Bad reviews are always going to pop up for all writers – I have a wonderful one for Make a Joyful Noise which says it is the worst written book that the reviewer has ever read (I instantly wondered why she/he bothered reading it then!). Full marks to you for making something positive out of it by writing this great article – now, I’m off to check out your book because it sounds a fabulous read.

  4. Here’s what I think, Louise. If you write – if you’re going to be any good – you have to give a little bit of yourself away. To really connect with people you have to let them in – otherwise what you write is simply not worth reading.

    But there will always be people who find it easier to criticise – maybe they’re people who want to write and can’t write, or who don’t have the discipline to write. Then there are people who can only lift themselves up by pulling other people down. Sadly, these reviews will happen to all of us: look at me – a 1* review because the book didn’t get delivered to her Kindle! So someone gives me a 1* review because she’s overspent on her credit card…

    Write what you believe in, Louise, and concentrate on the good reviews. I loved your book because it was real. When my wife was pregnant I read the textbooks, but they weren’t about real life. They seemed to think real life stopped for 9 months. As we all know, it doesn’t. When you’re pregnant the mortgage still needs paying, there are still problems at work, still arguments with your partner… It’s the real life story that makes your book worth reading.

    So stick to what you do – and know that the vast majority of people appreciate your writing.

  5. Hi Louise, you’ve had some wonderfully encouraging reviews, and as your other responders note you’ve already done something others only dream about – write and publish a book. I had a one starer on one of mine, and really got my hopes up when the reviewer called it “Satanic” and another customer commented “thank heavens you warned me” – I had visions of a club forming to petition for the book to be banned. But then a friend pointed out that it was probably the one and same person. LOL! Look at the reviews for the breathtaking (in my view) “Life of Pi” and “Cloud Atlas”. No one can please all the people all the time. Write for yourself first, (door closed for the first draft) your audience second, (door open and beta readers invited in) advice from Stephen King who has his fair share of negative reviews.

    Julia x

  6. Have to admit I haven’t read your book. BUT You were one of the first people I’d ever “met” on Twitter and it was your personality and approach that made me read your blog. That’s important for you to remember.

    You’re an excellent writer. You’re also a human being. Along with the other billions of other human beings. Statistically one of those people is going to give you a bad review.

    Who cares? Look at what you’re doing. Just take a step back from everything for a second. Look at the amazing comments and heart felt advice from established authors on this article. Look at how far you’ve come. It’s amazing. It’s truly amazing. You have a lot to be proud of.

    The more bad reviews you get the more readers you will get. Bad reviews mean publicity especially when they’re laid against plenty of 5* reviews.

    I say embrace the bad reviews. There’s a lot to learn from them.

    I will take all of this back when I get my first bad review and end up being talked off the edge of a cliff. 🙂


  7. I feel your pain! We’ve both been thoroughly spoiled by the 5* reviews so the 1* ones come as a shock. Somebody said that the characters in ‘Stilettos and Stubble’ were “bizarre” – erm it was set in a drag club not the local WI!
    I agree with all the other comments – and I will only leave positive reviews for books I’ve enjoyed. Why? Because I’m not a meanie and I know how much they wound. Chin up and keep on with the good work 🙂 x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s