What To Do About Bad Reviews?

What To Do About Bad Reviews?

I have been very blessed that so far I have had only one bad review. Some authors have had more than that, but no matter how many you get it hurts.

So what do you do about bad reviews?

A few years back I received such a review about the novel Perished. Sandwiched between 4 star and 5 star reviews it still offended me. Did I write a nasty letter to the reviewer? Did I erase the review from Amazon?

No, and no. The worst mistake you can make is to remove a negative review. Actually a negative review highlights the positive reviews. Readers will see that lonely negative review and also the positive reviews. And most will rightly decide something was wrong with the reviewer.

The young man reviewing my book actually pointed out the problem in his review. He admitted that he didn’t finish the book. Then he proceeded to tell his reasons for not finishing the book.

And this is where anyone who read the book would immediately know the problem. He not only didn’t read the book to the finish, he jumped around. His main complaint was that some of the characters did not remain true to their characterization at the beginning. I spotted this immediately.

One of the problems with writing historical fiction is that some of the characters in the book are drawn from actual historical accounts. In the case of Perished I was writing about actual Biblical events and people which required the use of real names.

Sometimes these names were identical to others. So it was possible to have two or more characters with the same name. Now if the reader is following the story as it was written, it is easy to determine which character is front and center. But if you jump around, never a good idea, then you could easily get confused as to which character you are reading about.

So the review was not only a bad rating (2 stars), but it was a poor review in approach and content. One side of me wanted to write him and point out his failings, but I didn’t do that. Why?

Because doing so is not good form. Most writers and teachers of writing will warn you not to criticize the reviewer. It simply offends others.

So I bit my tongue, metaphorically speaking, and left the review there. As I stated earlier it highlights the 4 and 5 star reviews. It becomes a plus and eventually helps the marketing.

Another response though is to take that negative review and ask yourself questions. In this case I asked myself if I could have done a better job of identifying which character was present? Most of the time the answer to that question is yes.

It’s possible that I could have eliminated certain characters and used alternate or even fictional characters instead. Sometimes when complaints come you can rewrite the book or at least certain scenes. The principle here is to treat negative reviews as a learning experience.

You can also treat good reviews the same way. Sometimes a reviewer may point out an error or a problematic tendency in the book even though they gave the book 5 stars. Once again you can take that and turn it into a learning experience.

Which brings me to another point or principle: leaving the negative review in place can serve as a reminder to you (or me) that you can’t please all the people. So don’t take it personally. Instead try to turn it into a positive learning experience both in marketing and in writing. Such an attitude will improve you as a writer.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.




And God saw…it was very good

And God saw…it was very good

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen. 1:31

The Book of Genesis is the foundational book of the Bible. It is the only reliable source we have on the creation of the world. God created a world where there was no sin and no death. It was a perfect world.

And within that world He created Adam and Eve. In fact, He created Adam before He created the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7-8). Within the Garden He created Eve (Woman) from Adam’s side (Gen. 2:21-23). We have an amazing God who created a perfect world with perfect people.

Then of course there came sin. That was man’s contribution.

Fortunately human science is beginning to catch up to the Bible. While it still stubbornly adheres to evolution, it has made discoveries that not only disprove or weaken their theory but also adds information to the Biblical account which we didn’t know.

You may have heard of the supercontinent Pangaea. But did you know they now believe it was the second and last supercontinent and that it was underwater? That’s right. They now believe it was formed during and under the Flood. Further, it is believed it may have lasted only weeks or months.

So what was before Pangaea? Rodinia! Russian for “mother earth” it is believed to be the original supercontinent. Evolutionists don’t believe that, instead they say there were probably previous supercontinents. But there is no evidence supporting such a theory.

Thus, the Garden of Eden was placed within Rodinia. When Rodinia broke up and became Pangaea it then broke into seven continents. It is easy to understand why human skeletons may be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, or some island. Scientists like to complicate things (it makes them seem more important), but even a child would understand this fact. The world likes to say that the Bible says the Garden was in Mesopotamia, and then tear it apart noting inconsistencies.

But when you understand geologic history through the lens of the Bible you can see that the similarities of names of pre-Flood and post-Flood geography are likely the result of Noah and his descendants naming things after the world they had known. By the way, we still do that today. We move to a new area, start a town, city or street and name it after something we left behind. It’s human nature.

In writing Perished I blended the Biblical account with the latest scientific findings. Obviously I used the Biblical account as the primary and science as only supplemental. Why? Because the Bible remains the same (in spite of attempts to alter it) while science is constantly changing. Take evolution for example. Compare today’s version with that of a 100 years ago. Vast changes!

As a foundation book to the Bible Genesis provides both a spiritual and practical bedrock for our understanding of the need for salvation and many other doctrines. In fact, the entire Bible rests upon Genesis. That is why atheistic evolutionists attack Genesis. If they could knock it out, it would disrupt the rest of Scripture. But although they have tried countless times, they have always and will always fail.

Unfortunately we will have to wait until the millennium (1000 year rule of Christ) to ever see the world as it was meant to be. In fact, we really won’t see it in pristine beauty until the New Earth.

The novel Perished has consistently received four and five star reviews. One reason is because it sticks closely to the Biblical account. It’s the story behind the story, or “the rest of the story.” It is available in both print and eBook. And it is available through Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords, and other fine sites. If you enjoy the book I invite you to post your review on the site where you purchased it or at least on Amazon. I’d be thrilled to hear from you at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

How I wrote Perished Part I

How I wrote Perished Part I

This series will give insights into the writing of the novel Perished. It will cover such things as inspiration, research, writing techniques and publishing platform.


My history prior to the writing of Perished takes you all the way back to my childhood. Looking back I have always had a lively imagination. As a child I would daydream of heroic stories in which I played the hero. This is typical childhood fantasies but I guess I never grew up. It is a fact that to this day my imagination works overtime.

As a teen I realized I wanted to write stories and as a young adult I actually signed up for a writing course which I eventually dropped for lack of money. But I had the bug and never quite quit writing.

I also loved reading books, so I read a lot of books. I occasionally tried to write a novel but even if I got to the point of developing a plot and working on a novel it eventually ended. I would hit the proverbial wall which I didn’t know how to get around. So the novel was stopped and eventually ended in the trash. This was not necessarily a bad thing since these attempts can best be described as terrible.

At the age of 30 I received Christ as my Savior. In an instant I went from a man destined for Hell and became a child of God. Some people mistakenly say that everyone is a child of God but what they really should say is that all are created by God. When I received Christ my destiny was changed and I became a child of God, a member of the family of God.

But asking Christ to save me didn’t just change in my eternal future. The Bible teaches that many other things took place then as well. I already had the talent and desire to write but I believe that God also changed my approach to writing. At the time I still couldn’t put together an entire story. I would get so far and then hit that wall. But God was working on me to put Him first.

From that time onward God worked in my life changing me. My worldview was brought into agreement with the Bible. As I studied the Bible I began growing spiritually. I not only attended church but began having daily devotions. And I started putting Him first in my life, even in my writing.

But in 2000 I became an author!

Up to that time I had written poetry (it won my wife) and computer programs (amateur) that helped my employer. None of these completely satisfied, but they kept my fires burning. I even dabbled in the hobby of building a model train with a village that became the center of another novel. But it also came to an end.

Then on one day in the year 2000 I was doing my morning devotions. My habit was and is to read a chapter a day until I’ve read the Bible through. It usually takes a couple of years, then I start over. On this particular day I was reading the Book of Genesis about Noah and the Ark. And the inspiration hit!

I thought, This only covers the basics! There’s a story untold and I can tell it.

From that moment of inspiration I knew what I wanted to write. But there was something else. I prayed to the Lord about the writing and in particular of writing novels based on the Bible and I was given a certainty about writing that I had never experienced before. I could never prove it, but I now knew it was God’s calling on my life.

Soon I was busy writing my first book, Refuge (no longer available). The book was published by AuthorHouse. And it was good enough that the president of a Christian university read it, complimented me, and encouraged me to continue writing. Such commendation was better than a published review because it undergirded my belief that God had both called and equipped me to write.

And it changed my life!

I not only continued writing but I eventually wrote the historical novel Perished which became the foundation for the series The World That Was which includes Perished, World of Noah and the Ark plus soon World of Shem, and World of Abraham.

The novel is available in both print and eBook. If you enjoy the book please post your review on Amazon.com. Not only do they helped me get a better position on Amazon, but I enjoy reading what readers have to say. And I thank you in advance.

Part II will begin looking at the novel Perished. First up, research.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.



The following review was posted by a reader on Amazon. (http://amzn.to/2u1Y409)

This book was like a dialogue to the bible. I could feel and hear each character…they became life like or real to me in the way the author pended their various responses and reactions to their unique situations. My favourite chapters were 44 and 45, where Queen Esther expressed her love for both men. The one she was in love with before she was ordered to marry the King-something she became willing to do and her now established love,for the King-something that obviously grew with time. I also loved the King’s reaction upon his death bed in that he now entrusted the life of his soon to be widowed wife back to the man with whom she was previously in love. I loved how she displayed faithfulness and trust in a most uncertain time in her life..a time when her daughter-in-law was seeking to take her place as Queen. This gives a fresh feel to the bible and is a real eye opener. I will definitely be looking out for book 2.

As noted above the link to this book on Amazon.com is http://amzn.to/2u1Y409.

Review of Book Blueprint

Review of Book Blueprint

Rating: 5 stars
Special thanks to Jacqui Pretty for sending me a review copy.
I am an author of Christian fiction, but I have written a couple of non-fiction books. More importantly I am always willing to learn how to write better. That said, I thought I knew how to write non-fiction. This book was an eye opener for me.
The author appears to favor publishing houses while I favor Indie Publishing and am now publishing my own books. But I found that her wisdom applies across the board. Her book is filled with cogent and practical words of advice.
I also found the book extremely easy reading. She stated principles, then proceeded to build upon them. An example of this technique is her discussion of a book’s Introduction. She not only stated the principle, “your introduction in arguably the most important part of your book,” but she also put her principle into action with an excellent introduction.
Repeatedly she demonstrated a solid understanding of her subject. By the time I finished the book I was thoroughly convinced that this blueprint is a valuable asset for me. Especially since I am seriously thinking of rewriting one of my books and may write a new one as well.
In rating this book I examined it from several angles:
Cover: 5 stars – I generally like more eye appealing covers, but while this didn’t measure up to that, it did measure up on such things as Title (great title), positioning, and promise.
Fulfillment: 5 stars – This book makes some great promises, such as: “The goal is that by the time you finish all of the exercises you will have blueprint that’s so detailed your book will write itself.” As a reviewer I didn’t work the exercises, but I could tell by the comments and instructions that these were concepts that would actually work. I believe this is a promise that any committed student would find fulfilled.
Readability: 5 stars – As I stated in the review it was easy reading. It moved along at a quick pace and was easily understood.
Structure: 5 stars – Perhaps the most important as the way she structured the book transmitted the information in a way that both informed and built upon itself so that the next bit of information fell into place naturally.
Content: 4.5 stars – The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was that the author didn’t really address self-publishing. The principles laid out are good for both professional publishing and self-publishing. But in all honesty I am being a nitpicker.
The overall rating is therefore 4.9 which rounds off to 5 stars.
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.