Ebook feedback

How to handle negative feedback on your book

Self-publishing is no longer a one-shot deal – it’s a process. We all need to use that to our advantage.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform and the other offerings from Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords et al are making it easier than ever to update the text or cover of your book from anywhere you are, 24/7. This should fundamentally change your mindset about book feedback. I’m talking about the negative stuff. It’s now infinitely more valuable than the positive stuff.

How so? Firstly, realise that if you send your self-published book out into the world, you’re taking a ticket in the self-pub lottery, so you have to be prepared to play the game. Not everyone will like your book, and there will be people who criticise it. Guaranteed. Everyone deals with this, from the mega-authors down. You need to see every piece of negative feedback as a gift – especially if it’s objective.

Self-publishing may be a lottery, but it’s one that you can skew the odds in your favour.

Someone pointed out errors or inconsistencies in your book? Suck it up and fix them, princess.

In the days when we printed words on dead trees, if a reader pointed out an error on Page 23, the only way you could react was with frustration and mild embarrassment. What else could you do? Knowing that the reader knew that, you would probably also resent them for pointing it out.

Now, in the days of near-instant book updates, when a reader points out an error, they have presented you with a golden opportunity to improve your work and add value to your product. They gave a crap enough to tell you, and you want to get grumpy about it?

We pay proofreaders good money to spot this stuff, and then we want to get upset when people do it for free?

Time to get over ourselves and improve our work.

Posted in Writing tips.


  1. Hi Jason

    Have to say, I saw your story lead and felt sick to my stomach! I was kicking myself last night for having opened my mouth. I certainly didn’t intend it to be negative feedback or criticism. I just thought you would have preferred to know. And this from someone who has yet to even put his writing properly out there!

    Anyway, I do hope you didn’t want to get too grumpy or upset. I’ll send you my script in a moment so please feel free to unleash hell on every cliche, stereotype and typo it’s no doubt riddled with! As you say, some people charge very good money for assessing the written word so I’m more then grateful you’re taking the time to look at mine.


    • Ha ha! No, this is exactly my point. I always prefer to know. I’ll have those few typos squashed and my book will be better for it! It took quite a few ales to get it out of you though, so you should feel like you showed plenty of restraint.

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