Fantasy Authors Read 1-Star Reviews

I stumbled across this series of videos the other day: a whole host of famous fantasy and sci-fi authors (including Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, John Scalzi, Laini Taylor, Jacqueline Carey, Elizabeth Bear and more) reading scathing 1-star Amazon reviews for their books aloud. It’s pretty funny. My favourite is the third video.

A few highlights:

“I wish him well, but for now, SHAME.”

“I made the mistake of buying this book. Now I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t want to display it on the shelf, or donate it to the library where some unsuspecting child might read it. I don’t want to loan it to a friend who would then hate me for the rest of his life. I guess I’ll have to burn it.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go console myself with some Tolstoy.”

“To have this abortion make the New York Times Best Seller List is a crime against all the literary peoples of the world.”

“I think at this point Patrick Rothfuss could take a dump in a trapper keeper, and the same people who were satisfied and entertained by this book would give it 5 stars.”

Anyway, good entertainment value. Reminded me a little of those segments on the Jimmy Kimmel show where celebrities read mean tweets about themselves.

Also I think it’s healthy to remember that even popular, brilliant authors like these ones get bad reviews (and sometimes downright mean ones!), and can laugh at them.  There is not a single book in this world that is going to please everyone who reads it, and I never understand it when authors spend copious amounts of time fretting about what some random, angry person thought of their book. I think in future if I encounter someone who is feeling that way, I am going to prescribe these videos.

By the way, these 1-star review readings were organised by Patrick Rothfuss (author of The Name of the Wind) for his charity fundraiser Worldbuilders (where you can donate and go into the draw to win various prizes, or buy merchandise and bid on auction items). You can check it out here.

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4 thoughts on “Fantasy Authors Read 1-Star Reviews

    • Yes he did a great round-up, hopefully it makes your author friend feel better 🙂 The other thing I like to do is look up my absolute favourite books of all time on Goodreads or Amazon and read the 1-star reviews. I am always astonished that there are people out there who hate these books, but without fail there always are!

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      • For a fledgeling new author, 1 star reviews hurt sales badly (I saw one indie author post stats on his blog, showing how his sales dropped to zero after a one star review) but for more established books it’s just a joke. There was a great article about one star reviews on famous classics in literature as well as music and movies.

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        • Yes true, for a new author I can imagine 1 star reviews are much more serious – not just a small drop in a pond like they are with really established books. And obviously if you get several of them then it’s going to be very bad for your sales. So I can definitely see how they are something to fret about… but at least knowing that everyone gets them might take a little of the sting out of them, on a personal emotional level anyway, even if not a financial one. That said, I haven’t published a book yet, so I guess I’ll only be able to say for sure once I do and I get my own 1-star review!

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