One topic that comes up pretty frequently in author/reader/reviewer circles is the negative review. Are they a social good or ill? Should a writer ever acknowledge them? Are they a violation of mama’s rule not to say anything if you can’t say anything nice? Etc., etc.
I’ve stated before that I welcome negative reviews as long as they articulate textual problems, for two reasons. The first is simple dedication to my craft – a valid criticism can open my eyes to a quirk of my writing that I had not seen for myself and lead me to improve as a creator. The second reason is more commercial: one person’a deal-breaker is another’s deal-maker.
For example…as part of my pregnancy-running Steampunk reading kick, I have seen the name Lindsay Burowker (sorry, spelling may be off and I am on my phone, too hard to fact-check) pop up. I’ve looked at…her (? I think it’s her) books but never been able to pull the trigger on a purchase, because they seemed more Steampunk than romance, and I’ve been wanting a balance of the two. Then I saw two reviews of Balanced on the Blade’s Edge (see caveat above about to-the-letter accuracy) that included kvetching about the book having too much focus on the romance and a too-graphic sex scene. Ding, ding, ding! Just what I had been waiting for. I picked up a copy. Haven’t started reading yet, but the author has my money now regardless. And all because of the negative reviews.
Addendum: I read it, and it was awesome. A well-selected purchase. I will definitely buy more in the series if she writes them…and all because of the person who chose to articulate a particular disappointment.