Pub Rants

Category: reviews

So PW Hates Your Book

STATUS: I’m really hoping to feel less congested tomorrow.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SEASONS OF LOVE from the musical Rent

No doubt about it. It sucks when you get a negative review from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, or Kirkus. Although from Kirkus, we all kind of expect one since it’s so rare for them to write a good one. It’s almost badge of honor to get a bad review from Kirkus! Means you have arrived in publishing.

By all means, take a moment to be sad. Email close friends so you can get some immediate emotional support.

But don’t bother getting mad; get even.

And the best way to do that is to take the sting out of that bad PW review. You know it’s going to be out there on,, Borders, and your closest large Independent bookstore website. There’s nothing you can do to change that. All those websites will post the big reviews. But you can minimize the impact.


By gathering all the good reviews you can and by getting solid “must read this book” blurbs from well-known authors. Then you bug your editor or in-house publicist to bug their contact over at the main sites to also include all these other good things about your book.

With any luck, these sites will post new info as it comes in and that black eye of a PW review will be lost at the bottom of the page. Even if it’s still there, prominently coming up as the first before all other reviews, at least you have populated that page with all kinds of good stuff that any discerning reader can then weigh and judge if they want to buy the book. The one bad review won’t be center stage.

Action is the best medicine.