I think a lot of writers don’t publish their work because they fear failure, embarrassment, bad reviews…
For them, the timid, being afraid is the right choice.
The only way you can guarantee not getting a bad review is to never publish. So you have to ask yourself: can I accept the fact that there will be bad review?
Can I live with the fact that my marketing may get my ad viewed by someone who it is not intended for, and that person may read the ad and be so convinced that the book is good that they buy it – and don’t like it? The reviews may have led them to think it was Grisham-worthy, or as good as Stephen King.
Then it wasn’t.
And then they said so in a bad review.
But that’s some good marketing! As for any bad things a person might say personally, don’t you tell your kids that a person who says bad things about others really has problems of their own that they try to hide by bringing down others?
And wait; 7 out of 35 reviews were bad. The rest were 3 stars or better. Most were 5 stars.
Why go on thinking about the small percent that didn’t like the book? MOST READERS LIKED IT!
Celebrate the hundreds of people who bought your book and will buy the next one. (When you have millions of happy readers, you won’t need my input anymore.)
Celebrate the good reviews.
See what can be learned from the bad reviews, if anything, and commit to thank them for being honest. Then work hard to improve.
Celebrate the money.
And get to work on the next book. Make some notes about how painful this experience was so you can (A) use it for a character that something bad happens to and (B) to laugh about down the road when you look at it and it isn’t an overwhelming thing to see anymore. That day does come. Turn on the news and you’ll see real people with real suffering; this is nothing. And it will pass. A day will come, sooner than you realize, that the big bad review doesn’t hurt anymore.
In the meantime, celebrate the joy you brought to people who liked the story and don’t let the ugly words of one person overtake the words and actions of hundreds – theirs are better because they were in with love not hate, joy not pettiness. Long after he is gone, that book will still be there. And long before that, his words won’t mean shit to anyone.
But the joy you brought to so many will lie in their hearts forever. You did that. Don’t ever let one asshole take that away from you, because it takes it away from them, too – it was their gift to you, and he doesn’t have the right or the power to take it away, so stop letting him have that power and give it back to those it belongs to.
Then get your ass back to writing.