Now that some of my online service has been restored and Barbara Rosenblat has returned from the Emmys (Orange is the New Black) was nominated), I’ll be returning my attention to the audiobook master class Barbara is teaching in November.
If you narrate audiobooks, being coached by Barbara Rosenblat is like being taught songwriting by Paul Simon.
If you didn’t already view this video, take a look and you’ll see what I mean.
Recently a fairly new narrator was taken aback when a negative review was given her most recent audiobook — her first negative comment.
Although she knows “it comes with the territory,” she was a bit shaken by it. She asked how other people deal with negative reviews.
There’s really no way to prepare yourself for the first time you’re publicly slammed. The first time, and maybe for the next couple of times, it hurts.
Worse, you think everyone in the world is seeing (and ruminating upon) that awful review. Trust me, they’re not.
When someone goes ’way overboard in their attack on you, you realize they’ve got a personal problem.
Yes, someone might really dislike your work. But some people are — to use the phrase those of us with degrees in clinical psychology prefer — just plain nuts.
If someone dislikes your work, there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve put your work in the public eye, and it won’t fit some people’s tastes.
Soon you outgrow the temptation to “fight back” and just ignore them. You’re not going to change the tastes of the person who genuinely dislikes your work.
For the people who are nuts — the last thing in the world you want to do is engage with them.
You’re talking about people with severe emotional problems, even personality disorders. They’re in tremendous personal pain. If you knew their childhood backgrounds, you’d probably be amazed they can function at all.
I’ve never recorded an audiobook, but I’ve published print books, iPhone apps, audio products…and, last year, a Kindle book.
The Kindle book is most similar to the audiobook experience. Each is published & sold by Amazon.com (Audible.com is owned by Amazon), and the marketing, purchasing and customer feedback mechanisms are virtually identical.
If your product or service is open to online reviews and attracts enough buyers, your measure of success isn’t “no negative reviews.”
Rather, you look for what has been called a “pistol grip” pattern: Heavily weighted with 5-star reviews, followed by 4-star reviews, 3-star, etc.
Here’s the current overview of feedback for my Kindle book.
See how it’s heavily weighted at the top and tapers down as the ratings get lower? That’s what you look for.
In this case, one person gave the title “2 stars” — because “there are no audio files to listen to.”
From a purely practical standpoint, your best defense is to have plenty of good reviews surrounding the bad one. If you have a dozen positive reviews and one that’s a blistering attack, the “bad one” actually helps you; it’s obvious that reviewer has a problem.
Think of the businesses you’ve seen reviewed on Yelp.com — 20 rave reviews plus one person who says it’s the worst business in the history of the world. Do you believe that one bad one, or do you believe the bunch o’ good ones?
Have any of your friends or family gotten your audiobook? If so, ask them if they can comfortably post a review.
Don’t post, encourage or solicit fake reviews. On the other hand, asking people who did like your work to post a review is completely legitimate.
Finally, if you want to “get revenge” on people who slam you: The simplest, surest way is to ignore them completely and continue to do what you love and take pride in doing the best work you can.
By the way….
I’ll be releasing at least one more eye-opening video of Barbara Rosenblat coaching a voice actor…to truly impressive results.
I’ll let you know when that video (and any other) is ready if you make sure you’re on my VO Email Gang. Take just a moment to fill in the form below, and you’ll be all set.