I know a lot of writers, and in private, after a few cocktails, they all admit the same thing:
They watch their Amazon listings.
It's a maddening thing to watch your Amazon Sales Rank go up and down and down and down, sometimes on an hourly basis.
Even more ulcer-inducing is when a thoughtful reader decides to bash your book with a hatred so intense I can't help but wonder if I'd done something horrible to them in a previous life, such as murdered their spouse or interrupted them while they were watching Jerry Springer.
Oddly enough, many of these readers didn't even buy my book---they checked it out at the library. The experience was obviously so traumatic that they took up the noble cause of protecting potential buyers from wasting their hard-earned money by posting these warnings on Amazon, because we all know that once we see a bad Amazon review, there's NO WAY we'd ever order THAT book, no sir.
But, in deference to these guardians of moral outrage, I too have once posted a bad Amazon review.
After waiting 13 years for the sequel to Silence of the Lambs (which I loved), I was one of those crazy folks in line at 7AM the day that Hannibal was released. And I didn't like it. I really didn't like it. So I posted a negative Amazon review. And as you all well know, my negative review immediately stopped everyone from buying Hannibal, and the book only sold about a dozen copies all around the world thanks to my bitter rant, and Thomas Harris is now living a pauper's existence, unable to find work.
Since then I've continued to review books, but I only review the ones that I like. I figure life is too short to be negative.
Since then I've also gotten reviews that made my review of Hannibal seem quaint by comparison.
Karma is a bitch.
But bad reviews don't bother me at all. Everyone has an opinion, and all opinions are valid. Bad press is better than no press at all, and I'm happy to be read, even if the reader hated every word.
So I would like to publicly thank everyone who has reviewed me, both good and bad, and hope that you'll continue to do so to see if I get better or worse with each successive book.
PS - Don't buy Hannibal, it sucks.