Bad Reviews, by Wendy Reis, from her blog of August 11, 2011 –
Don’t slit your wrists, heave your laptop into the dumpster, join a convent or drown your sorrows.
If the review is downright nasty it is not really about you. I know, but trust me. If, on the other hand, some of the points have merit (and you may be in no frame of mind to acknowledge that for a week or two), let them aid you in honing your craft and grow from the experience.
We can’t all like the same things. That’s not simplistic, but it is simple. There would be only one writing style, one genre, one boring world if tastes didn’t differ.
Book reviewers have preferences but those should not interfere with the assessment of writing style or character development.
Overall impression is, yes, highly subjective, but a good reviewer will clearly differentiate between that and the general merits of the material.
I get paid to read books and write reviews. I don’t get paid to sugar coat anything or lie. There is not enough money on the planet. But there are gentle ways to convey the message that a book didn’t leave an unforgettable impression.
I won’t write a scathing review of anything. People who do that have other issues and get their jollies out of grinding writers to bits. They go through life, in general, fangs first. If one of those rabid reviewers does a number on your book, try to stay calm.
How should you take it if you ever get a bad review?
Excellent advice from Neil Marr of BeWrite Books –
“Best policy is to stay mum, Wendy. Ignore nasty reviews, respond quietly and privately to genuine and well-worded criticism with thanks, and take those positively negative reactions to heart. Praise is wonderful. Thoughtful and constructive criticism, though, is rare and invaluable. It should be used to effect and the reviewer merits appreciation for insight.”
Wendy Reis has been asked to proofread and edit things since she was in grade 6. She eventually succumbed to the obvious calling to make this her full time pursuit in 2006. She now addresses the problems of fractured or incorrect English in everything from novels, websites, and advertising copy to reports, speeches, presentations, and correspondence. Visit Wendy at her website, Twitter, Facebook.
From Karen –
I have gathered a few additional articles about dealing with bad reviews. Here they are.
From Elizabeth S. Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder – Commenting On Reviews: A Different Type of Author Intrusion.
By Lisa Yarde at Best Damn Creative Writing Blog – A somewhat disturbing baby photo made me laugh out loud. The article is good, too. Sorry, Your Baby Is Ugly: Advice for Handling Critical Reviews.
By Marti Talbott at Marti Talbott Stories blog, “Get your writing advice from someone who has already done everything wrong.” See her How to Handle a Bad Book Review.
See a very simple plan at Nathan Bransford’s blog, including a reference to Oscar Wilde – How to Deal With Bad Reviews.
What is your take on handling bad reviews? Respond? Ignore? Shot of bourbon?
Explosion photo PDphoto.org