How to Survive Bad Reviews
Reviews are as someone has said, the equivalent of a tip for any other service provider. We get better as a writer when we get feedback from our customers, our readers. This is the reason we always post everywhere for readers to leave us a review. It is vital to our continued success.
The problem is, not everyone will love our work, and they are free to say so.
I don’t worry about bad reviews the way some authors do, seeing it rather as an opportunity to learn. If someone leaves a bad review, one that gives constructive criticism, I can use that to create a better product.
And stressing over bad reviews is just bad juju. I mean, everyone has had bad reviews. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of authors from yesteryear who are now considered classic writers and touted as examples for excellence today. Authors such as: Mark Twain, Emily Bronte, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Melville, J.D. Sallinger, James Joyce, Walt Whitman, and WIlliam Faulkner to mention a few.
There are plenty of modern contemporary authors that I could list but, you get the point.
Bad reviews are just an offshoot of the whole writing experience. Try not to take them to heart. Most readers have well-intentions and want to let you know about their encounter with your book, good and bad. Yes, there are trolls out in Internet-land who do nothing but go around and diss books. We can’t stop them. But we can ignore them like the bully who only wants attention, don’t give it to them.
There are a few things you can do when you get a bad review.
Surviving Bad Reviews-Tips
1. Take a deep breath and a short walk. The first reaction we all have is that it is a personal attack on our baby. We want to go through the screen and strangle the reviewer. How dare they? Well, they did, so don’t go there. Take a few minutes to relax and realize that this can be a good thing.
2. When you are chilled a little, go back and read it again. Let the words find their point. Get the info out of the review and analyze it. Did they hate your writing style? The genre? The story? Did they think the character was stilted? Trite? Untrue to the portrayal? Look deeply at the way the reviewer worded the review. You can figure out what was good and what was lacking.
3. Reassess the work. If the review made good points, (and yes, you DO know when you read the review what they mean, you felt it yourself) then go out and incorporate that into the work. If it needs better plotting, replot. If it needs better characterization, fix the people in your story. BUT! If all the reviewer can do is talk about the writer’s lack of _____( fill in the blank) – well, you know it isn’t a true review, and you can leave it where it is. Some reviewers make their review a personal attack on the writer. Those we can just discount.
Finally, try to remember that you are not alone.
and so it goes…