How to handle bad reviews
I’ve never met a writer who wasn’t protective over their writing, myself included. When you toil day-in and day-out on a draft, writing, re-writing, editing, then preparing it for publication/submission, it’s hard to not become protective over what you’ve written. Once the book is out there for the prying eyes of readers, your book is subject to the opinions of loving readers, critical readers, and snarky readers, all of who might, and probably will, give your well-groomed work a negative review. It is bound to happen. No author is impervious to the dreaded negative reviews, and the worry shouldn’t be placed on getting the negative review. The worry should be how you react to the negative reviews, and today I have made up a list of how to go about handling the reviews. Onward we go!
- IT’S OKAY TO BE UPSET
Like I’ve already said, your work becomes your baby. It’s hard to hear people don’t like it or that they think you did such-and-such wrong. It’s alright to be upset about it.
- AVOID RESPONDING
Don’t respond to negative reviews. There is nothing worse for a writer’s image than to respond to the negative reviews, especially while in the throes of anger or sadness. Don’t respond, just turn off the phone/computer and leave it be. Let yourself be sad or angry for awhile, then you can think on things clearer.
- TAKE NOTE OF ANY THEMES
If you receive similar reviews with similar comments, then maybe there truly is something that needs to be worked on. Every negative review should be taken seriously. Read through them, take notes. Pick out things that may need major overhauls in your work and craft. Reviews are there to help you, and even the snarky ones have some underlying advice in them.
- REVIEWS ARE YOUR LIFE BLOOD, ENCOURAGE THEM
Reviews are what tell other readers what to expect in your book, and whether or not they should purchase it. You should encourage reviews, even if they may be bad reviews. It can only help you. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
- KEEP WRITING
One negative review isn’t the end of the world. Several aren’t either. Learn from your mistakes, be more careful in your next projects. Don’t punish yourself. To stop writing is to punish yourself, and it only hurts you. Keep writing and never stop.
It’s okay to be afraid. We all are, especially when it seems people are attacking us, though the reviews are toward our books. Remember, you aren’t your book. You and your writing are ever-changing, and any review that does attack you personally, isn’t a review. They’re not even worth your time. Regardless, time for questions. How do you handle negative reviews? Has the fear crippled your ability to keep writing? Do you read every review you receive? Let me know, and comment below!
Thanks for reading.
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Thank you for posting. This definitely comes in handy!
Sound advice! I pretty much do what you suggest when it comes to bad reviews. I know that my writing is high quality, but I also know that I can’t please everyone, and I don’t try to.
My quirk is to believe the criticism and distrust the positive. I roll with it.
That’s a great way to look at it. Thank you for sharing.