Don’t tweet that the reviewer is an absolute moron who deserves exile to Chechnya or at least a lifetime of bad sex and lukewarm meals. It’ll only make you seem nutty, and most people won’t know about the review until you tell them anyway.
Don’t make snarky, veiled remarks about this reviewer when you’re interviewed, because sulking and bitterness will just end up making you come off as a crank who should get a life or see a shrink.
Don’t take to substance abuse, stalking, or looking up all the other reviews this nimrod has done to see if yours is the worst, or otherwise push the dagger in any further.
Don’t write the reviewer directly or write the publication the review appeared in to complain. Nothing you say will help. You’ll only come off as an asshole and invite a public reply which will leave the reviewer with the last word.
[Related: Want a second pair of eyes? Check out our proofreading service.]
So what should you do?
Accept it. Bad reviews are as much a hazard of publishing as losing an editor, disliking your latest book cover, suffering low attendance at a book reading, and people endlessly asking you if you know Stephen King.
Spend some time re-reading your good reviews if you can’t let go of that bad one and remind yourself that not everyone is as blind, lacking in taste, or mentally deficient as that person was.
Go out and party–or better yet, sit down and write something terrific because you know that one thing is for certain, as the Latin saying goes ars longa, vita brevis. That means reviewers suck and most of them are losers. Sad.
Most importantly, have someone you trust examine the review dispassionately just in case the reviewer might have possibly stumbled on something remotely helpful. Then have that person write it down, put it in a bottle, seal the bottle carefully and throw it into the nearest body of water.
This guest post was contributed by Lev Raphael who teaches creative writing at Michigan State University. Lev is the author of Writer’s Block is Bunk and 24 other books in genres from memoir to mystery which you can find at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Check out more of Lev’s work on his blog, Writing Across Genres.
I worked at Michigan State University for 21 years, but I didn’t know about him until this blog post! Better late than never! I’m browsing his website and am vastly impressed.
Haha, nice 🙂
The best I’ve seen was when someone on Twitter mentioned that they were being harassed by an author they’d left a negative review for on Amazon. I went to have a look and this guy had commented – seriously nasty, personal comments, on every single review that wasn’t glowingly ridiculously positive! He would dig into their names (those that used their real names for reviews) and find their Facebook and Twitter accounts and start obsessively messaging them, telling them they were wrong, that his writing was such untrammeled brilliance that only the truly ignorant could possibly understand his genius, and that they were low-IQ, immoral, positively criminal and that their entire families should be taken out of the gene pool.
I read the free sample of his book.
It was really bad! Like… really bad!
Put on your big boy pants and accept the fact that opinions don’t mean sh!t. You should be writing out of pure enjoyment anyway.
Reblogged this on Kim's Musings.
I’m yet to publish a book but so far -the books I have read and read through their reviews- some are actually very true. And although these reviewers don’t always consider the feelings of the author and go full out on critiquing the novel, some do spend their time in writing it. Critiquing hurt though -those I have received from beta-readers.
Part of me agrees with you, that reviewers should consider the author’s feelings more, and the other half thinks they shouldn’t, that it’s a product they’re reviewing, not a person. It’s an emotionless entity to them. Perhaps neither are wrong.
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Critiquing shouldn’t hurt, tbh, especially from beta readers.
Feedback should examine the text, not the writer, so say you’ve read a piece that has poor characterisation, bad grammar and plot-holes a JCB could cruise through, a good reader would say something like:
‘the characters (or specific named character) seems one-dimensional. I would like to see more flaws in their perfect personality: this will make them more likeable.’ or ‘the villain seems unnecessarily violent – perhaps this could either be moderated or explained with a sympathetic backstory’, and
‘there are some grammatical errors – I would suggest further proofing, for example,’ and then provide three or four – no more – instances of these errors, explaining why they are wrong, and how to fix them.
And for the plot holes, they could say something like, ‘I do wonder why [Character] doesn’t simply telephone [Villain] and ask why he took the MacGuffin – after all, mobiles were around during the 2010s? Unless there had been a severe storm or major hacking attack and signal had somehow been lost?’
These examples treat the text as valid, they buy into the work, and they offer solutions for perceived problems. This sort of criticism shouldn’t sting, even if they get it wrong – all feedback from readers is advisory: you don’t *have to* listen to any of it!
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Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet.