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.
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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.