Writers, What To Do When You Get a Bad Review?

book.reviewWhat you don’t do is contact the Reviewer to debate with them why.  No matter how much the review stings, no matter how much you disagree with it, NEVER, NEVER contact the Reviewer.  Put your big-person panties on and DEAL with IT! When you do respond to a review; complaining about the unfairness of the review, how the Reviewer got it wrong, and how you are the best writer since sliced bread, YOU simply come across as an AMATEUR!

What you should do is learn from the critique.  Take the criticism to heart and see how the Reviewer’s points can make YOU a better writer.  Sure, we’d all like only rave reviews all of the time, a couple of best sellers and loads of money.  But that just ain’t how it works, folks.  As writers we must be open to suggestions, criticism, and growth no matter how painful.

I recently interviewed a very interesting writer and following the interview I reviewed her book.  An honest opinion (by me) about how the book could be better.  Here is her response in an email:

‘I feel a little “set up” by the way you handled this review. I get you did not like my book or my writing style. But why would you even bother to post an interview on it?  I assumed you had already read it – so why do the interview at all? I sure wouldn’t.
There are no misspelled words in my book – however, there are terms of art in packing and they are spelled correctly. I have worked with punctuation and spelling for 35 years as a court reporter – and I hired a professional editor -I sent your review to her.  I also hired a professional formater (her non-word, not mine, so don’t write me)- and I sent it to her as well. So this wasn’t produced in my backyard, as your article intimates.
crazy ladyI learned from this experience that I will be screening who I do an interview for in the future.Also, if you are going to criticize misspelled words in a book – perhaps you should correct your own spelling in your superior article of the Pasayten.  Pickup truck is two words not three…’
This author not only missed opportunities to write a better story but she totally book.review.2.missed the salient points of my critique.

I have had a few stinging reviews in my time and after I got over the hurt I stood back… and you know what?  The Reviewer was correct in their critique and I learned from the experience.  Because of it I am a better writer today!

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

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