Dealing with Negative Feedback
Contributor
Written by
Ashley Earley
July 2015
Contributor
Written by
Ashley Earley
July 2015

  

Every writer has dealt with negative feedback.

 It doesn't matter if you write poetry, short stories, reviews of books, or books. Not everyone is going to like your work. Not everyone is going to agree with your opinions.

 Negative feedback can come from anyone. A publisher, editor, agent, even a friend. Anyone can say that they don't like your book, and that's okay because that is their opinion. They have a right to have an opinion and post it on social media, Amazon, Goodreads, etc. because your book is out there and people are allowed--and going--to talk about it.

  You can either take negative feedback as a learning experience, or ignore the negative comments that people make about your work. What you should NEVER do is reply to a negative comment in a hostile way. The comment is this person's own opinion. He/she isn't speaking for the whole world. This is what they think and you should accept it and move on. Don't say anything back along the lines of, "You're too simple minded to understand that my story/book is actually great." No hostility should be exchanged what-so-ever!!

 Because:

  1. That's really rude and unprofessional. YOU come out sounding like the simple minded one. Your book isn't perfect! No book is! J.K. Rowling's book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was rejected by 8 publishers and gets negative feedback from readers. Now, I'm not comparing your book to anything J.K. Rowling has written; I'm just saying that even one of the most popular and loved books in the world gets negative feedback from readers.

  2. You're hurting yourself by doing this more than the other person. Your readers will lose respect for you, and will lose interest in your book because of your rudeness. (This could seriously damage you if you're a self-published author.)

 I'm not saying that negative feedback doesn't hurt. I'm just saying that you shouldn't reply to comments with the intention of being mean/rude. You should be happy that someone has reviewed, or talked about your book, even if they didn't like it.

 Negative feedback shouldn't deter you from writing. The more you write, the better you get! So don't give up!

Happy writing! <3

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Comments
  • Lloyd Lofthouse

    I've been writing for about forty-seven years. During that time, I earned a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, and attended several different writing workshops---for seven years one of them was out of UCLA's writing extension program---and I have learned that there are several types of feedback.

    There is critical, constructive criticism, praise and then the trolls.

    The best writing workshop I attended was out of UCLA, and it was all constructive criticism where the writers hear what other writers and the professor think isn't working and suggestions on how to fix it. In fact, I haven't forgotten the one chapter that I revised almost 40 times until there was no more constructive criticism. The UCLA workshop only met once a week, and it took a week for each revision of that one chapter---no wonder I kept going for seven years.

    In smaller, less structured writing workshops the criticism isn't always constructive and often doesn't help at all.

    In reader reviews on Amazon, negative criticism is seldom if ever constructive so it is all best ignored.  Then there are the trolls with criticism that is often short and mean with no constructive suggestions---and these reviews are best left alone by the writer, because they can be a trap leading to a lot of pain and anguish if the writer says anything, even a polite, "Thank you for reading the book."

  • Thea Constantine

    I agree wholeheartedly--it just turns into a mess, no matter how nasty and absurd some feedback can be. I don't think there's a way to do it and sound at all professional. I DO wish people would really think about what it is they're saying before they just go ahead and slam an authors work though. I've been lucky so far, but some of the comments and reviews I read on Amazon and Goodreads lately are so thoughtless and unnecessary. Just rants from frustrated people too frightened to write themselves.....

  • Catherine Hiller

    I'd add: do not comment at all, neither with hostility nor  incredulity nor  respect. Stay above the fray! The most hurtful remarks are the anonymous  ones at the end of online articles or reviews.  They can sting for days.  Again, DO NOT RESPOND AT ALL. You'll only unleash a new barrage! Let the writers wonder if you've even seen their horrid comments. Tell yourself these people are 1) probably jealous that your book is getting any attention at all 2) living such empty lives that they have nothing better to do than compose their nasty squibs. Pick out the nicest comments and print them out for your bulletin board, and get on with your new writing project.  

  • Patricia Robertson

    And the more your work gets out there and is read, the likelihood of negative reviews increases. It's the price you pay for getting noticed.