How to Deal with Bad Reviews and Criticism?

Opinions matter, reviews matter, every single feedback you receive from someone who read your book matter.

 It’s a thrilling and enjoyable ride. Well, mostly. Before the very first negative review you receive, which pierces you and stays glued in your mind and memory for what seems like forever. It hits you hard, harder than you expected, and even if you think you’re stoically prepared for negative comments or criticism, the harsh truth is, you’re probably not. Someone out there, will not like your work and it's normal.  You have no power of changing that. The only thing you can change is, try to write better.  

Even if you receive many positive reviews, and praise for your work afterwards, critical opinion of your reader comes back to your mind, like an old song you’re playing on a vinyl recorder, like a repetitive tune you’re hearing. That day when your book receives the first negative review you realize the power of words in full force. More than ever, maybe, even more than when you were actually writing your novel. You go through an avalanche of emotions from pain and shattered self-confidence to questioning your ability and talent as a writer, and then, slowly, it finally happens. If it’s an honest, professional review, you start to feel thankful, you feel almost cathartic, you feel that you’ve survived what you feared most and the world didn’t shred into pieces and that life around you goes on.

There is no single recipe on how to deal with critical comments or bad reviews, writers find their own ways; whether it’s a simple tactic of ignoring bad reviews, or digging deeper and trying to get into a reader’s brain and analyze why, the characters you wrote, or the plot you invented, the story you’re telling, doesn’t really appeal to that particular reader. I personally did try both ways, and while I have to honestly say that bad reviews still turn me inside out  as I’m still learning to deal with them, and I still remember the first really bad one extremely well, let's say, almost by heart,  I know that for every negative review, there are ones, even shortest, one sentence reviews that brought me  almost ecstatic joy and made my days happier many, many times. And for both, I’m grateful. 

Sharing your writing with your close friends and family can be dramatic. Deep down, you want them to like it, telling you that you’re the next Emily Bronte or Francoise Sagan, or you are you, the one and only!  And if you’re not receiving the feedback you expected, beware! It might very well put an end to your once strong, life long friendships. On a serious note, the amount of praise we need to be encouraged, or criticism we’re able to deal with in order to step back, and look at our writing from a different angle depends on us, the vulnerable and ambitious, acclaimed, or established, debut and emerging authors. 

Besides, as the  saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”    

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