Braving the Critics

Writers who are looking forward to publication can’t afford to worry about the reviews. Once you’ve read your first batch of reviews, however, you anticipate the critics. Most authors will face negative assessments at one point or another. How can you stay positive when the critics write negative reviews?
Writing Tip for Today: The first time I read a nasty review of my novel, The Fence My Father Built, the book was on a blog tour. Some cranky person hated my work, citing not enough of a religious punch and disrespectful kids to boot. Here are some things I learned (quickly!):

  • A negative review among scads of glowing reviews is less important than mostly negative reviews.
  • Some critics “specialize” in awarding one star to books, especially when they’re free. When my book was offered as a free Kindle download on Amazon, I was warned by more experienced writers. Sure enough, several reviewers ranked my story with one to three stars. I took solace in the fact that the worst review was written with several glaring spelling errors.
  • People recommend not paying attention to these barbed missives. I don’t seem to be able to do that. But, I only allow myself one day to mope. I know lots of authors who NEVER read reviews.
  • Look for something constructive. Most negative reviews are little more than diatribes, but now and then the reviewer gives solid reasons why the book didn’t work for them. If I see the same type of comment more than once, I do some soul searching.
  • Finally, don’t let a bad review stop you from writing on. Your publisher, agent and editor believed enough in your story to invest time and money. So not everyone thinks your book is a bomb. If anything learn from the experience and always be working on those writing skills.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

1 comment on “Braving the Critics

  1. Linda, this is awesome advice that someday I hope I’ll be able to put into practice, lol. I especially like point #3. Like you, I’m not the kind of person who can completely ignore negative comments. But allowing yourself a finite time to burn is a great way to make sure we don’t dwell on the negative.

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