Monday, September 23, 2013
Why Bad Reviews Don't Bother Me and Shouldn't Bother You
Instead I found myself totally fine with the whole process. Sure, I won't deny the initial sting when I found someone who didn't like one of my stories, but I got over it pretty fast--way faster than I ever could've guessed. Surprise made me work out the reason for my duck's back reaction and I thought I'd share why bad reviews don't bother me and shouldn't bother you.
Confidence in the story. If I'm not completely happy with my story, I won't put it out into the public forum. To have the confidence to put it out there, I first need to make sure it's the best it can be--by sending it to critique partners and beta readers, using the expertise of professional editors, and listening to their advice. Let's not forget the benefits of learning the craft, attending workshops and conferences to develop the craft, and writing more than just one story. If I like my story, then it won't matter as much what other people think.
We can't please everyone. It's often just a matter of finding your audience. Often reviews come from readers who picked up the book for free and who would not have normally read a story in that genre. I can shake them off because it's not personal, whether the reviewer tries to make it personal or not. Not every story will suit the same audience either.
Bad reviews validate good reviews. When I check a novel's reviews before I buy and it only has glowing five star ratings, I'll skip the book because this tells me only the author's friends and family have given a review. I no longer trust the good reviews. Every book gets some bad reviews. It's inevitable and it's needed for a balanced representation of the novel.
We can learn from bad reviews. Some less than shining reviews can be truly helpful through the constructive criticism they offer. Rather than getting upset, or dismissing them in a huff, it's worth rereading them to see if something can be learned from them.
Not all reviews are honest. I find it difficult to get upset over a review that was written out of spite, a need to knock down the competition, or a general grumpiness due to quitting caffeine the day before. Because most readers of reviews can spot these types, they bear little weight. They tend to reflect more poorly on the reviewer than the story being reviewed. Whatever a person's motivation behind writing a bad review, if it's not an honest review, then it can easily be dismissed. Perhaps a small chocolate can help wash away the negativity.
Getting upset dulls the shine. It's just not worth wasting our precious time getting upset over the little things. Yes, bad reviews count as the little things. If you're being reviewed, that means you're published. Celebrate that instead.
How do you handle--or think you'll handle--bad reviews?