the one where I take the high road

Reading: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Watching: Private Practice
Listening to: The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars

Odds on, if you’ve published a book (be it traditionally, e or self-),  someone will read it.  Hopefully, many someones.  And hopefully, those many someones will like it – even love it.

But there’s also a chance a reader will not feel the same way about your creation that you do.  And that is equally fine.  Every reader is entitled to their own opinion as much as I am entitled to write whatever I want.  I’m not so precious and sensitive about my work that I expect total and utter worship for the way I arrange words on the page :grin:.

And as an author, you are also in control of how you chose to react to those negative reviews.  It never ceases to amaze me how some, faced with this choice, will pick the ‘OMG, no!  CAR CRASH!!!!’ option over a dignified silence.  Witness the recent Twitter flurry of BigAl’s review of “The Greek Seaman” and the author’s resulting comebacks (sorry, but how is telling everyone to publicly “f*&^ off” anything but bad for an author?).

Yes, thanks to the internet, reviews and critiques can be instantly published, searched and commented on in a matter of days.  And just like there’s two sides to every story, there are two sides to every review.  Some are insightful, constructive and well-written.  Some are variations of ‘not to my taste’.  Some have nothing whatsoever to do with your story (like giving it a 1 star Amazon review and commenting “the postage was too high”.  Or hating the title).  And some are vitriolic rants specifically designed to insult and/or push the reviewer’s agenda.

So what to do with a negative review?

It may be cathartic to compose a strongly worded email, post or comment, publicly refuting and defending your work if you feel the reviewer has missed the point/got it wrong/didn’t seem to even read the book.  But unless you’re Carla Cassidy, this can easily backfire, and you’ll be forever known in Google searches as ‘what not to do as an author’.

My advice?  For those reviewers who are genuinely interested in and reviewing your genre, a polite thank you for reading your work  and a “I hope my next release is more to your taste” would be okay.  For those reviewers whose sole purpose is to provide outdated stereotypical ‘stupid dumb romance genre’ comments to make them feel intellectually superior, then take the high road and just ignore them.  Tempting as it is to come out with guns blazing, it’s important to realize that they are not your target market and nothing you say will ever make an impact on their prejudices.

Then go and re-read those little shining comments from your satisfied readers.  I guarantee those are the ones that matter 🙂


4 comments on “the one where I take the high road

  1. *sigh* I can say safely that not all belive in or like the same things i think a sure, thats for your thoughts on my story is fine. Think of all the positve feedabck you get and always know that no ones POV matters but your own!

  2. So true Paula – a work colleague once said to me, “the only thing we can truly control is the way we respond to things,” I think that’s true in all aspects of our lives. Great post 🙂

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