Tuesday, July 19, 2011
How Not To React To Negative Reviews
Grow thicker skin. It’s such a cliche, but it's such a wise statement. We hear it often in the world of writers, but it also applies to the general public, especially those in the performing arts whose work is evaluated and judged rather publicly. The critiques come from objective sources, but the contents themselves can be subjective. It's very easy for someone to take them personally.
When writers receive a negative feedback or review from their alpha/beta readers, agents, or book reviewers, they first need to take a step back to breathe. I have a good example of what happens when you don’t. A few months ago on Twitter, a mob scene and RT frenzy wall-papered everyone’s twitterfeed. It was a link to a blog where a nasty argument between a particular indie author and a famous book blogger was taking place. When I went over to the blog, I noticed hundreds of comments from people chiming in, including several from the author herself.
The book reviewer, who shall remain nameless like the author, gave a short and honest review to this author’s latest book. I’ve read it, and so did the others. He gave it 2 or 3 stars out of 5, sighting that he had a difficult time trudging through all the grammar errors, missing punctuations, poor vocabulary, and awkward sentences. But he also said the premise and the plot was interesting. It was a perfectly reasonable review in everyone's opinion. And it was his right to rate it however he saw fit as a book blogger. I mean, we can agree that censorship is a bad thing, right? So why the fuss?
The author came back and posted, yes, posted, her nasty remark on his blog claiming that he didn’t know what he was doing. She called him names using....not so nice language. Her petty comments were incoherent filled with numerous typos and grammatical errors just like the writing in her book. If her rants were any indication of her writing skills, it’s easy to see why she didn’t receive a rave review. But I digress. On that day, her reputation was ruined beyond repair, and no one will ever review or read her book.
That got me thinking. What makes a writer lose her sanity in a public forum? Was she so delusional that she believed the whole world would fall in love with her book? Who knows? I understand how one can feel about her own creation. I love my own writing, too. But some writers love their books so much that they start to think of them as their babies. How precious. You know what? Babies grow up. Then they will enter the real world, as adults, where they will be accepted or rejected just like everyone else. That’s life. Get my analogy here?
Let's go back to why I began to write this post. The proper etiquette toward alpha/beta readers. That's the title of a guest post I did for a friend and writer/musician Derek Flynn. In it, I included a short definition of alpha/beta readers those who are not familiar with the terms as well as how writers should behave when they receive critiques from anyone. Hop on over to his blog and read it. Follow him on Twitter too!
Don't forget to check out my Editor Website for the editing services I offer. Thank you~
Labels: My Post On Other Blogs