Thursday, July 14, 2011

What to Do With a Bad Review.

As much as I wish I could claim that everyone who reads Losing Beauty loves it, I can't.  It's already gotten some meh and even negative reviews.  I can't quibble with anyone's reasons because reading is such a personal thing.  I also understand that everyone won't love my book and am doing my best to develop thick skin.  Still, every time I read something negative I go through the following stages.

At first I'm a little sad (okay a lot sad) because I want everyone to love my book.  My second reaction is always more personal.  I find some reason to be annoyed with the reviewer (and we're talking professional reviewers here).  They didn't email me before they posted the review.  They mispelled something or used bad grammar or their review didn't make sense.  It doesn't really matter what it is because, let's face it, none of those things would annoy me if they'd written a glowing review.  My third reaction is to question myself.  Maybe the critics are right.  Maybe the book should be burned and banned and (even worse) ignored.  How could I have ever had enough hubris to agree to put my work out into the public domain?

It usually takes me a few days to recover from a bad review.  Maybe, with practice, by next year I'll have the whole thing whittled down to a day or even a couple of hours!  The funny thing is that, as with everything in life, I'm not able to hold on to the glowing reviews.  I mull over the bad things but the great, amazing, I loved your book so much it made me ache please stop whatever you're doing and write more kind of reviews don't ever keep me up at night.


Glass half full!

That's my challenge for this week.  I'm going to try to focus on the positive and let go of the negative.  In fact, maybe I shouldn't read those pesky reviews at all.  And, if I have a really hard time letting go of the bad stuff I'll just keep reminding myself of the words of a good friend after I told her Losing Beauty got a bad review, "They had a problem with the swear words, sex and morality issues!" she said.  "As far as I'm concerned that's a better endorsement than any five star review."

5 comments:

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, man... I am SO not looking forward to that part. I know it happens... what's more I know it happens to EVERYONE... Even great, highly aclaimed books aren't for everyone...

Just hang in there, but I totally get how it is hard to ignore.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Hart! The one thing I'm learning is how important it is to be VERY sensitive to criticism of any artist's work. I still think criticism is important but now I'm even more careful than I used to be about how I critique.

lizy b said...

Keep your chin up! You are a writer! You have published a book! (and its really good, I know , I read it!) And never forget...those who can't write, review...

Johanna Garth said...

Lizy, you are absolutely right! I'm getting better at it...practice makes perfect ;)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Poor reviews can teach us what to do better in the next book. And there's usually SOMETHING in a bad review that's good.