How to deal with a bad review

When you work really hard on something and make yourself vulnerable by putting yourself out there, it really rains on your parade when someone doesn’t like it.

Art is subjective

The first thing you have to remember is that art is subjective and many different people will have a wide range of perspectives about your work. Since reviews are so subjective you can really take them with a grain of salt.

So you got a bad review, welcome to the club.

If you look at any of the top sellers you’ll see they still get bad reviews even though their books are so popular and well liked by the masses. Plus more thought provoking work is usually more controversial so it’s not always a bad thing that your book entices debates.

Let the haters hate

You of course want to defend your book but you need to allow everyone to feel comfortable to voice their opinion. Responding to a poor review rarely ever puts you in good lighting. Bad reviews aren’t always a bad thing either. Some reviews are constructive and will get you thinking with a new perspective and knowledge. You may approach your next book differently or after thinking it over, you’ll stick with what your gut tells you.

Tune it all out

Reviews have the potential to drive an author mad. It’s something that could easily turn into an obsession and hurt your creative process. When your thoughts are constantly whirling around if a reader will like it then you’re no longer truly telling your story and creating the best possible work you’re capable of. Sometimes it’s best to just turn off the notifications and stay off the review sites and just keep writing.

Keep Putting yourself out there

When I received my first poor review it actually made me feel more like a real poet/author. For starters it was one of the first reviews by someone I didn’t already have a connection with so they had no rose colored glasses on. I was getting honest feedback from a reader instead of the compliments from my friends who were potentially lying just to be nice.

The important thing is to keep putting yourself out there because just around the corner is a positive review from a different stranger. No bias and no potential lies and they loved it!

In Review:

Even the best sellers get bad reviews

It’s normal, there’s no need to respond to it

See if the review holds any insights

Ignore reviews entirely to keep your sanity

Keep putting yourself out there!

 

And hey, make sure to leave a review for my books Cracked Open and Where I Ache

Goodreads // Amazon

23 thoughts on “How to deal with a bad review”

  1. Great advice! I have a book I hope to get published and sometimes this stuff worries me more than if it will actually get published (which is stupid I know) but reading help like this really puts my thoughts to ease 🙂

  2. It sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. Thank you for the advice!

    I’m personally terrified of reader feedback for a number of reasons, chief among them being that I reflexively internalize everything as if it were pointed at me directly and not the writing itself. It’s a constant struggle.

  3. I agree,not everyone will always like your work,it’s nothing personal,I also think one should take good reviews by friends and family with a grain of salt,just trust in your work and keep putting it out there soon enough the right people will notice

    1. That’s a good point because your friends and family are probably not also writers so there’s certain things that they might not understand.

  4. This is fantastic advice! There’s no avoiding the fact that it’s bound to happen. Occasionally, I got to visit my favorite books on Amazon to read the bad reviews as a reminder. “Welcome to the club,” I love that!

    1. Yeah same here, it’s good to see your favorite books or really popular ones still face bad reviews. It lifts a weight off your shoulders

    1. and yet…It was one of the most successful shows on TV for years! so that’s a win! 😉 I sometimes wonder what kind of weird buzz these ‘reviewers’ get out of being nasty about a book. I saw a 1 star review on The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. Couldn’t believe it! but hey, each to their own I guess!

  5. Unless it happened to be really dull, I would totally quote a bad review of my writing. The more outrageous the review the better.

    For example, I used this quote from a review of a piece of instrumental music I released in 1998 on my bandcamp page: “It is repetitive, but it neither reaches a proper level of intrusiveness for melody nor does it fade into the background; it may eat at the listener in a way that is not particularly intriguing.” I love that last part.

    I figure why not use a “bad” review to your advantage? 😉

  6. Being in the relationship and dating realm, I receive a lot of critique on what I write. It take it in stride as long as it’s constructive and not laced with ulterior motive. In fact, I’ve learned many things from the feelings and opinions of others.

    That being said, there will be those who have an agenda to hurt or maim. I can see right through those people and typically delete their comments or let the world see them as they are. Moreso, if it’s a blog that linked to my page and had a counter argument, I respect those… what I don’t like is when someone decides to twist my words in order to make their points. This can happen, and if it does, I’ll simply counter respectfully and leave it there.

    Even negative publicity can be good.

  7. Hi, I can completely relate to the advice. Being an instructional designer (a niche’ branch of content development), I am subject to criticism on a daily basis from seniors and clients. Even though our reviews are highly professional, they do not always sit well with my creative spirit.
    During such crisis, I need remind myself that it is not personal; no two people think alike, so not everyone may like what I create. So, I learn from it.

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  9. I don’t know if I’ve previously replied to this, but I wanted to say thank you. I’m proud of you for continuing to write and pursuing your passion.

    I’ve faced a lot of set backs and it’s hard to see the trajectory of things clearly as an artist, but you’re making it happen and I look up to you for that.

  10. Thanks, I needed this. Last month, my work received negative reviews, and I couldn’t handle it. I was so upset, I took the whole book down and sulked for days. It was the support of my readers that encouraged me to post the story again, and so far things are going pretty well. Sometimes, it’s the audience who hold the real power.

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