“From my close observation of writers... they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review. ” -Isaac Asimov
I can't think of many authors who actually like bad reviews.
Understandable, right? I mean, no one likes to hear that the book they worked so hard on, their literary baby, didn't resonate once they released it into the world. Or worse, that its very existence outright offended someone.
I'm coming to the keyboard having received my very first bad review this week. And I'm not talking about one of those "nice try, better luck next time" reviews. The reviewer hated everything about the book, from front cover to back.
But I'm not here to vent. Or cry. Or bitch. Because guess what?
There's nothing wrong with that.
If anything, I'm glad they wrote that review. Because while it may have stung, it also forced me to do something I've never really had to do as an author: I had to do a little soul-searching.
They were very specific about the things they didn't like. And nothing they said was wrong. Most of what they listed were things I had done with great intent. A couple weren't, and thanks to them, I have some new ideas on what to work on (and hopefully improve) in my next book.
But what about the things I knew about? The things I had done intentionally, that they didn't like? That's where the soul-searching came in.
As authors, it's important to be able to take criticism. Many of us can't- at least, not well. But it's equally important to know where and when to stand your ground. Not everyone is going to like the books we write. Does that mean we should try to write to suit every audience?
Sometimes it takes a pinch in the soft place for us to decide to stand our ground. Stand by our characters, our style, our story. To write with passion means to risk alienating some people, some of the time.
So I appreciate that bad review. I'm grateful to the reviewer for giving my book a chance. I hope the next thing they read will be something they enjoy.
But if you'll excuse me, I have another book to write.