I woke up the other morning to a terrible two star review of my latest release. It essentially said that my whole story sucked – my characters sucked, the premise sucked, the chemistry sucked, the writing sucked – basically everything sucked so much, I should quit writing now and find a day job.
And all this before my first cup of coffee.
Bad reviews happen all the time, even to the very best of us. In the end, it is just one person’s opinion, and while it shouldn’t really matter, that doesn’t mean their horrible opinion of you can’t ruin your entire day. It certainly ruined mine for a few hours. Hell, it’s days later, and I’m still thinking about it. A bad review can really make you question everything. Am I a terrible writer? Does my story suck? And if I suck so bad, maybe I should get that day job?
Self-doubt is a vicious thing we’ve all tortured ourselves with on occasion and getting a bad review only exasperates it. It’s okay to wallow, it’s okay to mourn, it’s okay to gash our teeth and curse the heavens, but it is NEVER okay to lash out at the reviewer and post a snarky reply. As we’ve already established, that only makes you look like an asshole.
But you have to DO something right? All that pent up anger and angst needs some kind of outlet and release. Well, here are a few suggestions!
- Drink champagne – This is always my go to solution for a bad day. It’s hard to be upset with drinking a glass full of bubbly awesomeness.
- Write that scathing reply, including all the curse words you can come up with to express your opinion of that reviewer’s obviously mistaken opinion, and then DELETE THAT FILE – Sometimes you’ve just got to get it out. As we all know, writing is therapy. Put your anger and sadness into words and lance that boil. Then, like all trash, get rid of it.
- Eat ice cream – I can’t think of anything better to do when the world has got you down.
- Focus on the positive – Regardless of what that one person thought, there are people out there who have enjoyed your work. Read over those positive reviews. Bask in their awesomely correct opinion of you. Let it go to your head for a little while.
- Suck it up and move on – There’s nothing you can do to change a person’s poor opinion. Sometimes you just got to get over it and get on with your life. And, if possible, you can spin it in a positive direction. Maybe they have pointed out a few valid weak points in your narrative or writing style. It can be something to keep in mind for future works. A negative review may help make you a whole lot better writer! (But probably not)
Any advice you’d like to add? Go ahead and post it in the comments!